SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Planning Commissions is not in favor of the proposal for a movie theater on Fourth Street, off Arizona Avenue. Ariel Socarras, from the City Planning Division, presented the project to the SMPC on August 19, but the project was deemed inefficient, tall and bulky.
The Planning Commission was established in 1946 and it acts: “To promote the health, safety and general welfare by encouraging the most appropriate use of land.” In order for the project to take effect, the Planning Commissions has to approve it.
A joint venture between Santa Monica Place owner, Macerich and theater chain, Arc Light, the project was to build a movie theater on the west side of Fourth Street between Arizona Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. The 100,000-square-foot project called for a four-story building that would hold 16 movie screens and up to 2,700 seats. Separate from the theater, the proposal also included another 10,000 square-feet of ground floor retail and restaurant space. The project would be located at Parking Structure No. 3 on Fourth Street.
The Planning Commission had a concern about the project’s impact on parking, given that it would replace a parking structure and there were no plans to provide additional parking spaces to make up for the 344 spaces that would be eliminated. Also one of the issues raised was that the project would depart from the rest of the activities on the street, and it wouldn’t encourage pedestrian traffic. Another concern was the involvement of many parties in the proposal.
Jason Parry, Chair of the Santa Monica Planning Commission, said that the project didn’t make sense in terms of parking, and that the design wasn’t as interesting or exciting as it should be. “I don’t have much positive to say about the design,” he said in Wednesday’s meeting, “I don’t think it relates well to what is in the area,” said Parry.
The approval process for this project includes a recommendation from the Planning Commission, so the development team is looking to draft reports and public benefits to convince the team.