Sunday, December 15, 2013

ACTION ALERT! Massive Abbot Kinney Hotel Complex Coming Up For A Vote THIS Wednesday!

Architect's rendering of the Abbot Kinney Hotel Complex, corner of Broadway and Abbot Kinney Blvd.

Just in time for the holidays, Dan Abrams and his development partners have delivered a nice, shiny lump of coal to Venice in the form of revamped plans for a block-long hotel/mall complex on Abbot Kinney Blvd. Now that their new plans have finally been made public, we've learned the developers are still asking for precedent-setting variances for height, the project still has significant issues with mass and scale and will still cause traffic gridlock and huge parking headaches for the surrounding neighborhoods.

They are rushing the project through the Venice Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) this Wednesday, December 18 - only a week before Christmas, the timing of which will conveniently suppress community participation. Worse, the developers have known for over a week this would come up for a vote and have been rallying their supporters with "suggested facts" (no, I'm not making this up), to share with their neighbors while the rest of the community was kept in the dark.

LUPC has been inundated with emails in support of the project while they have yet to hear from opponents.

We need you to act NOW.

WRITE AN EMAIL VOICING YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE PROJECT AS PLANNED:

Even if you've written letters in opposition to the hotel before, we need to you to write again. Please send your email to the following addresses:  Board@VeniceNC.org, lupc@VeniceNC.org, mike.bonin@lacity.org, tricia.keane@lacity.org, veniceforchange@gmail.com

The project's address is 1033 S Abbott Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291: It must be included at the top of any correspondence.


ATTEND THE HEARING
WHEN: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18  - 7:30PM
WHERE: Oakwood Rec Center - 767 7th Avenue (corner of 7th and Oakwood)

Numbers matter. We believe LUPC members will vote in favor of the project as proposed unless we convince them otherwise.  So we need as many people to attend as possible.  The project is second on the agenda and is supposed to be heard at 8pm. We believe they will try to keep the meeting on time. Get there early and fill out a speaker card.

Here are the real - not suggested - facts about the Abbot Kinney Hotel Complex. Include them in the emails you write and the talking points you use during the meeting.

IT'S TOO HIGH: In his letter to supporters,  project architect David Hertz wrote "the project fully compliant with the Venice Specific Plan and Local Coastal Plan and we are not asking for any exceptions to these plans whatsoever."  Hertz wasn't telling the truth. The developer may have knocked off the 4th floor in October, but he's come back with a design that's still asking for a precedent-setting height exemption to the Venice Specific Plan.

IT'S TOO BIG:  The hotel complex as currently proposed includes an 87-room hotel (down only 5 rooms from the October proposal, with two of those now apartments for some reason), a 3,500 sq ft restaurant/bar, a separate coffee bar on Electric, a 1,500 sq ft spa on Electric and Westminster, a 2,500 sq ft retail space on Westminster and Abbot Kinney, and a 2,444 sq ft poolside bar area.

It still takes up the entire block between Broadway and Westminster, with a partial carve-out for two parcels the developers don't own. There's nothing else on Abbot Kinney that even comes close to it in terms of mass and scale.

To get an idea of what that really looks like, take a gander at these two drawings below. These are the most recent plans submitted by the architect. I've highlighted the existing structures - Joe's, Venice Place, and the Baptist Church - in orange. The hotel complex, highlighted in purple, dwarfs those structures by comparison. Click on either image to see them full size.

Hotel complex on the Abbot Kinney side. Existing buildings are in orange. The proposed hotel complex is in purple. 
Click on the image to see full size.


Hotel complex viewed from Broadway. Existing buildings are in orange. The proposed hotel complex is in purple.  
Click on the image to see full size.

THERE'S NOT ENOUGH PARKING: In fact, in this revamped version, the developer is offering only 160 parking spaces, 12 less than the 172 he was offering back in October.  That's supposed to suffice for all 87 hotel rooms, plus three restaurants, a coffee bar, a spa and 2,500 sq ft of retail/cafe space. By the developers own estimates, the hotel and three restaurants alone will have 160 employees (a low figure, since they aren't figuring in the 2,500 sq ft retail/cafe space proposed for the corner of Westminster and Abbot Kinney).  

In his letter to supporters,  project architect David Hertz wrote "the project allows employees to park for free." The numbers I just listed above show how ridiculous this statement is. Unless, of course, he means allows employees to park for free on our streets.

TRAFFIC WILL STILL BE A NIGHTMARE: A new traffic report released by the City of LA states the hotel complex will add close to 700 net new car trips a day. Bizarrely, DOT seems to think this won't be of "significant" impact to our neighborhood. But tell that to anyone trying to navigate the gridlock on Abbot Kinney, Broadway, Westminster and Electric as cars, taxis, trash trucks and delivery vehicles cue up to service the hotel and deposit its guests.

Folks, it didn't have to be this way. This could have been a win-win for the community and for Dan Abrams. But almost from the beginning,  Abrams and his development partners have not been an honest partner in this process. They're certainly not being honest now as they try to railroad this project through while people are distracted by the holidays.

Don't let them. Please take the time to write email, come to the meeting, and inform your neighbors.

For reference, here are links to the developers plans:

http://cityhood.org/Attachments/_3Y60KHPGK.pdf
http://cityhood.org/Attachments/_3Y60KWXL7.pdf
http://cityhood.org/Attachments/_3Y60KZ4SR.pdf



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