Bergamot Art Center Development Plans
Critical Community Meeting
Monday, May 6th at 6 pm
Bergamot Arts Center
2525 Michigan Ave
April 29, 2014
Dear SMCLC supporter,
Recently, while residents were busy collecting signatures for the Hines referendum, our planning staff recommended that the Council begin exclusive negotiations over a big mixed-use project to be built across the street from the massive Hines project. The proposed project would significantly gut our beloved Bergamot Arts Center with its unique, historical feel, turning the site largely into a major hotel, commercial office space, restaurants and retail, subterranean parking for approximately 450 vehicles, and a bigger Santa Monica Arts Museum building. Where "feasible," the developer would preserve some of the existing, historic structures that house the many galleries, but in reality, commit to keep only a very few of them. The City preliminarily rejected two other similar 225,000 square feet proposals that likewise would significantly transform the site. Those proposals can be found at: http://www.smgov.net/Departments/HED/eddContent.aspx?id=31612
The City owns most of the Bergamot Arts Center, including the 5-acre site proposed to be redeveloped. That means we, as Santa Monica residents, own it. And that means it should be up to us to determine its future. The developer would like to (in their words) "enhance the city's tax base and build a regional, cultural gateway." Bergamot as we know it will be gone. Is that what residents want?
This latest development proposal - described like Hines as a "transit oriented mixed use development" - came as a shock especially to the many small, diverse gallery owners at Bergamot, as well as to our City's Arts Commission, none of whom had been consulted about any of the 3 proposals. After gallery owners objected, the Council told staff to do outreach to the gallery owners and our community.
The initial residents' "outreach meeting," where the city's "overall guiding public policy objectives" will be discussed along with the 3 developer proposals, will take place:
Tuesday, May 6
6:00 - 8:30 pm
Bergamot Arts Center
2525 Michigan Ave (Writers Boot Camp)
We urge you to attend this critical meeting and be heard. SMCLC's Co-chair, Diana Gordon, is an artist represented by one of the galleries at Bergamot; she believes Bergamot is a Santa Monica treasure, to be protected from being "reenvisioned" in a way that eliminates what makes it so.
Residents as well as the gallery owners who will be directly impacted by these projects need to study the proposals, ask questions and, most important, be heard.
To register for the event (not necessary to attend), go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bergamot-station-arts-center-proposals-community-meeting-tickets-11424437801
Victor, Diana, Sherrill, Jeff