Frank Gehry’s much-anticipated Ocean Avenue project in Santa Monica finally gets city council approval
After nine years of design changes and updates, Frank Gehry’s Ocean Avenue project finally received approval from the Santa Monica City Council. Initially proposed in 2013, the mixed-use development was originally proposed as a 22-story hotel and residential tower, but was shortened to 12 stories in 2018 to meet the restrictions imposed by the city’s downtown community plan. Construction is expected to begin soon after full building permits are received, with an official opening date set within the next three years.
In 2013, Frank Gehry was commissioned by M. David Paul Associates and Worthe Real Estate Group to design a mixed-use hotel and apartment tower in his hometown of Santa Monica, California. The 22-story building, dubbed Ocean Avenue, was intended to revive the city’s economy with restaurants and retail space beneath a 125-room hotel and a 22-unit apartment tower topped by a rooftop observation deck.
The developers also wanted to incorporate a 36,000-square-foot museum campus north of the structure to improve the cultural aspect of the site. However, the 244-foot tower was left to await city council approval for several years after restrictions and concerns by officials.
New view of Gehry’s Ocean Avenue tower shortened to 12 stories
In 2018, new designs revealed an updated design for the project, which was shortened to 12 stories (130 ft) to meet the constraints imposed by the city’s downtown community plan to match the “low downtown” of 4-5 storey high-rise buildings. The new designs also showed a second, shorter tower located across from the site, which housed 79 housing units, leaving the original tower with only the hotel. Between the two buildings, a podium of retail space and a museum will be integrated, along with a bookstore and café.
The new downtown Los Angeles plan states that buildings are no higher than 84 feet, but will allow some structures to reach 130 feet as they provide the community with social and economic benefits such as park money and transportation systems. Although the project finally passed with the Santa Monica City Council, it must now take on plans from the California Coastal Commission, the city’s Architectural Review Board, and the Landmarks Commission.
The Great Gulf Group, Dream and Westdale Properties last month unveiled Frank Gehry’s latest architectural designs in Toronto, Canada. Set to leave a mark on the city skyline, FormThe architect’s first residential tower in Canada and its tallest building to date rises to 73 stories and features a carefully designed atrium designed by Gehry.