Letter To The Editor: Miramar Expansion Will Enhance Downtown Santa Monica

Tuesday, 24 Apr 2012, 12:43:00 AM

Special To The Mirror

Rendering of the renovation to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.
Rendering Courtesy of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel
Rendering of the renovation to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.

Editor:

The Miramar Hotel, a member of the Santa Monica family for generations, is proposing to make changes to its property that will enhance our Downtown, create a gateway to our city and deliver much-needed benefits to the people of Santa Monica.

The Friends of the Miramar is a broad-based coalition that came together last fall to support the proposed plan. We’re proud that the group’s membership now exceeds 500, and continues to grow. We back the proposal for many reasons, including:

• Revenues that will serve our community. We believe that our children, seniors and all Santa Monicans deserve to benefit from the tens of millions of new tax dollars that the Miramar will generate over the coming decades for vital city services — our schools, police and fire protection, libraries, and more.

• Community. The Miramar Hotel has been a responsible and involved corporate citizen in our community for many years. The hotel has donated significant time and resources to more than 50 diverse, local organizations, including Olympic High School, Pico Youth & Family Center, Heal the Bay, PAL, Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), Upward Bound House, Meals on Wheels West and many others. We want the hotel to continue serving our community by staying relevant and competitive.

• The LUCE. The proposed plan is consistent with the new LUCE’s vision of Downtown Santa Monica as a vibrant, mixed-use place, and was guided by the LUCE’s progressive goals, objectives and policies.

• Improved parking. The proposed project will remedy what is currently a severe parking shortage at the hotel, freeing up many parking spaces on local streets for neighbors and visitors to Downtown Santa Monica.

• The revitalized hotel will be pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. The proposed plan opens up the Miramar to pedestrians by removing many of the walls and other structures that currently surround the hotel. The proposed project will replace two unsightly parking lots on Wilshire Boulevard with ground floor retail shops, enlivening the street. The Miramar has agreed to expand its existing bicycle program by including bicycle parking for employees and residents, shower and locker facilitiesfor employees, and additional bicycle parking for visitors and guests.

• Affordable Housing. The Miramar revitalization plan includes onsite affordable housing, an invaluable benefit to our community.

• Historic preservation. We’re pleased that the Miramar’s stately Moreton Bay Fig Tree, a City landmark since 1976, will be a prominent part of the proposed new open space. The Palisades Wing, originally constructed in 1924, will also be preserved and renovated.

• Union jobs. The Miramar will continue to operate as a union hotel. As currently planned, the revitalization will create approximately 150 new jobs.

• Outreach to the community. For nearly 2 years the Miramar team has conducted extensive outreach to a wide cross-section of local residents, businesses and education leaders to present the proposed project in detail and to solicit input. It is significant that the proposed Miramar project has earned the endorsements of Wilshire-Montana.

Neighborhood Coalition (Wilmont), the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, UNITE HERE Local 11, and Downtown Santa Monica Inc.

We urge Santa Monicans to join us in supporting this important project.

Albin Gielicz, Rebecca Kennerly, Nat Trives, Irene Zivi - Co-Chairs, Friends of the Miramar

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