Letter To The Editor: The Bergamot Station Arts Center Is Worth Preserving

Sunday, 11 May 2014, 9:42:00 AM

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,

The Bergamot Station Arts Center is yet another

planned development project. Santa Monica has one of the premier arts

centers in Southern California. It’s successful, it has character, it

has style, and it has passionate art gallery and theatre operators. It’s

worth preserving!

So, that means City staff will try to find a way to destroy that

uniqueness and add a hotel, offices & retail to the complex. The

Gallery owners know that the redevelopment of the Bergamot Arts Center

will lead to their demise. The easy, free surface parking that exists

now will leave. Parking will either be underground or off premises. A 6

story Hotel will be added to the Arts Center, the City Garage theatre

will have to leave and an entrance created to handle the Expo line foot

traffic.

As always we haven’t thought through the plans or ramifications to

the Gallery owners, atmosphere of the Center or the impact on residents.

A lot of this translates into something that many residents discuss all

the time.

It's called infrastructure. That must come first. In film terms we do

a great job in Santa Monica with construction production...we forget

about proper pre and post production. Parking is integral to the success

of the galleries, the retention of the City Garage theatre and the

retention of the existing buildings. It’s also essential to the success

of the adjacent Expo station. We shouldn’t be adding unnecessary turmoil

to a successful section of our town.

The residents weren't looking for a mini Hines Project. We just

stopped the one across the street. It feels like the residents are

playing whack-a-mole with developments now. The off site parking is

paramount. Green space as part of this project is paramount. A welcoming

open arms rail station and gallery complex is paramount.

As residents we are tired of hearing about hotels. But if a hotel is

something that enhances the complex and does not destroy the charm of

the Bergamot Arts Center then it must have a maximum height of 50 feet.

The Ambrose and Shore Hotels are good examples.

One last thing, nobody in our city government has given any great

reasons for this redevelopment of the Bergamot Arts Center. It would

seem that we shouldn’t touch something unless it’s broke…this center

isn’t broken.

Phil Brock

Santa Monica

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