Downtown officials reveal plan to revitalize the promenade

By Jorge Casuso

August 5, 2021 – Imagine visiting the boardwalk enjoying a concert in a cultural venue, browsing a maker market in a new town square, and ending the night in a rooftop bar or underground hideout.

These are among the venues envisaged as part of a downtown plan unveiled this week that would revitalize the three-block pedestrian mall that has been badly hit by high-tech shopping trends and crippled by the Cornavirus shutdown.

Rendering of the town square on the promenade with the cultural center in the back left (courtesy of DTSM)

Six months into creation, the Third Street Promenade’s stabilization and economic vitality plan will “serve as a guide to re-designing the promenade visitor experience,” downtown officials said.

It also offers private home owners “the resources, guidance, and policy reform they need to reinvest and reconfigure” their commercial space along the iconic pedestrian mall.

“Our hope is that the Vitality Plan will help make better use of public and private property to bring back the vibrancy of the street,” said Barry Snell, chairman of the board of directors of Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM), which runs the Central. the city heads business districts.

Downtown officials also hope the plan will help “usher in an exciting, diverse, and inclusive new era that will meet the evolving needs of our residents and the wider Santa Monica community for years to come,” said Snell.

The plan sets out our proposed changes to land use and zoning regulations, which currently “limit private real estate to the traditional retail, restaurant and office model,” officials said.

The proposed changes would “allow more flexibility in the use of private space” and allow landlords to “adapt their space to the requirements of the emerging markets,” said owner Robert Resnick, a member of the Promenade Advisory Board.

Rendering of the third ct.  alley
Rendering of the third ct. alley

“The Vitality Plan will be an important resource that we can all work together to generate new and innovative uses for private real estate,” said Resnick.

“It is focused on creating an exciting new experience for our diverse and growing customer base.”

The plan comes as the boardwalk has long been facing challenges created by increased competition, changing demographics, new technology and a radical shift in consumer trends and shopping patterns, officials said.

The challenges were compounded by the effects of the COVID-19 emergency that crippled most of the Santa Monica economy for more than a year.

“This is in an effort to create a modern and equitable downtown area that includes experience retailing, live entertainment, nightlife, cultural offerings, small-scale manufacturing, housing, office space and more,” DTSM officials said.

The plan includes more rooftop bars and restaurants, as well as underground hiding spots in alleyways that “encourage nightlife and add a lot of excitement and exploration to downtown.”

It also calls for a new culture and entertainment venue near 3rd Street and Arizona Avenue that “could offer coveted entertainment experiences currently unavailable west of the 405”.

In addition, the plan provides for an adjacent “signature public space in the form of a town square that would host open-air concerts, hold markets and give the community more space,” officials said.

The foundation for the plan has already been laid, officials said downtown.

DTSM is installing new lighting and interactive elements “tailored to meet the increased demand for public art and furnishings that create engaging and fun moments that can be shared on social media,” officials said.

The agency’s business development team has developed a leasing strategy “to create a more diverse and inclusive business mix with a focus on small manufacturers and artisans who currently have no physical presence in Santa Monica.”

DTSM has purchased six kiosks, “which will be strategically placed along the boardwalk, with the aim of giving these entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their business on a scale that is convenient for them,” downtown officials said.

“As communities consider meaningful ways to recover from the economic devastation caused by the pandemic, DTSM and the City of Santa Monica, along with real estate owners, passionate residents, and industry experts, have made significant infrastructure investments to meet the continuing need for The Boardwalk.” and downtown, ”said Snell.

For more information on the Vitality Plan, visit For the latest resources and information, follow @DTSantaMonica on Instagram and Twitter or DowntownSantaMonica on Facebook.

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