Santa Monica Planning Commission Approves New Wellness Center

20th and Arizona project give green light

From Dolores Quintana

The redevelopment of the administrative wing of the former morgue Gates, Kingsley and Gates has been officially approved by the Santa Monica Planning Commission, the Santa Monica Daily Press reports.

The building was constructed in 1933 and the chapel area of ​​the original building has been redeveloped and converted into the tartine bakery and restaurant. An earlier version of the development was rejected by the Commission as a Tier 2 project, which would have been five stories and 21 meters high and which was first proposed in 2016. As approved, the new version of the proposed wellness center is a Tier 1 project that will be a 45-foot, three-story, 76,167-square-foot research and development and medical clinic building with a five-story underground car park with 275 parking spaces.

All in all, the project will be included in the lots at 1925 Arizona Avenue along with 1234 and 1242 20th Streets. The main objection to the first proposal seems to be the height of the proposed building, which the commission did not consider to be the character of the city. The new project seeks to maintain the Tudor Revival style and landscaping of the Gates, Kingsley and Gates Mortuary buildings to address the Commission’s concerns. The changes to the GKG building would be limited to the removal of external cladding not included in the original plan and changes to the access points.

The staff’s report said, “The wellness center would house a range of medical research activities, including space for laboratory modules, specialized equipment, medical archives and support offices. The project would include approximately 54,000 square feet of medical research and development space on the P1 level, first floor, and second floors. The medical clinic and outpatient care would include exam rooms and flexible rooms for treating and managing patients. The project would include 18,428 square feet of medical clinic space and occupy the entire third floor. ”

Another concern resulted in Commissioner Ellis Raskin not voting on the project. The Raskin Commission also declined to support the environmental report on development. Raskin said that “the loss of 10 potential homes had to be fixed and that the $ 560,000 loss mitigation fee paid to make up for the move was not enough,” added, “Regardless of how much money we make out of it , we are still losing 10 apartments. These effects should be moderated appropriately. Because of this, I think I will not support the EIR, ”the Santa Monica Daily Press is quoted as saying. Due to the housing crisis, the Commission has temporarily decided not to consider new projects other than residential units, but has allowed developments already under consideration to be reviewed and possibly approved.

Commissioner Shawn Landres replied: “I want to be very clear, as we saw in the staff report, that as of a certain date the Council has specifically excluded requests that were in the pipeline when it was stopping the production of commercial uses on unavailable land wanted to restrict. So I wish this was Housing too, it’s a great website for Housing. But I don’t feel we can refuse EIR certification or project approval in a quasi-judicial hearing because the council has clearly established guidelines on the matter, ”the Santa Monica Daily Press quoted as saying

Another problem with the building was the use of dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde in the former morgue. Commissioner Mario Fonda-Bonardi expressed disappointment at the lack of action on the part of the Council on this issue, saying: “I am not happy that we cannot raise the bar on health and safety beyond what is green Code maybe allowed. I think we should move forward. And every chance we get should be pushed forward. So the argument that we can’t make it for this project because we have to make it for all other projects is, in my opinion, turned on its head. We should do it for all other projects, ”according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.

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