The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, Small craft Harbor Commission, will hold a meeting on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 10am in the Community Room at Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, MDR. Unlike the “Community Briefing” held on October 22, 2013, this meeting will allow the public to speak as a body. Your comments will go into the public record. You will need to fill out a speaker card and the time limit for each speaker is 3 minutes.
The agenda will include two important items:
1) Another presentation by the City of Los Angeles’ proposal to route the Venice Dual Force auxiliary sewer pipe across Marquesas Way and down Via Marina.
2) A review of the Final Environmental Impact Report, Addendum and approval of Option to Lease Agreement to facilitate the Redevelopment at Parcel 9U. This is the first public hearing and release of documentation on the proposed lease between the County and MDR Hotels, LCC (aka Samuel Hardage/ Hardage Hospitality/ Woodfin Hotels et al.)
Sketch of the Marriott Residence Inn and Hotel on Via Marina. Courtesy Awbrey Cook McGill Architects and the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.
Conceptual Rendering of the Marriot Residence and Hotel on Via Marina. Courtesy Awbrey Cook McGill Architectects and the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has drafted a lease agreement with the MDR Hotels, LCC and the Hardage Hospitality Group (one and the same, but formerly known as the Woodfin Hotel and Timeshares) on Parcel 49 on the northern section of the large vacant lot on Via Marina between Marquesas and Tahiti Way. This project was originally initiated by San Diego developer Samuel Hardage of the Woodfin Hotel Group nine years ago. It consisted of a 225 foot high 19-story hotel and timeshare. Due to community resistance, the Board of Supervisors sent it back to the drawing board advising the developer to lower the height and eliminate the time-share element. In the interim, the Woodfin Hotel group filed for bankruptcy and ceased to be the developer/lessee. The Marriott Hotels now are listed as the applicant/ developer under the title MDR Hotels, LLC with Hardage Hospitality as the initial operator. This will be the third Marriott lease holding in Marina del Rey along with the Marriott Marina del Rey and the Ritz Carlton on Admiralty Way. Other hotels are the Hilton, the Jamaica Bay Inn, the Fog Horn and the Marina del Rey International. There is also a hotel proposed for Fisherman’s Village which would bring the total number of hotels in MDR to eight.
The revised plan consists of a 6-story (Marriott Residence Inn) and 5-story (Marriott Courtyard Hotel) structure, placed on an angle to each other, and connected by a single-story structure facing Via Marina and the harbor. There will be 288 rooms/units in all. The Residence portion will accommodate extended stay guests. Parking will be both underground and at grade level. The structures will block most of the view of the harbor along this section of Via Marina (officially designated as a scenic drive). The developer is using the enhancement /restoration of a small 1.47 acre Wetland Park on Parcel 9 at the south-east corner of Via Marina and Tahiti Way to fulfill the view corridor requirement. The project will also block the views of most of the 4-story high Strand Colony condominiums on the west side of Via Marina. The 6-story Inn will be 72 feet high (this is the same height as the Shores); the 5-story Hotel will be 61 feet high.
Hardage submitted a letter to the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors on October 23, 2013 including the revised plans. The Design Control Board gave the plans conceptual approval on January 22, 2014. The hotel lease will still have to be approved by the Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors, the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning and the Board of Supervisors.
At various meetings along the way, the public has expressed continuing concerns about the hotel. They include the following.
1) The proposed and approved projects along the eastern side of Via Marina increasingly block off views of the harbor from Via Marina (an officially designated scenic drive).
2) Why is a hotel being permitted in an area which the County’s “Visioning” blue print (unanimously approved last week by the Board of Supervisors) designates as a residential area. Why the need more hotels in Marina del Rey, especially in this neighborhood.
3) The hotel is yet another project which, following on the heels of the Shores and the AMLI apartment complexes, is adding untenable population density and traffic congestion within the Silver Strand.
4) If approved, the hotel construction will coincide with the proposed routing of the auxiliary sewer line down Via Marina. What steps will be taken to deal with the double impact on residents of these two projects.
5) The inadequacy of this and other project plans in terms of addressing the ability of emergency services to access residents on either side of Via Marina and evacuation of the area, an earthquake and tsunami hazard zone, in the event of such a catastrophe.
6) The architectural design of the hotel looks to be yet another example of the sort of hack commercial aesthetic we have seen in the Shores apartment complex. Eclectic post-Modernism with neither character nor distinction and totally out of keeping with the low-key and low-rise character of the surrounding neighborhood.
7) This is the last large undeveloped parcel in Marina del Rey. Instead of a hotel, a better use in terms of tourism and the public would be to create a public park which could function as a viewing place for the harbor, include an educational center focusing on wetland ecology and a marine museum describing the history of Marina del Rey from the Tvonga tribal settlement on through the Rancho La Ballona up to the creation of the harbor.
Notice of this upcoming meeting, including revised hotel plans, Environmental Reviews, and the draft of the hotel lease were posted on the Department of Beaches and Harbors website last night. The relevant documents can be found at:
This will download quickly as an Adobe PDF. It includes much important material. You can facilitate going through it by using Adobes “find” search bar.
You can also do a search on the Silver Strand News by typing “Woodfin” into the search bar for information on the complicated background on this project.