FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What does the project consist of?

A: The Venice Place Project includes the existing Felix (formerly Joe’s) and Hal's and CasaLinda (formerly Primitivo) restaurants, The Venice Place building, as well as a new boutique hotel with an expanded courtyard, spa, eateries, shops and creative office space.

The AK Hotel specifically will be a boutique hotel built in phases to a total of 84-rooms, 4 of which will be apartments.  It will be set back from Abbot Kinney and integrated into the block.  It includes a new restaurant, spa, rooftop Cook’s Garden, pool deck, bike rentals, and an expansive Outdoor Living Room. We are committed to staffing with a significant number of local residents to personalize the hotel experience and bring jobs to the neighborhood.

The Outdoor Living Room is the heart of The Venice Place Project. The Outdoor Living Room is a central outdoor courtyard space connecting the existing and new elements of the property. From intimate nooks to dynamic public spaces, this will become a new favorite destination for locals and visitors alike to meet friends, share a moment or retreat from it all.

Q: Why did you change the name?

A: As we modified the design of the building, it gave us another opportunity to look at all of the aspects of the project, and we realized that defining the whole project as only a hotel was not accurate to our vision.  In conceptualizing the project, it was designed to be anchored with the unique elements that the community loves today including The Venice Place building, the existing restaurants, and Dr. Jerry’s Sculpture Garden.  The Project adds a mix of uses, including the hotel, to these current uses.  

Q: What’s changed since last time you presented to the community?

A: The modified design is a result of being responsive to the community.  We increased setbacks and decreased massing along Electric, Broadway and Westminster.  We broke up the project into a collection of buildings connected by passageways.  The exterior materials were changed to be more consistent with Abbot Kinney by incorporating street art, reclaimed wood and brick. 

Q: Why a hotel as part of the project?
    
A: Because we love great, independent, boutique hotels, and a hotel has much greater community-serving potential than another office building or set of high-priced condos.  A hotel creates jobs, provides communal spaces and, ideally, generates enough revenue to support myriad social and cultural programs for the enjoyment and benefit of the local community.  We've heard from many of our friends and neighbors who love the idea of having a hotel in the neighborhood and can't wait for it to open.

Venice has roughly 16 million visitors a year and very few hotel rooms.  We’d like to give some of those people a place to stay at night rather than driving back to their hotel in Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, or elsewhere. 

This is one of the few blocks in the neighborhood designated as “Community Commercial”, where a hotel is described as a “preferred use” in the Venice Local Coastal Program.  Among other things, this means it wouldn’t be that easy for other hotels to be developed in the immediate area that don't share this designation.

Q: What kind of hotel will it be?

A: Independent, boutique, with a Venice-inspired look and feel, and as locally-integrated as possible.  A place where any Venetian would be happy to have a friend, family member, client, or colleague stay.  It will be integrated with restaurants, retail, and an inviting courtyard that will become one of the new favorite spots for coffee, meals, drinks, casual meetings, and just hanging out. We will showcase local artists, incorporate pieces of Venice history, and reach out to the community in as many ways as we (and hopefully you) can dream up. 

Q: Who will operate the hotel?

A: We plan on maintaining ownership and control for many years to come.  However, we are evaluating different potential operating and capital partners.  We will be careful to select partners that understand and can appropriately contribute to Venice and our vision.

Q: What community outreach have you done?

A:  Over two plus years we have had 14 community meetings, (9 with the Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) of the Venice Neighborhood Council), the Venice Place Project Team responded to the concerns of community members with 4 rounds of major project changes. The end result was a well-vetted project that fully complies with the Venice Specific Plan, the Coastal Land Use Plan and City of Los Angeles Zoning Code. 

On January 15, 2014 LUPC voted to recommend approval of the project to Venice Neighborhood Council.  On February 18, 2014 the Venice Neighborhood Council voted to approve the project.

Q: What city entitlements or approvals are you requesting?

  • Pursuant to Section 12.24 W 24 of the Municipal Code, a Conditional Use to permit an Apartment Hotel located within 500 feet of a Residential Zone.
  • Pursuant to Section 12.24 W 1 of the Municipal Code, a Conditional Use to permit (1) sale and consumption of a full line of alcohol for the hotel restaurant and bar area and hotel roof pool deck and hotel roof decks, (2) a full line of alcohol beverages provided in individual hotel room’s liquor cabinets, (3) the sale of a full line of alcohol beverages by hotel guest room services, (4) consumption of alcohol in the hotel lobby, hotel outdoor courtyard, hotel lounge areas, and hotel business center.
  • Pursuant to Section 12.20.2 of the Municipal Code, a Coastal Development Permit to permit a mixed use project including an Apartment Hotel with 80 guest rooms and restaurant, 4 apartment units, retail, and office space.
  • Pursuant to Section 16.05 C 1(b) of the Municipal Code, a Site Plan Review approval for a mixed use project including an Apartment Hotel, retail, and office space that creates 50 or more guest rooms.
  • Pursuant to Section 11.5.7 of the Municipal Code, a Project Permit Compliance determination in accordance with the Venice Specific Plan.
  • Pursuant to Sections 65590 and 65590.1 of the California Government Code, a Mello Act Compliance review for projects located within the Coastal Zone.

Q: How tall will the project be?

A: The project varies in height – from 1 to 3 stories, and a maximum of 30 feet. 

Q: How much parking will the project have?

A: The project will be parked above code requirements.  The project requires 148 parking spaces by code.  It will provide at least 166 parking spaces.  As part of this parking count we have brought the existing uses (no “grandfathering”) up to current code. The project is following both the LA City and Venice Specific Plan parking codes.

Q: Will you be eliminating street parking?

A: No.

Q: Where will employees park?

A: Employees that drive will park for free in the underground parking facility.  In addition to providing free parking for employees, we will provide incentives for employees to carpool, bike or use alternate means of transportation to reduce traffic.  A high percentage of the employees currently working in the existing restaurants and offices on site bike and use alternative means of transportation now.

Q: Valets are notorious for parking in the residential neighborhoods.  How will you solve this problem?

A: Our valet service will be required to park on-site or in parking lots we have leased. All valets will have to abide by our strict policy of parking on site or in other contracted spaces.  

Q: Won’t cars get backed up onto Electric Ave during peak times?

A: No.  We have studied the peak arrival rate of the existing property and hired experts to determine the peak arrival rates for the new proposed uses.  The parking system and valet area has been designed to handle peak demand without cars backing up onto Electric. We also increased the size of the valet court so cars can easily queue onsite and not on Electric. 

Q:  Won't the project create a lot of extra traffic and congestion?

A: We have hired very experienced professionals, done our research, and made changes to the project to reduce this impact. The project will generate additional trips, but unlike with offices, apartments, or condos, hotel traffic is diffused throughout the day and not concentrated at peak rush hour.  By providing a mix of other uses, the traffic is further spread out.   The project will add less than 1% in traffic to commuter routes during peak hours.  

We will be encouraging guests not to bring a car, so they can better experience Venice as many locals do, on bikes, skateboards, and their own two feet.   We will provide bikes and skateboards to guests for use. 

We also eliminated back up driveways onto Electric and put the dedicated loading and trash on Broadway.  We are adding a sidewalk on the southwest side of Electric where there is none currently, and putting utilities underground (no poles) so people can walk and bike on that side of the street.  

Q: How will the project deal with increased trash?

A: According to a study by Terry A. Hayes Associates the project will have an estimated 95% increase in trash above current uses.  We’ve designed the project’s trash area to be 3x its current size to accommodate the increase.  Additionally, it will be enclosed and use compactors to dispose of the trash.  No additional trash truck trips will be needed above the current condition, as the space will be bigger and the increased amount of trash will only fill up another 10% of that truck. 

Q: How will the project deal with increased deliveries?

A: Currently, the three existing restaurants receive food, beverages, linens, and other items through delivery.  Delivery trips for restaurant supplies will not increase, the amount of product unloaded at each delivery will increase.   In many cases, the same delivery companies and suppliers supply the same goods for restaurants and hotels.  As studied by our consultants, the hotel will generate three additional linen deliveries a week over the two the restaurants get now and one additional general supply delivery.

To further mitigate the impacts of deliveries, we created two loading spaces on Broadway that do not currently exist.

Q: What is the lot consolidation issue I have heard about?
 
A: The Venice Specific Plan prohibits consolidation of three or more lots if certain conditions are not met.  Each of the buildings are located on two lots or fewer, such that lot consolidation is not occurring. This provides the opportunity for pedestrian walkways and permeability of the block. The bridges connecting the buildings do not constitute “structures” that would lead to lot consolidation.  They are provided for convenience only.