This Note was posted on YoVenice! on Oct 2, 2013
A note from the Abbot Kinney hotel team:
There's been a lot of discussion in recent weeks and months about our proposal for a hotel on Abbot Kinney. We've heard tons of support and excitement, along with a number of concerns. We have had 3 community meetings and are looking forward to our 5th Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) meeting tonight. We have had countless personal meetings and casual conversations with community members and stakeholders and will have many more. Most recently, we had a booth at the Abbot Kinney Festival on Sunday where we spoke to many of you – it was great to get that one on one interaction with people to help familiarize the community with the project.
As Venice locals who love this neighborhood, it's always been our priority to seek out the community's feedback and improve the project with that feedback in mind. We've already done quite a bit of listening and making changes and will continue to do so. It's not an easy process as, naturally, different people have different points of view – it's been said that if you get 4 Venetians in a room you'll get at least 5 different opinions. But we're doing our best, and truly appreciate that one of the many wonderful things about Venice is how much people care about and get involved with their community.
As we move forward, we would like to correct some misinformation that's been circulating about the project. With that in mind, we encourage you to visit our informational website: www.abbotkinneyhotel.com. The FAQ section is specifically intended to address a lot of the questions and concerns that have arisen, and we have pasted it in its entirety at the bottom of this letter. We hope you'll click around on the site and start to get a sense of what we're all about. This is just a start, and the site will grow as the process moves along.
We also want to share an important announcement regarding the project. As many people know, we've been proposing to build a partial 4th floor for the hotel. This would require that the project be granted an exception to the Venice Specific Plan's height restriction. For more on how we’ve been approaching this request for an exception with the community, click here.
Opinions on this request for an exception have been widely varied: many feel, as we do, that it helps the project in numerous ways; many feel that the 4 very low-income affordable apartment units on site we proposed are an equitable exchange to the community for the exception we've requested and set a positive precedent for the granting of a Specific Plan Exception; many don't know or don't care about the height limit; and to be sure, many feel very strongly that no project in Venice should exceed the height limit under any circumstances.
After a lot of listening, discussions, and much consideration, we have decided to remove our request for the height exception, and will make the project work without the 4th floor. We've determined that the burden of being the project that sets the bar for what is a justifiable exception is not one we want as part of this project’s legacy. Therefore, as an expression of our long-term commitment to the community, and in order to foster a productive process going forward, we feel this is the best course.
We know we're never going to please everybody, but our sincere intent is to do something positive for the future of this community, and we'd like to move forward in that spirit. Yes, we are trying to build a successful business, but equally important to us is to contribute something that has multiple, lasting benefits to this neighborhood that we love.
(Note: the website and the FAQ's still reflect the project with the 4th floor. We will begin changing it to show the revised project as soon as possible.)
One of the few things it seems most Venice residents would agree with is the desire to keep Venice local and independent, and that's one of the biggest driving forces behind our endeavor. Change is often uncomfortable, but we'd much rather see locals contribute to the process than leave it all to big brands and corporations. The property remaining in its current state is not one of the viable options. We feel we have an excellent concept and the right team to execute it.
The Abbot Kinney hotel team – Dan Abrams, David Hertz, Steve Edwards and Greg Reitz