FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What does the project consist of?
A: The Venice Place Project will keep existing buildings and businesses while adding new uses. It will maintain the existing Venice Place and Felix restaurant buildings along with the outdoor courtyard. The project will add a boutique hotel with new outdoor space, a spa, eateries, shops and creative office space.
The boutique-style hotel will include 78 guest rooms and 4 apartments for a total of 82 units. It will be architecturally integrated into the existing block and provide pedestrian friendly amenities. 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 to meet, share a moment or retreat from it all.
Q: Has anything changed since last time you presented to the community?
A: We previously modified the design in response 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. Since then, we also made a slight reduction in the project size, reducing the number of hotel rooms.
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. A legally conforming hotel will reduce some of the effect of short-term rentals on the community by absorbing some of the demand.
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 Coastal Land Use Plan.
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 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 four plus years we have had 16 community meetings, including 9 with the Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC) of the Venice Neighborhood Council and a Los Angeles Zoning Administrator public hearing. 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 12.20.2 of the Municipal Code, a Coastal Development Permit to permit a mixed use project including an Apartment Hotel with 78 guest rooms, 4 apartments, a restaurant, retail and office space.
Pursuant to Section 11.5.7 of the Municipal Code, a Project Permit Compliance determination in accordance with the Venice Specific Plan.
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 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 Sections 65590 and 65590.1 of the California Government Code, a Mello Act Compliance review for projects located within the Coastal Zone.
Q: What is the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and what does it say?
A: The EIR aims to identify the project’s impacts, and propose mitigation measures (or project alternatives) to reduce or avoid any significant adverse impacts.
The Draft EIR concludes that there are no significant long-term impacts of the project, with just one exception. The buildings currently housing an existing pre-school are potentially historic under the California Environmental Quality Act. One of the project alternatives contemplates a similar mixed-use project that preserves these buildings, mitigating any impact. There will also be a temporary noise impact during a portion of our construction period, which is typical of many urban projects. We will work with the city on a detailed construction plan to minimize a few, short-term construction-related noise and vibration impacts.
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 comply with all parking requirements of the Venice Specific Plan and the Venice Coastal Land Use Plan. It will provide 175 parking spaces.
Q: Will you be eliminating street parking?
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 contractually required to park on-site or in parking lots we have leased. All valets will have to abide by this policy. Management will monitor valet service operations to ensure compliance.
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 300% 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 discourages consolidation of three or more lots if certain conditions are not met. As a unified mixed-use project, Venice Place is not subject to this requirement. However, in keeping with the character of the community, we are voluntarily meeting the intention of this provision. The project will be a collection of separate buildings broken up by pedestrian walkways connected by underground garages and bridges at the 2nd and 3rd levels.