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Hotel Proposal Sparks Heated Debate In Santa Monica

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Juan Fernandez 620x466 2013 Juan Fernandez
Juan Fernandez joined CBS2 News as a general assignment reporter in...
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SANTA MONICA (CBS) — A special meeting of the Santa Monica planning commission Wednesday drew quite a crowd, as people sounded off over a brewing land dispute involving some prime real estate with million-dollar ocean views.

At issue is a proposed construction development known as the “Fairmont Project” at the site of the existing Miramar Hotel near the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Ocean Avenue.

The meeting filled both City Council chambers and an overflow area in the lobby with 83 people signed up to speak.

“It’s too big and too intrusive; it destroys the ambiance of the neighborhood. It’s completely insensitive to the needs of the people,” said Robert Gurfield, who lives on Third Street and claims the proposed redevelopment will ruin his precious ocean views.

“Here’s a wall across that this development will provide,” he said referring to a drawing of the proposed plans.

For the first time MSD Capital, owner of the Miramar Hotel since 2006, presented their plans for the site to the planning commission.

They included a 265 guest room hotel; new retail space; an acre of open space, including a fountain on the corner of Wilshire and Ocean; and 120 condominiums on the upper floors of the new building.

The city’s Chamber of Commerce and Hospitality Industry support the plan, as do many long-time residents.

“I love the idea that the corner of Wilshire and Ocean is going to open up and you can get to see the tree. The idea of the framing of the tree on Second, I think it’s going to give a lot more light than they think it’s going to give and I think it’s going to be beautiful,” Santa Monica resident Donna Forman said.

“To move the city forward and to keep us competitive in what is really a competitive hotel and entertainment market, this is a good plan to move forward with,” said resident Mark Spilo.

There will be several more rounds of gathering feedback from the community, before the planning commission will present their recommendation to the developer for revisions. The final revision will then go before the City Council.

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