We can really use your help in support of the proposed mixed use boutique hotel project I am designing. Your past help, was very helpful in getting us a 6 to 1 positive vote at LUPC. Turnout and letters for our big Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) meeting this Tuesday, Feb 18th at 7 PM is even more important.
I am reaching out to you individually, to solicit your support once again. You have been gracious in listening and we appreciate your consideration. If this vote was not critical I would not be imposing on your time, but I am sincerely hoping you can offer your time and support.
Sending your email of support to the VNC board would be very helpful and is the first thing you can do now (more on that below).
However, what is crucial at this juncture is to plan to attend the VNC meeting this Tuesday at 7pm at the Westminster School Auditorium to speak in support of the project.
Physically coming to the meeting is a powerful statement because it shows you are a person that is likely to take the time to vote in local elections. If the Councilmember and the Board members feel they are losing votes by supporting the project, we may lose their support regardless of the merits of the project.
If you are comfortable signing up to speak at the hearing, please do. If you are uncomfortable with public speaking bring the letter you wrote, when it is your turn say, “I support the project, here is my letter in support” and put your letter on the VNC’s table. Or simply show up, which can also be a big help.
We need to physically get numbers to the meeting. Please RSVP to this email if you can make it. If you can bring other supporters to the meeting and have them send emails, too, that would be a big help and appreciated.
Come out on Tuesday, we will be having a little rally/gathering before the VNC meeting at 6:00 PM on the Primitivo patio at 1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd. It will allow everyone to meet up with the development team and other supporters before the big hearing. We will enjoy a social hour together (See invite) and then head across the street to the Venice Neighborhood Council meeting (at Westminster School Auditorium) together.
We hope you will walk or ride your bike, but if you drive we will have validations for free parking in the lot behind the restaurant off Electric Ave.
If you have not yet sent your email please do it now:
Click on this link Click to Send a Support Email and remember to replace the portion in [brackets]. Or copy the below addresses into your email and send your own message.
Board@VeniceNC.org; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; TheAKhotel@Gmail.com
Please see website, past emails, or facts below for additional information or just send me an email or give me a call. www.abbotkinneyhotel.com
Thanks you so much for your support.
DAVID HERTZ AND THE AK HOTEL TEAM.
Information on the proposed AK HOTEL:
The AK hotel will be an independent, locally-owned, mixed-use apartment hotel – not part of a big chain or corporation. The AK hotel's scale is comparable with other buildings on Abbot Kinney and Electric Ave., so it won’t change the character of the neighborhood. The project preserves some of the old buildings and businesses – it's unlikely that anyone else who bought the property would take the same approach. The hotel team is preserving and celebrating the Venice vibe and values in throughout every aspect of the project.
AK Hotel Team Background
- Dan Abrams (Owner) has lived and worked in Venice since 2003, and purchased The Venice Place property in 2007 to preserve it. Dan is also an entrepreneur, film producer, philanthropist, and environmental activist. Dan is a local who lives on Westminster, works in the Venice Place building and bought the property as with the intent to preserve the existing buildings and courtyard.
- David Hertz (Architect) grew up in and has worked in Venice for most of his life. David is an award-winning and widely published architect with expertise in sustainable design and contextual building.
- Greg Reitz (Developer) grew up skateboarding, surfing, and doing Jr. Lifeguards with Steve on the beaches of Los Angeles, and has worked in and around Venice, Santa Monica and Culver City for the past 14 years. As Principal and Co-Founder of REthink Development, Greg is a leader in sustainable development.
- Steve Edwards (Developer) grew up skateboarding, surfing and doing Jr. Lifeguards with Greg and has worked in and around Venice, Santa Monica and Culver City for the past 13 years. With prior experience in software and entertainment, Steve is an entrepreneur and innovative product and project developer.
Rationale for a hotel in Venice
Venice has roughly 16 million visitors a year and very few hotel rooms. The AK will give some of those people a place to say at night rather than driving back to their hotel in Santa Monica or Marina del Rey. Overnight hotel visitors are known to drive much less and spend much more in a community than “day-trippers”. Furthermore, people are staying in hotels outside of Venice, then coming to park in our community. Those who stay at the The AK will . The AK is an ideal location for friends and family to stay in the neighborhood when they come to town.
The AK hotel will consist of buildings ranging from one to three stories – the same height as other buildings on both Abbot Kinney Blvd. and Electric Ave. The height of the hotel is well below the allowable height, and is below the height of other buildings on Abbot Kinney. Most of the hotel building is stepped back to be comparable with character mass and scale of adjacent blocks on Electric Ave.
Number of Rooms
The hotel as proposed will begin with 67 hotel rooms in phase I, and up to 85 in phase II if the hotel is a success. There will be 67 rooms to start – and up to 85 if the hotel's a success.* Additionally, the project will include two apartment units. Currently, Venice has 401 hotel rooms that serve 16 million visitors annually. By contrast, Santa Monica has 7110 hotel rooms that serve 7.3 million visitors annually, and Marina del Rey has 1575 hotel rooms serving 2 million visitors each year.
*The Hotel Erwin is 119 rooms. In Santa Monica: Casa Del Mar (129), Shutters (198), Viceroy (162), and the smaller boutiques: Georgian (84), Shangri-La (70), Oceana (70).
Venice Specific Plan/Local Coastal Plan compliance
The Project is in full compliance with the Venice Specific Plan (with no exceptions or variances) and the hotel is a Preferred Use in the Local Coastal Plan. Less than 6% of Venice is zoned Community Commercial, and per the Venice Specific Plan, opportunities for commercial development include “a broad range of community serving commercial uses and services” (Venice Community Plan, page I-4)
The AK hotel will provide more than 100% of the required parking with 163 spaces, and the project will not take away any street parking. It will also allow employees to park for free. Our valet will be required to park on-site or in parking lots we have leased which is more convenient than parking in the neighborhood. Hotel valets will be hotel staff and they, too will be required to adhere to our strict policy of parking on site or in other contracted spaces. 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 will be designed to handle peak demand.
Traffic for the hotel will be much less intense at peak morning/evening rush hours than an alternative office/retail project, and is less than 1% increase in peak traffic over the existing uses. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) determined in its review of the traffic study “that there will be no significant impact” on traffic surrounding the project. To get a sense of traffic generation from hotels, in Santa Monica, 70% of hotel guests don’t drive once they arrive at the hotels. We expect our Venice guests to drive even less. The AK Hotel also will increase the size of the valet court on the property so any queuing cars can easily get off Electric. The AK Hotel will also add a sidewalk on the southwest side of Electric, and will underground utility poles so people can walk and bike on that side of the street.
Existing tenants – Joe's, Primitivo, Dr. Jerry's Sculpture Garden
The AK hotel has extended an invitation to Joe's and Primitivo to stay on as tenants and to continue as neighborhood restaurants. We are also preserving Dr. Jerry's Sculpture Garden, one of Venice's most unique cultural institutions, because we know it's what Venice is all about.
Deliveries will increase. but not that much over what currently exists with the three restaurants on the property. Three restaurants already get food, beverage, linen, and other items delivered. In phase I of the project, one of the restaurants will increase in size. This will not necessarily increase the number of delivery trips because more product will just get unloaded at each delivery. In many cases, the same delivery companies or suppliers supply goods for restaurants and hotels. The AK hotel will strive to consolidate services to deliver linens to the hotel in addition to the restaurants. 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 will greatly improve the delivery loading/parking situation by creating two loading spaces that did not previously exist.
Dedicated loading and trash will be located on Broadway. The AK hotel's trash is designed to be 3x its current size to accommodate the increase. Additionally, it will use compactors, and it will be completely enclosed. No additional trash truck trips will be needed above the current condition, due to the fact that the space will be bigger. The increased amount of trash will only fill up another 10% of the trash truck that already comes to the property.
The project will provide a number of good jobs for local Venice and L.A. residents. Additionally, a hotel on Abbot Kinney will be good for local businesses. The AK hotel will also establish a philanthropic program that will benefit the Venice community.
The AK hotel development team has done extensive outreach to the Venice community, and has made significant changes to the project based on community feedback over the course of a dozen community meetings.