June 6, 2015
The building that housed Santa Monica’s main post office for over 70 years closed in June 2013. That August, the Santa Monica City Council (with strong support from the Conservancy) approved a preservation covenant for the building and assumed responsibility for its enforcement, clearing the way for the Postal Service to sell the property. It was purchased in December 2013 by 1248 5th Street, LLC as creative office space for Skydance Productions, headed by David Ellison.
The exterior of the building was designated as a landmark in March 2014. While the lobby was not included since it was no longer a public space, it is protected by the covenant that gives City Council the power to approve any changes. The Conservancy is currently advocating that the City Council delegate that responsibility to the Landmarks Commission.
Skydance has hired preservation architect Robert Chattel to oversee their plans. He will research the building and guide the plans so that they are compliant with the covenant, the landmark designation and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. Skydance has submitted an application for a discretionary review permit for their plans to rehabilitate the exterior and restore the historic lobby. Proposed changes include an addition on the rear of the building and two interior atria to bring in more natural light and air. One atrium will extend from the basement to the roof and the other will open from the first floor to the roof. The rear and interior changes will accommodate the addition of an enlarged second floor, a partial third floor and a roof terrace with the existing parapet serving as a guardrail.
The date for Landmarks Commission consideration of the plans is not yet determined.
Read more about our advocacy with the Post Office: