News + Advocacy

Conservancy News

← Older posts Newer posts →

September 2015 Newsletter Now Available

Posted on

The latest Conservancy newsletter is now available online, as well as past editions. Our newsletter covers upcoming preservation events, preservation issues, features on the people and places of historic Santa Monica and much more.

In the current edition:

  • Upcoming Annual Salon at an Award-Winning Home
  • The Conservancy Receives a City Grant
  • Updates from the Landmarks Commission Report
  • Two Board Members Appointed to City’s Planning Commission
  • More News, Reports, and Event Listings

Download the September Newsletter, or click here to view past issues.

Our newsletter is published four times per year. Conservancy members receive a copy of each new issue in the mail. If you’d like to become a member, please join today!

Posted in Santa Monica Conservancy Newsletter, Zoning Ordinance |

Docents Training for the New Resource Center

Posted on

Seventeen volunteers – the first corps of docents for the Preservation Resource Center at the Shotgun House — have now completed the classroom portion of their training to support our time-capsule on the edge of the Third Street Historic District. As part of their preparation, the group studied the origins of shotgun houses, Victorian architecture, local history and contemporary concepts in preservation.

Photo credit Carol Lemlein.

Photo credit Carol Lemlein.

Their work will continue this summer, when the interior of the house is ready for practice sessions with the interpretive displays. This outstanding group of new docents includes Phillis Dudick, Eric Dugdale, Mario Fonda-Bonardi, Susan Haynsworth, Amanda Kainer, Morris Kushner, Rebecca Kuzins, Fran Lyness, Lillian Mizrahi, Dick Orton, Curtis Raymond, Shannon Ryan, Lorraine Sanchez, Laurel Schmidt, Susana Schuarzberg, Patty Tann and Hilda Weiss.

Photo credit Robin Tung.

Photo credit Robin Tung.

Each has expressed a fascination with life in the past and a passion for preserving the unique structures that give our city its character. When the Preservation Resource Center opens in the fall, docents will staff the house on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 2pm year round as well as by appointment.

They will actively engage and encourage a diverse audience—tourists, history buffs, preservationists, and students— to examine the details of the house itself, to learn about how it was saved by the community and to explore local landmarks. Rather than offering scripted tours, docents will encourage interactive conversations that stimulate visitor curiosity and imagination, hopefully helping them to appreciate the importance of preserving our architectural heritage.

Posted in Shotgun House | Tagged , |

Update on the 5th Street Post Office

Posted on

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.

Photo caption:  Over 90 people gathered for the Conservancy’s rally for the preservation of the historic 5th Street Post Office on June 29, 2013, its last day of operation  Photo Credit Mike Crosby

Over 90 people gathered for the Conservancy’s rally for the preservation of the historic 5th Street Post Office on June 29, 2013, its last day of operation. Photo Credit Mike Crosby.

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:

Posted in 5th Street Post Office, Preservation Alerts |

June 2015 Newsletter Now Available

Posted on

The latest Conservancy newsletter is now available online, as well as past editions. Our newsletter covers upcoming preservation events, preservation issues, features on the people and places of historic Santa Monica and much more.

In the current edition:

  • Proposed San Vicente Courtyard Historic District Moves Forward
  • Update on the 5th Street Post Office
  • The Conservancy Remembers Kevin McCarthy
  • Progress on the Shotgun House & Docent Training
  • More News, Reports, and Event Listings

Download the June 2015 newsletter, or click here to view past issues.

Our newsletter is published four times per year. Conservancy members receive a copy of each new issue in the mail. If you’d like to become a member, please join today!

Posted in Santa Monica Conservancy Newsletter |

Five New Mills Act Contracts Approved

Posted on

Five New Mills Act Contracts Approved

Santa Monica’s most important preservation incentive was granted to five landmark property owners at the October 28 meeting of the City Council.  This action brings the City’s total number of Mills Act contracts to 62, which enables a property tax reduction for owners who commit to an approved plan of restoration and maintenance.

The properties newly approved are:

  • 1602 Georgina: a recently designated Spanish Colonial Revival adobe residence designed by architect John Byers for E.J. Carrillo.

1602 Georgina Ave, architect John Byers.

  • 1047 9th Street: a cluster of three intact 1923 Pacific Ready-Cut Homes granted landmark designation in 2009.  After years of attempts to find a suitable site in Santa Monica for relocation of the three landmark structures, the property was sold to a new owner who rehabilitated the buildings and recently returned them to the rental market.

1047 9th St, 1923 Pacific Ready-Cut Homes,  landmark

  • 225 Santa Monica Boulevard: the 1929 Bay Cities Guaranty (Clocktower) Building, an iconic 12-story Art Deco downtown building featured on the Conservancy’s Downtown Walking Tour.

225 Santa Monica Blvd, 1929 Bay Cities Guaranty (Clocktower) Building, art deco

  • 947-953 11th Street: the 1937 Fitzgerald/Voss Apartments, a two-story Streamline Moderne multi-family apartment.

947-953 11th St, 1937 Fitzgerald/Voss Apartments, Streamline Moderne

  • 401 25th St: The 1913 Bundy House, an American Colonial Revival residence designed by prominent Los Angeles architects Hunt and Burns for real estate magnate Thomas Bundy and his wife, tennis celebrity May Sutton Bundy, the first American to win at Wimbledon.

401 25th Street, Bundy House Fundraising Salon, 2014, slide.

This year’s Mills Act beneficiaries are an unusually diverse group, including two historic multifamily residential properties and downtown commercial buildings.  Owners of such structures are frequently surprised to learn that the City’s incentives for designated properties are not restricted to single family homes.

Under the provisions of the Santa Monica Landmark Ordinance, Structures of Merit and contributing structures in designated Historic Districts are also eligible to apply for Mills Act contracts; several have done so since the program was first authorized in 1991.

 

Council Approves Mills Act Program Improvements

The Mills Act, the state program that reduces property taxes on designated historic properties, is one of Santa Monica’s most powerful incentives for historic preservation. Eligible properties include designated landmarks, structures of merit, and contributing properties in historic districts. To date, 57 historic buildings in Santa Monica have been rehabilitated under Mills Act contracts.

On July 7, the City Council acted to clarify and strengthen the Mills Act program in Santa Monica, adopting the recommendations formulated by the Landmarks Commission over the past year.

The action, supported by the Santa Monica Conservancy, defines additional eligibility requirements for qualified historic properties pursuing Mills Act Contracts with the City, including submittal of a detailed Work Plan that conforms to the Secretary of Interior Standards – the benchmark for appropriate rehabilitation and restoration work on historic properties. Additionally, the property must not have any outstanding code violations or tax delinquencies.

The City’s Mills Act application form will be amended to reflect these new requirements. Once approved, the contracts will be monitored biennially, requiring the contract holder to submit a report describing work performed on the property and progress toward completing the activities described in the Work Plan.

Council had initially asked staff to study the implementation of limits on the size of individual contracts and/or the total amount of tax loss created by Mills Act Contracts.  These provisions were strongly opposed by the Landmarks Commission and the Conservancy and were not included in the approved changes to the program.

This year’s applications for new Mills Act Contracts will be reviewed by the Landmarks Commission on September 8 and will then be forwarded to the City Council for approval.

 

Posted in Mills Act, Preservation Alerts, Preservation Incentives, Santa Monica Conservancy | Tagged , |

Landmark Courtyard Threatened with Demolition

Posted on

Landmark Courtyard Apartments Threatened with Demolition — Again!

 

An Environmental Impact Report is being prepared for the demolition of Colonial Revival courtyard apartments at 423 Ocean Avenue to enable construction of a new 13-unit condominium complex.  The property was landmarked in 2006 by a unanimous vote of the commissioners.  The owners lost an appeal intended to overturn the designation by a unanimous vote of the city council.  In 2013, an application for a certificate of economic hardship was filed, and the EIR now underway is a step in that process.

423 Ocean Ave - endangered CourtyardPhoto Credit: Evelyn Lauchenauer

In order to grant a certificate of economic hardship in the case of demolition, the Landmarks Commission must make a finding that the designated landmark cannot be remodeled or rehabilitated in a manner which would allow a reasonable use of or return from such property to a property owner.  The Conservancy has filed a detailed letter, outlining property’s historic significance and, according to state and local requirements, the analysis that must take place in the EIR if a finding of economic hardship is to be supported. Specifically, the letter notes that the financial return from preservation need not be superior to that of redevelopment, only “reasonable,” and requests that the analysis should include use of all financial incentives available to designated properties.  Finally, renovation costs incurred because of the owner’s neglect cannot be considered.  We are hopeful that if all these considerations are taken into account, it will be shown that there is a viable preservation alternative and the hardship certificate will be denied, opening the way for a productive use of the historic property.

Posted in Preservation Alerts, Santa Monica Conservancy |

Santa Monica Conservancy Announces 2015 Preservation Awards

Posted on

The Santa Monica Conservancy recognized exemplary contributions to the preservation of Santa Monica’s architectural and cultural heritage by honoring individuals, building owners and architectural firms at its Annual Meeting on Sunday, February 8, at the historic Casa Del Mar Hotel.

“We are delighted to showcase the accomplishments of those who have made significant investments in the revitalization of our historic resources with the Conservancy’s Annual Preservation Awards,” said Carol Lemlein, President of the Conservancy board. “By telling their stories and recognizing their efforts, we hope to inspire others to do the same.”

President’s Award: Doris Sosin
Sosin had the idea for forming the Conservancy and, with co-founder Tom Cleys, established the organization in 2002. “I felt we were destroying a history that our children and grandchildren should have been able to experience,” she explains. Her passion for preservation and generous financial support, along with her many connections made as a long-term resident and activist in Santa Monica, continues to enable the Conservancy to thrive.

Stewardship Awards
In 2014, Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club marked the centennial year of its Clubhouse, a Santa Monica Landmark at 1210 4th Street. Thanks to the stewardship by Club members, this important building is a veritable Santa Monica institution, gracing the heart of downtown and offering a popular venue for meetings, programs, social gatherings and community work. Recent projects include exterior and interior painting, a kitchen remodel, installation of a new special-effects light system, and most notably, the restoration of the building’s expansive glass skylight ceiling, which had been covered and protected during World War II.

Santa Monica Bay Woman's Club, 1210 4th Street; photo credit Shooting LA

Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, 1210 4th Street; photo credit Shooting LA

Smith Pipe and Supply was recognized for more than a half-century of stewardship of the 1920s-era Crescent Bay Creamery at 1545 12th Street. This distinctive Spanish Revival structure retains the original charm of its Churrigueresque style, with the elaborate relief and carved entrance, wrought iron grilles and other period details. In recent years the building has been occupied by architectural firms, having been drawn to the integrity and grace of its period design.

Crescent Bay Creamery at 1545 12th Street; photo credit Shooting LA

Crescent Bay Creamery at 1545 12th Street; photo credit Shooting LA

Project Awards
The Workman’s Cottage: Owners Hilda Weiss and Wayne Lindberg, architect Michele McDonough and Lichtman Design and Construction were recognized for comprehensive restoration and an addition to the residence at 1521 16th Street. The small Victorian cottage started out as a one-room home in the late 19th century and many additions were made over time. Vacant and neglected when purchased by Weiss and Lindberg, the house now reveals the different stages in its evolution and provides a comfortable modern living environment.

The Workman’s Cottage, 1521 16th Street; Photo credit Shooting LA

Three Kit Houses: Tabit Ventures, comprised of the family members of Mark and Jill Tabit, and their realtor Julie Kirschbaum and contractor Robert Ackerbloom, were recognized for the rehabilitation of three Pacific Readi-Cut bungalows located at 1047 9th Street. Together the team discovered and celebrated the history of the landmarked buildings, once threatened with demolition, and restored their place in the community.

Front Kit House, 1047 9th St; photo credit Shooting LA

Kuyama Residence: Owners Keiko and Richard Kuyama, designer Greg Flewin, structural engineer Scott Christiansen, and contractor Archisys, Inc., were recognized for their renovation of the vernacular 1911 Craftsman bungalow at 828 7th Street. The team carefully preserved and restored the exterior while making seismic and interior improvements and adding additional living space to the second story in the rear so as not to be visible from the street. The property is now designated as a Santa Monica Structure of Merit.

Kuyama Residence, 828 7th Street; photo credit Shooting LA

Kuyama Residence, 828 7th Street; photo credit Shooting LA

Vukadinovich Residence: David and Elaine Vukadinovich and their design/build team, Synthesis, Inc., were recognized for the conscientious renovation and expansion of a distinctive mid-century Santa Monica home, designed in 1950 by architect Frederick Monhoff and located at 420 7th Street. The owners conducted research on the architect and located the original drawings in the Monhoff archives at UCLA.

Vukadinovich Residence, 420 7th Street; photo credit Chang Kyun Kim Photography

Vukadinovich Residence, 420 7th Street; photo credit Chang Kyun Kim Photography

Advocacy Award
In 2013, family members and supporters of the Pasqual Marquez Family Cemetery gathered to celebrate the dedication of “Santuario San Lorenzo,” the newly landscaped garden planted at 627 San Lorenzo Street, between the north side of the Cemetery and the street. The commemoration marked the culmination of years of effort, led by descendent Ernesto Marquez, to protect the Cemetery, the most significant reminder of our Rancho-era history.

Pascal Marquez Family Cemetery and Santuario San Lorenzo; photo credit, Santa Monica Conservancy

Pascal Marquez Family Cemetery and Santuario San Lorenzo; photo credit, Santa Monica Conservancy

In addition to Marquez, the award recognized Patricia Nettleship of La Senora Research Institute, land use attorney Tom Larmore, then-Councilman Bill Rosendahl and his senior counsel Norm Kulla, attorney Colleen McAndrews Wood and family members Sharon Killbride and Ernesto Marquez. Each played a crucial role in the broad community effort which has assured the future of the Cemetery and made its presence accessible to all who pass by.

Outstanding Service Award
Volunteer Phillis Dudick, a member of the Annenberg Community Beach House Docent Council, was recognized for her contributions to the Docent Council and specifically for her role in organizing excursions which enrich the educational and social experiences of the docents with tours to sites such as the Hearst Castle, Asilomar and Sunnylands (the Annenberg estate in Palm Springs).

Posted in Preservation Awards |

March 2015 Newsletter Now Available

Posted on

The latest Conservancy newsletter is now available online, as well as past editions. Our newsletter covers upcoming preservation events, preservation issues, features on the people and places of historic Santa Monica and much more.

In the current edition:

  • Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards
  • Civic Auditorium Visioning Process
  • Spring Tour on Sunday, May 3
  • Progress on the Shotgun House
  • More News, Reports, and Event Listings

Click here to download the current March 2015 issue, and here to view the Preservation Award winners.

The newsletter is published four times per year. Conservancy members receive a copy of each new issue in the mail. Not a member? Join today!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged |

Shotgun House to Open in Spring!

Posted on

For years, it has been the dream of Conservancy leadership and many community members to save and rehabilitate Santa Monica’s Landmark Shotgun House as a Preservation Resource Center for our community. Now, that dream is becoming a reality. Preparations for the opening are nearing completion.

The Shotgun House – one of the few structures remaining from turn-of-the-last-century Ocean Park – was removed from its site just a few blocks south in 2002 and was in storage for over a decade. The Conservancy successfully bid to lease and rehabilitate the house, find a new location, and raise funds so the house could be moved to its new home in March 2014.

Ocean Park, Shotgun House, 2014, roof

The Center will provide residents and visitors with practical, user-friendly information about historic resources in Santa Monica and the methods and benefits of preserving older buildings. An interpretive program is being developed, and docents are being recruited to welcome and inform visitors.

Initial plans are to open the Center on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 2 pm, and by appointment. Watch for announcement of our Grand Opening Celebration and join the celebration!

Posted in Preservation Resource Center, Santa Monica Conservancy | Tagged , |

December 2014 Newsletter Now Available

Posted on

The latest Conservancy newsletter is now available online, as well as past editions. Our newsletter covers upcoming preservation events, preservation issues, features on the people and places of historic Santa Monica and much more.

In the current edition of our newsletter you will find:

  • Annual Holiday Party
  • Call for 2015 Preservation Awards nominations
  • 2015 Annual Meeting
  • Shotgun House Progress Report
  • Five New Mills Act Contracts
  • More News, Reports, and Event Listings

The newsletter is published four times per year. Conservancy members get mailed a copy of each new issue. Not a member? Join today!

Click here to download the current issue.

Posted in Santa Monica Conservancy, Santa Monica Conservancy Newsletter, Shotgun House |

← Older posts Newer posts →