Four major new redevelopment projects in Marina del Rey came before the County Marina del Rey Design Control Board last week:

– A project called the Waterfront would demolish the Harbor House Restaurant and Edie’s Diner on Admiralty Way, east of Palawan Way, and replace the buildings with 292 apartment units in an eight-story mid-rise building and a four-story low-rise building.

As part of the project, an additional 125 apartments would be developed in three four-story buildings built on an adjoining county parking lot on Palawan Way.

The project is considered to be mixed-use, with retail stores on the ground floor of some of the buildings and a public viewing deck on the roof of the medium-height building.

EMC Financial Corporation is the developer proposing the project, although EMC has not yet sought or received assignment of the Harbor House-Edie’s Diner parcel from the existing lessee or an assignment of the county-held parking lot parcel.

But the design board gave conceptual approval to the Waterfront project, with normal requirements to be met.

The design board also wants a maximizing of landscaping on the site and a softening of the quality of the building.

Plans call for a combination of the Harbor House-Edie’s Diner parcels and the county-held parking lot parcel.

There would be an extension of the promenade along the water frontage.

Apartments would range from 575-square-foot studios to 1,250-square-foot three-bedroom units.

The applicant proposes at least three restaurants, plus more casual dining. A coffee and juice bar would be accessible along the improved promenade.

The applicant has indicated that it appreciates the historical importance of Edie’s Diner to Marina del Rey residents, and expressed a commitment to having a new and improved home for the diner.

– Legacy Residential Partners, Inc. was seeking conceptual approval at Via Marina and Marquesas Way for demolition and new construction of 562 Neptune Marina apartments and 161 boat slips plus seven end-ties in its anchorage.

– Woodfin Suite Hotel and Vacation Ownership was seeking conceptual approval at the corner of Via Marina and Tahiti Way for a 20-story building, including 178-suite Woodfin Suite Hotel on the first 11 floors, and 108 luxury time-share units on the 12th through 20th floors, a parking structure and a two-acre public park.

In August 1999, a long-empty county-held parcel on Via Marina and Tahiti Way, where a hotel has been planned for nearly two decades, was consolidated for development purposes with a corner parking lot and a Tahiti Way apartment parcel, to be considered for development of a single project.

The consolidated parcel includes sites where Legacy plans its new apartments on the Neptune Marina parcel and the Woodfin hotel, and time-shares are now planned.

Now, as then, the proposal includes the demolition of an adjacent county parking lot and demolition of the 136 units of Neptune Marina Apartments and the reconstruction of 531 apartments. The number of proposed apartments has since been reduced to 526.

The park would be relocated to the Via Marina parcel long-considered for a hotel. Developers and county officials say the Via Marina location is better suited for a park than the earlier site on Tahiti Way.

Woodfin would participate in providing the park, since the park would be sited on its hotel and time-share parcel.

Woodfin and Legacy would split the cost of park construction, but Woodfin has agreed to provide for park maintenance, the design board members were told.

In exchange for providing the park, Legacy will seek a local coastal plan amendment to allow conversion of the existing parking lot to residential use.

The adjacent Woodfin redevelopment would be consistent with the local coastal plan, since a park on a hotel-designated parcel is an allowable use.

The Marina Design Control Board gave conceptual approval for the Neptune Marina and present parking lot parcels with conditions that the developer:

– will return with detailed landscaping, signage and lighting plans;

– will return with detailed architectural materials and colors;

– will present specific details for building podium levels, street, garage, public amenities and seating; and

– will provide a sun, wind and shade study for park user impacts;

The county staff was directed to:

– contact the County Department of Regional Planning to examine the park square footage replacement; and

– discuss shuttle bus offered by applicant with Regional Planning for feasibility.

During consideration of the Via Marina hotel parcel design board chair Susan Cloke said that the two projects — the Via Marina hotel parcel and the apartment and parking lot parcel — can’t have one park as two different view corridors and that the open space taken from the present park would have to be replaced.

Woodfin representative Aaron Clark said Woodfin’s contention is that there are so many benefits to their package that they plan to appeal for an amendment to the local coastal plan.

Kerry Silverstrom, County Department of Beaches and Harbors chief deputy, said the county is working “hand in hand” with this project and that Cloke could put her objections in writing to the County Department of Regional Planning, and still give the project conceptual approval.

Cloke replied that she is bothered that the county is so involved in the project.

“We need someone to review this process that doesn’t work for the county and that is what the design control board does,” said Cloke.

Cloke said that if the two acres of the parking lot parcel and a 40 percent view corridor were an aggregation, it would be acceptable, but the non-aggregation is the problem.

Cloke asked Woodfin applicants to reconsider an alternative and return to the Design Control Board later during the same meeting after the board finished considering its next agenda item.

After much discussion, Cloke asked Woodfin representatives to return at the next Design Control Board meeting with new information, including:

– a shadow study for the park;

– an analysis of the total number of square feet of open space required in the project; and

– a rethinking of the use of waterfront land for a parking structure and the footprint of the structure itself.

Cloke said the parking structure should be clad in the same material as the hotel to avoid an obvious parking structure look.

The color of the hotel doesn’t convey the Marina atmosphere, and looks too business-like, Cloke said.

At its meeting Thursday, August 19th, the Design Control Board also approved:

– a final site plan for redevelopment of the Marina Waterside shopping center between Lincoln Boulevard and Admiralty Way and between Fiji and Mindanao Ways.

The design board heard comments from the County Department of Public Works and received final architectural plans, final landscape plans, final lighting design and signage for an expanded Ralphs market signage.

Ralphs is said to be planning a Ralphs Food Faire on the site.

The design board put a condition on the board approval that parking lot lighting poles be screened by trees, but that the lighting not be screened.

– approved at Archstone Marina del Rey on Via Marina one monument sign; one leasing office sign with conditions that new drawings be submitted to staff, with a plan indicating the times of the lighting; and approved partial painting of buildings per the approved color palette for design control board approval;

– gave approval to Marina del Rey Sportfishing at Fisherman’s Village for a bait sign and frame, with conditions to be issued by the harbor engineer;

– approved for the record April and July approval by the Design Control Board of a conditioned conceptual approval for a project at Shanghai Red’s restaurant on Fiji Way;

– approved a request by Chart House at Dolphin Marina to paint the building and replace two signs and add an additional sign on Panay Way.

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