Several hundred Westside residents are expected at a beach party and rally to support a proposal for a public beach club at the former estate of Marion Davies, on Santa Monica State Beach at 415 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica.
The Santa Monica City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal at a special meeting at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, May 25th, at City Hall, 1685 Main St., Santa Monica.
The beach party and rally, organized by Friends of 415, will be held on the front lawn of City Hall before the meeting.
A Friends of 415 spokesman said the event is family-friendly and features volleyball, beach balls, children’s games, and other beach-themed activities.
The $75 million proposal to renovate the estate is funded by a $30 million gift from the Annenberg Foundation.
The proposal involves establishing a public beach club similar to nearby private members-only clubs but open to everyone.
Newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst bought the estate for his girlfriend Marion Davies, a silent film star.
In the 1920s, Davies hosted some of Hollywood’s most lavish parties in an era when that stretch of Santa Monica coastline was dubbed the Gold Coast because of its wealthy residents and extravagantly hosted galas.
Today, a gilded feel still remains along Palisades Beach Road. Located there are a row of $5 million homes on the sand and two exclusive, members-only private beach clubs.
After Davies died, the estate was transferred to and owned by the State of California.
For a time, the estate was a private beach club until it was red-tagged because of damage sustained during the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
The City of Santa Monica has had control of the property for the past 12 years.
A chain-link fence blocked the property as city officials discussed plans and sought funding sources to renovate the estate for public uses.
In 2005, the Annenberg Foundation awarded the city a $21 million grant and architects from Frederick Fisher Partners were hired to design a new public beach club.
After receiving community input, the foundation increased its funding.
Proposed construction and renovation include:
— a renovated swimming pool with restored historic tiles;
— a full restoration of the historic North House, open to public tours;
— changing rooms and locker rooms;
— a 72-person event room and meeting rooms for public use;
— a patio terrace;
— a viewing deck and sun deck;
— a children’s play area on the sand;
— a snack bar; and
— volleyball courts and paddle tennis courts.
“This public beach club would be a showcase facility, integrating historic restoration and modern design into a beach aesthetic,” said Joel Brand, chair of Friends of 415.
“Its design and many of its facilities would rival if not surpass those of the neighboring private, members-only clubs and yet this facility would be open to any member of the general public for a modest day-use fee.
“After years of neglect, this is our last chance to save what remains of the Marion Davies Estate and to maximize the public’s benefit of this incredible beachfront property.
Information, (310) 401-6619 or www.friendsof415.org