The Santa Monica City Council awarded a $3 million design-build contract to Pankow Special Projects to rehabilitate the historic five-acre Marion Davies estate on Santa Monica State Beach at 415 Pacific Coast Highway.

Councilmembers approved the project Tuesday, June 28th.

Funds come from a $21 million Annenberg Foundation grant.

“The firm has completed a number of projects of greater magnitude and complexity,” city officials said in a staff report.

“Its work includes projects involving historical elements, making the firm keenly familiar with the issues associated with preservation and restoration,” stated the report.

The architectural firm Frederick Fisher and Partners is also on Pankow’s team.

Newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst bought the property for Davies, an actress who was his mistress. The estate was also part of Santa Monica’s famous Gold Coast neighborhood in the 1920s and 1930s.

Davies and her Gold Coast neighbors hosted lavish parties attended by the period’s most popular celebrities.

In the 1960s, ownership rights to the estate were tranferred to the state and state officials designated the propety as a historic landmark.

In 1994, the Northridge Earthquake heavily damaged the property when the city had plans to use the property as a public beach club.

The city did not have the funds to completely restore the property until the Annenberg Foundation awarded grant funding to the city last year.

A committee comprised of city staff from Environmental and Public Works Management as well as Community Cultural Services chose Pankow for the project.

The Annenberg Foundation also reviewed the bids.

Four bids were received and Pankow was chosen after the field was narrowed to two design-build teams.

Pankow will provide the city with preconstruction services and design development, with construction scheduled to begin late next year.

A draft environmental impact report will be released this summer for public review and comment.

The City Council, Planning Commission, Recreation and Parks Commission, Landmarks Commission, Arts Commission and the Annenberg Foundation must approve the final project.

Since Santa Monica State Beach is state property, the State Recreation and Parks Department and Coastal Commission will also have to approve the final project.