The developer of a proposed Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Hampton Inn has bettered its blue prints and indicated it's willingness to pay workers a so-called living wage, wooing initial support from the City Council.
The council decided earlier this week to negotiate with OTO Development to build the hotels at the northwest and northeast corners of Fifth and Colorado. If ultimately constructed, the hotels will serve as "gateway" for drivers who enter downtown from the 5th Street exit of the 10 freeway and for riders of the who disembark at the future .
"This is a plaza that we have a vision for that is extraordinarily important for the city," said City Councilwoman Gleam Davis.
But in order to build in Santa Monica, OTO Development will have to make a number of concessions, including building to LEED silver certification standards.
Because the proposed hotels' heights tower above the city's 32-foot limit, the developer will have to enter into a development agreement. The City Council indicated Tuesday night that it will ask the hotels to pay employees a rate above minimum wage and to provide health benefits and to pay for their commutes via public transit.
. Still, Unite Here Local 11, the union pushing for the living wages, and a couple City Council members have said the wage at 710 Wilshire Blvd. of $12.54 and $11.29 with health benefits—more than $3 above California's minimum wage—isn't high enough.
Just how much the city will ask OTO Development to pay its future hospitality workers will be hammered out in negotiations.
The look of the hotels has changed quite significantly since the Planning Commission took a look at the plans earlier this winter, said Michael Gallen, Director of Development at OTO Development, LLC.
Commissioners had blasted the looks and went so far as to recommend the council not move forward with negotiations unless the blue prints changed (see graphic renderings to the right of this article).
To the 131-room Marriott, the architect wiped out a rooftop deck and added a sundeck overlooking the Esplanade on the second floor. To the 138-room Hilton, he added 1,600 feet of retail space to the first floor and a sundeck on the second floor overlooking Fifth Street.