Architect Frank Gehry, the Santa Monica resident who designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Guggenheim in Bilbao, revealed Thursday drawings for a new 22-story building at Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard in downtown Santa Monica.
Built in Gehry's characteristic undulating, asymmetrical style, the building, as proposed, would be 244-feet tall and include 125 hotel rooms and 22 condominium units. It's reminiscent of 8 Spruce Street, a steel grey Manhattan skyscraper just south of the Brooklyn Bridge that Gehry designed to much acclaim a few years ago.
The reveal comes one week after the Fairmont Miramar Hotel unveiled new one block north at Ocean and Wilshire Boulevard. If built, the Miramar hotel and condo tower would be the second tallest in Santa Monica after the high-rise at 100 Wilshire Blvd.
At a presentation Thursday for local press (Patch was not invited), Jeffrey Worthe, president of Worthe Real Estate Group, which submitted the plans for Gehry's project to City Hall, said he was confident the community will like the design, according to the Santa Monica LookOut.
The plans also call for converting a Victorian house into a 36,000-square-foot museum just north of the tower, which will include a public rooftop observation deck and ground-floor shops and restaurants. BOA Steak House exists there now.
"We've owned the majority of the this property for decades have been searching for the right project for this very special site and for Santa Monica," David Paul, president of M. David Paul Associates, said in a statement. "We are excited about the potential to create a new cultural anchor for residents and visitors."
It’s the first project Gehry has designed in his hometown in 25 years. In 1977, Gehry bought a pink bungalow on 22nd Street and Washington Avenue, and, reportedly to some of his neighbors' displeasure, wrapped it in chain link fencing, metal, glass and plywood.
In a statement, Gehry said the site on Ocean Avenue has "always stood out" to him "as the face of the city."
The addition of shops, restaurants and a museum "has the potential to reinvigorate Ocean Avenue, and could be a catalyst for more public amenities along Ocean Avenue," he continued.