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Public Meeting Set on Martin Cadillac Mixed-Use Expansion

Residents say the proposed development on Bundy and Olympic, near the Expo Light Rail corridor, is too big and will worsen Westside gridlock.

A public meeting ahead of an environmental review of a major redo and expansion of Martin Automotive Group's showrooms at Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive is April 3.

At the meeting, residents can weigh in on the possible impacts of the car dealership's plans to rebuild its Cadillac-Saab-Pontiac-GM showrooms in West Los Angeles, and erect alongside them 516 residential units, 67,000 feet of shops, and an underground parking garage. Owner Dan Martin said the new showrooms will house a new line of all-electric and other environmentally friendly vehicles, including hybrid and zero-emission vehicles.

Dubbed the Martin Expo Town Center, it would add 807,200 square feet of new development on 4.7 acres, with a floor area ratio, a measure of how dense the building is, of 3.9. It will require zoning changes and a state-mandated Environmental Impact Report.

Santa Monica and Brentwood residents are concerned the project is too big and will choke traffic.

"Office space is particularly bad because it adds to the traffic that is already commuting into the area in the morning and out at night," South Brentwood Residents Association member Lauren Cole told Patch Monday. "At least residential space causes commutes in the opposite direction, although at that intersection I'm not sure that matters."

The Martin Expo Town Center plans call for 200,000 square feet of creative office space.

At least seven other developments—including two major mixed-use projects, Bergamot Transit Center at the former PaperMate site and the East Village at the Village Trailer Park—are planned less than one mile west in Santa Monica

SEE ALSO: Santa Monica City Council Moves Bergamot Area Plan Forward

Combined, but not including the Martin Expo Town Center, the projects are forecast to generate about 24,000 new car trips daily in the area, according to estimations by nearby neighborhood councils.

SEE ALSO: Transit Village Fight Crosses City Borders

Another controversial mixed-used development with 638 apartments and a big box retailer is proposed one block east of the 405 Freeway at Pico and Sepulveda boulevards.

The Martin Expo Town Center would connect to a future Expo Light Rail station across the street. Work is underway now to extend the rail line from its current terminus in Culver City to Colorado Avenue and Fourth Street in downtown Santa Monica.

"We understand now with [the] Expo coming in that we have to support other forms of transportation," said Dan Martin, owner of Martin Automotive Group.

Martin said he and his team have done as much early community outreach as they can about the project. They have circulated surveys, and encouraged residents to attend the scoping meeting to address which factors they believe should be studied in Environmental Impact Report.

The scoping meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 3 at The Olympic Collection, 11301 West Olympic Blvd. All written comments for the project are due to city planning by April 19.

For more information about the project, visit the Martin Automotive Group's blog.

Greg Fry March 28, 2013 at 05:27 PM
How in the world could our gridlocked neighborhood streets accommodate even an extra hundred cars, much less 24,000? 24,000 cars end to end would stretch more than 40 miles, or about the distance between Pico and Bundy and the Ontario airport! Who in their right minds would approve such a project unless they were blind, insane, or bought off??
Babs Nav March 28, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Don't forget the 100 units that are almost up on 28th/Pico, the 200 units at Centinela and Pico that are going up now, the proposal for hundreds of units at 34th/Pico and the number of units that will go up at the trailer park on Stewart near Olympic. Lots of traffic in close proximity in the WLA/Santa Monica areas.
Frank Fields March 28, 2013 at 06:30 PM
The other thing that gets me about these huge developments is the developers' assumption that there are endless numbers of people who a) want to live in one-bedroom apartments that cost as much as 2BRs in other parts of the city and b) want to live in apartments that face onto loud, traffic-y boulevards.
Frank Fields March 28, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Meanwhile, nearly 4 million more people have left CA over the last 2 decades than have moved here from other states. According to urban planner Joel Kotkin, most of those leaving are between the ages of 5 and 14 or 34 to 45. In other words, young families. Who wants to raise kids in a 1BR apartment in a giant anthill on Olympic and Bundy?
Dan Charney March 28, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Let them get rid of the area that sells gigantic Escalades and other gas guzzliers- and put the smaller cars in there- turn the rest into public space- we don't need more 'car dealer expansions' - especially if we are supposed to have "no new net car trips"- let's only allow the smaller and more efficient cars to be sold here and no expansion of the fossil fuel end of it- the last thing we need is to support another huge car dealer so they can buy more houses on remote streets off Broad Beach Road on Sea Level Drive- they are all there- far from the gridlock -
SantaMonicaNative March 28, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Mr.Martin owns the land,after all his family has been selling cars and paying taxes for more than 60 years, but this expansion seems rather over-ambitious. While i cannot believe that a lot that size can accomodate that much development, am sure some clever architect can do it. But should they? I spent last weekend stuck in the gridlock that has become downtown. I don't think we need to be hemmed in to the east by overdevelopmen on the border. What Mr. Martin sells is irrelevant, this is about overbuilding. The area is commercial but the surrounding area is residential. The idea of more cars stuck in traffic, idling and spewing pollutants is not a happy one. The additional car trips require better traffic regulation, better timed signals and probably elimination of on street parking on Bundy. I don't think residents have been considered. Just what kind of city do we really want? I think about the quiet city I grew up in and the mess it has become. Not everyone can live in Santa Monica, not every square inch should be developed, towers don't belong here blotting out the sea, and wall to wall buildings are destroying the city I love. Appropriate development needs to be taken seriously. Once it's built it's here.
Jim Gerstley March 29, 2013 at 12:23 AM
The traffic on Olympic between Bundy and the I-405 is already so bad in the evening I can walk the distance faster than I can drive it. Adding another 500+ residential units will result in an impossible traffic situation. Just because it is built next to a light rail station doesn't mean everyone will ride the light rail. Most residents will travel outside the city to find work, so peak traffic has to get worse. It seems to be a natural human trait, starting with childhood, for everyone including developers to continue to push the envelope to see what they can get away with. It is the city council's job, acting in the equivalent position as parent, to control the developments to acceptable and workable levels. Some members of the council do that, but a majority are unfortunately abdicating that responsibility. And it cannot be desirable or healthy to live near congested streets, breathing auto emissions.
tom berg March 29, 2013 at 04:07 AM
The expo line needs this type of development to be a success. Also, the dealership needs an upgrade. A good addition to the neighborhood.
Jared H. March 29, 2013 at 05:59 PM
This is exactly the type of mixed-use project that the Expo Line was meant to encourage. As someone who works in the area, the potentials are exciting. If as a community we are hoping for the Expo Line to be a success we need to support this project and others like it.
Martin Expo Town Center March 29, 2013 at 06:24 PM
The City of Los Angeles is hosting a Public Scoping Meeting April 3 between 6-8pm at the Olympic Collection. If you would like some more information about the project visit us at www.martinexpotowncenter.com
Dan Charney March 29, 2013 at 08:03 PM
The council and the SMRR are developer money installed- the only way to stop it - al of it is to RECALL them
Jeff Donaldson March 29, 2013 at 09:22 PM
This is the type of mix use development that the city is sorely lacking. If the project goes forward it will be a nice addition to that corner of the world.
Tom Eaton March 29, 2013 at 09:24 PM
As a long time Santa Monica resident, I think the Martin Expo center is a fantastic idea, and who better to do it than the Martin family. What a great way to make Santa Monica a better place to live.
Simon March 29, 2013 at 11:40 PM
I like this development, as well. If the traffic gets bad enough, maybe people will finally get on a bike or ride Expo. Los Angeles isn't getting smaller, people. Nothing we can do about it but adapt.
True Freedom March 30, 2013 at 05:20 AM
I think it's funny that an auto dealer is expanding near the train. Happy 24,000 more car trips!
mimi March 30, 2013 at 04:18 PM
ADAPT is the operative word. Some residents realize this, some don't. Either way, residents who fail to adapt will become extinct, like the dinosaur.
Dan Charney March 30, 2013 at 10:20 PM
All these pro- expansion and denial of "no new net car trips" sound like they are being written by the same person- they do it on all the threads- pepper them with one liners about how "inevitable" and 'good for the area" it is - what transparent garbage- part of what is bad about the net is this stuff -
mimi April 01, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Here we go again. Some members of this community refuse to believe that more than one person could disagree with them, as well as have the audacity to post opposing comments. The notion that one person pretends to be several people in order to express convincing opposing comments is called "magical thinking" and is a primitive form of fantasy. It's cute and age appropriate when children engage in this behavior. When adults do it, they are in denial and feel desperate & angry. In the spirit of cooperation, let's not do this anymore to anyone on this board. We are capable of disagreeing with one another in a spirited manner without magical thinking. Thanks.
Dan Charney April 02, 2013 at 12:04 AM
one word -troll blah blah
Jim Gerstley April 02, 2013 at 06:27 AM
The ideal traffic situation is when people live and work in the same building and all the basic necessities of life are within a block or two. Factory towns could be set up that way. But is getting an apartment or condo in Santa Monica going to be dependent on whether or not you need a car to go to work? It's hard to believe that adding 500+ apartments is not going to add any peak hour traffic, though being near a light rail station will help. I used to work in the west San Fernando Valley; public transportation was not an option as it would have taken 4 different buses and 2-3 hours each way. I'm happy for those that can walk or bike to work or live and work along convenient transit corridors. But it is not an option for everyone in the sprawling metropolis of LA County and beyond. Now I mostly use public transportation or walk, but there are still times that I need my car.

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