Santa Monica's supply of movie theaters could increase dramatically if the city approves plans submitted by two developers.
Apparently sensing a pent-up demand for more first-run movie houses in Santa Monica, two developers have filed plans for separate commercial projects that would provide local audiences with 12 more theaters.
Each plan includes a complex of six theaters in a project with mixed commercial uses.
One, proposed by Developers Equities Inc. of Century City, would be located on a blocklong site on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard between 23rd and 24th streets. This four-story, 79,000-square-foot project would include retail shops, restaurants and offices as well as the 1,800-seat movie complex to be operated by Cineplex Odeon-MCA.
The other plan, submitted by Dean Beck & Associates of Century City, is for a 123,000-square-foot mixed-use commercial project to be located at 234 Pico Blvd., near the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The four-story project would include retail stores, a restaurant, offices and six theaters with 1,600 seats.
A spokesman for the Dean Beck project said company officials believe that Santa Monica has a short supply of movie theaters compared to local audience demand. "There is definitely a greater demand than can be met in the cinemas that are available at the moment," he said.
Joseph T. Langlois, a partner in the Developers Equities project, thinks Santa Monica needs more movie theaters, saying there are only a handful in the city. "I grew up in Brentwood, and we always had to go way into Westwood to go to the movies," he said.
With the congestion and cost of parking in the Westwood movie capital, Langlois said many Santa Monicans would prefer to attend movies closer to home.
Free parking will be provided in a five-level underground garage for movie and restaurant patrons and for shoppers who make purchases of at least $3, he said.
City planners said the proposals are under staff review and will be evaluated in terms of their impact on the adjacent neighborhoods. The city will determine the extent of environmental review to be required, and eventually both projects will be subject to public hearings and Planning Commission review. No staff opinion has been rendered on either project, planners said.
In the meantime, Mid-City Neighbors will hold a community meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 to discuss Developers Equities Inc.'s proposal for the Wilshire Boulevard site, said Paul Rosenstein, chairman of the residents' organization.
No Decision Yet
Rosenstein said the developer has "indicated a real willingness to respond to community concerns," such as providing adequate parking. But he said the organization will not decide whether to support the project until community concerns are aired at the Nov. 3 meeting in Douglas Park, at Wilshire Boulevard and Chelsea Avenue.
"We are reserving our decision until we meet to hear community concerns and study the plan more in detail," he said.
Langlois said the development company has made special efforts to address community concerns about traffic and parking and has made changes in the plans in an effort to address neighbors' comments.
The Wilshire site is occupied by a car wash and retail stores. The Pico site is occupied by the city's only bowling alley.