A plan to renovate the faded Santa Monica Pier has received a go-ahead from the City Council despite a last-minute protest by some merchants who claim it will lead to parking problems and gentrification of the 80-year-old facility.
The $26.8-million plan, six years in the making, calls for commercial development of 150,000 square feet of the pier with restaurants, arcade games, rides and shops. The plan was approved by a 6-0 vote of the council Tuesday with one member absent.
Several of the 13 merchants who work at the pier distributed fliers in Santa Monica and took out newspaper ads last week charging that the plan would drive up rents, force out current merchants and force out lower-income patrons of the pier.
The restoration is being overseen by the nonprofit Pier Restoration Corp., an agency set up by the city. The pier, which operates at an annual deficit of $500,000 to $1 million, will begin to turn a profit of at least $300,000 by 1992-93, corporation members say.