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CONSERVANCY SEEKS DOCENT VOLUNTEERS FOR TOURS OF "BEACH HOUSE"|
The City of Santa Monica has selected the Santa Monica Conservancy to develop and operate a docent-guided tour program for the Annenberg Community Beach House.
Once the site of a grand 110-room mansion designed by Julia Morgan for William Randolph Hearst and his companion, actress Marion Davies, the property was a “hot spot” on Santa Monica’s Gold Coast, where Hollywood celebrities came to enjoy the sun, the sea and fabulous parties at the Davies estate. Davies, a movie star, was a pre-eminent Hollywood hostess; she and Hearst reigned as virtual royalty, hosting film luminaries and heads of state.
The original mansion was torn down in 1956, but a guest house and the splendidly tiled swimming pool remain. Those historic assets have been restored and enhanced with new facilities for public recreation. The re-opening of 415 PCH is a highly anticipated event, and is expected to generate considerable interest from both residents and visitors.
If you are interested in volunteering as a docent or learning more, please visit the Conservancy's website where you will also find a docent application to download.
The deadline for filing your application is February 23, but early submissions are encouraged.
GRAND OPENING OF "BEACH HOUSE" TO BE IN LATE APRIL 2009
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Construction on the Annenberg Community Beach House is nearing completion. Opening ceremonies are tentatively scheduled for the end of April with the public beach club fully operational in time for this summer. Hiring has begun for a range of jobs at the facility.
Click the image to find more images of the almost completed facility.
CITY TO HOLD OCT. 25 WORKSHOP FOR INPUT ON "BEACH HOUSE" OPERATIONS
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What community programs will be offered? How will reservations work? What kinds of events can be held there? What are the budgetary trade-offs? Are there limits to who can use the facility and how often?
As workers begin the final months of construction of the Annenberg Community Beach Club, city staff are reaching out to the community for input into the facility's programs, rules and operations. The community workshop will be held at 10 AM on Saturday, October 25th at the Ken Edwards Center at 1527 4th Street. Check the city's Beach House website for more information. Comments and suggestions for city staff can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"BEACH HOUSE" NEARS COMPLETION AS APRIL OPENING APPROACHES
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CONSTRUCTION GOING WELL, OPENING LOOKS LIKE EARLY SPRING 2009
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Work is going strong at the site since April. Foundation work began in September and as you can see in this mid-October 2007 photo, the outlines of the facility are starting to take shape. For more construction pictures, click here.
CLUB GETS NAME, CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT AND DEMO IS SET FOR FEBRUARY
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There has been lots of good news about the public beach club in the recent weeks. In late January, the Santa Monica City Council green lighted the construction contract for the former Marion Davies Estate and christened the facility the Annenberg Community Beach Club at 415 PCH.
CONSTRUCTION / OPENING
Demolition and abatement is scheduled to start in February with construction set to commence in June. The current schedule has the public splashing in the pool and sipping non-alcoholic beverages on the lounge deck in early 2009. Click here for the latest site plan.
PADDLE TENNIS COURTS: IN OR OUT?
The design team is working with the City and the Annenberg Foundation on possible alternative plans for the project's two proposed paddle tennis courts. When the California Coastal Commission approved the project a few months ago, the body required that the paddle tennis courts be moved east (away from the water) of the development line of the property.
RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT
On the traffic light front, the City and Caltrans continue to have "productive and positive" conversations towards the ultimate approval of a traffic signal. We're all optimistic that a solution will be reached well before the 2009 opening.
LA TIMES COLUMN ONE: "REVIVING A FADED MOVIE STAR AND HER POOL"
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Be sure to see the wonderful story on Marion Davies, her estate and the public beach club on the front page of the LA Times of Sept. 29, 2006. Reporter Martha Groves digs deep and has collected a wonderful selection of historic photographs and reported an interesting accompanying video story. Click here for the LA Times coverage.
NEIGHBORS TO DROP 415 PCH LAWSUIT AS PART OF DEAL WITH CITY
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The public beach club proposed for Santa Monica's coast took a giant step forward in mid-September when city officials announced a settlement has been reached which will end a lawsuit filed by neighbors fighting to block the renovation and reuse of the historic former Marion Davies Estate.
Friends of 415 PCH hails the news and congratulates all of those involved and the dozens of volunteers who have drawn attention to this one-of-a-kind project.
City officials say that design and preparations for construction remain on schedule and site work could begin as early as a year from now on what will become the only public beach club in the nation.
To read more about the settlement click here.
LA TIMES RUNS OP-ED ON "BEACHFRONT NIMBYS"
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The Los Angeles Times has a wonderful opinion piece on the fight over Santa Monica's public beach club. The title, which the Times editors wrote, says most of it: "Beachfront NIMBYs -- A wealthy group of Santa Monica homeowners wants to stop a historic private beach club on public land from going, well, public."
FOUR NEIGHBORS FILE LAWSUIT TO STOP PUBLIC BEACH CLUB
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Four wealthy beachfront neighbors filed a lawsuit on June 23rd to block
construction of the nation's first public beach club, proposed for a stretch of
Santa Monica sand home to multi-million dollar estates and two private beach
clubs. Click here for analysis and context of the lawsuit.
To read the Sacramento Bee's top-notch story on the beach club and the fight over public beach access click here.
Warren Olney discussed the public beach club with LA Times reporter Martha Groves on the August 7th, 2006 edition of KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?" Click here to listen using your Real Player.
To read the Los Angeles Times coverage click here. To read the lawsuit click here.
UPDATE 7/3/06: Prompted by the lawsuit, more than two hundred supporters "partied" on the sand in front of 415 PCH, July 3rd. The party featured a giant sand castle, volleyball, bubbles, pizza, hot dogs, popsicles and many bikers drawn off the bike path by the festivities.
The rally was preceded by a bike parade down the Santa Monica bike path. Beachfront neighbors also fought to stop that very bike path from being built in the 1980s, citing many of the same concerns raised against the public beach club.
Press coverage included the Santa Monica and neigbhoring weekly papers, KABC-7, KNBC-4, FOX11, KCRW, KPFK and the Sacramento Bee!
UPDATE 8/6/2006: One of the key components of the neighbors' suit has to do with an error that resulted in the listing of the property's Locker Building on the state's Historic Register. The building, slated for demolition, was built after Hearst sold the property. On August 4th, 2006, the State Historic Resources Commission unanimously approved the city's request to delist the Locker Building from the California Historic Register.
PUBLIC BEACH CLUB APPROVED BY CITY COUNCIL! The Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved the nation's only public beach club at the historic Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst estate, May 25th, despite threats of legal action from five beachfront homeowners.
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More than 125 people spent part of the evening on the lawn of City Hall for a beach party-themed rally to support the club. The rally featured volleyball, beach paraphernalia and a surfboard displaying the names of the more than 1,000 people who have so far signed our online petition.
Inside the council chambers, more than 80 residents signed up to speak in favor of the one-of-a-kind facility.
THE GIFT: The Annenberg Foundation has given Santa Monica almost $30 million to build the crown jewel of PUBLIC recreational facilities on a $45 million beachfront property contributed to the project by the state. The property is the historic former Hearst Santa Monica beach house, popularly known as the Marion Davies Estate and later the Sand and Sea Beach Club, at 415 PCH.
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THE OPPOSITION: Unfortunately, four beachfront neighbors have spent an estimated $150,000 on lawyers, laying the ground-work for a lawsuit to block the entire project in court -- and the site that has been set aside for public use for almost 20 years could end up as a parking lot or even condos. For a view of the former Hearst / Davies Estate itself, click here.
DESIGN: The proposal is a crown jewel of public beach facilities. Amenities include: complete restoration of the North House, the restored historic swimming pool, a beach playground, a children's water-play area, volleyball courts, paddle tennis courts, an events room, community meeting rooms, a snack bar, locker rooms, a lounge deck, on-site and shuttle parking, and the list goes on and on. To learn more about the design click here.
HONORARY COMMITTEE: Friends of 415 PCH is pleased to announce the formation of the Honorary Committee. Co-Chaired by State Senator Sheila Kuehl and Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, this Honorary Committee demonstrates, yet again, the extraordinary support for the public beach club proposed for the former Marion Davies Estate. See the list on the side of this page for a full listing of both the Honorary and Coordinating Committee members. Click here for a letter sent by members of the Honorary Committee.
PRESS: "Homeowners Sue to Block Public Beach Club," "Council Denies Appeals to Block Beach Club," "Unanimous Vote Puts Beach Club Renovation Into Motion," "Rallying Around Beach Club is Rallying Around Community." "Life Should Be a Beach for SM Residents," "Beach Club Supporters Win Over City Planners," "Planning Board Unanimously Approves 415 PCH, Huge Show of Support," "Prop S Sponsor Weighs in On Beach Controversy," "More Than 300 Residents Sign Beach Club Petition in First 36 Hours," "The Beach Belongs to the People," Op-ed: "Public Beach Club at Historic Site Threatened," "Editorial Cartoon by Joe King, SM Daily Press,"
Santa Monica News
"Beach Bummer: Suit Threatens 415," "Fear of Homeless Fuels Opposition to Beach Club," "City, Neighbors in Legal Tug of War Over Beach Club," "Work-In-Progress: 415 PCH"
HAVE AN OPINION: Shoot off an email to the press... SM Lookout - SM Daily Press - SM Mirror - The Argonaut - LA Times.
CONTACT US: Drop us an email .
GET ON THE LIST: Become a friend of the public beach facility planned for the historic site at 415 PCH!
Sign up for our email list about upcoming meetings, new developments and how to
help ensure that this one-of-a-kind public project becomes a reality!
| || HONORARY COMMITTEE *
Co-Chair, Shiela Kuehl
- State Senator
Co-Chair, Fran Pavley
- Former State Assemblywoman
Vice-Chair, Susan Cloke
- Chair, SM Rec. and Parks Comm.
- Board, Coalition for Clean Air
- Former Pres., LA Conservancy
- Pres., SM Conservancy
- Board, Friends of Sunset Park
- Deasy, Penner and Partners
- Neighbor of 415 PCH and
- Chairman Emeritus, American Medical Intl.
- Former Mayor, Santa Monica
- Exec Director, Heal the Bay
- Board, SM for Renters Rights
- Harding, Larmore, Mullen
Ana G. Jara
- Board, Pico Neighborhood Association
- Board, Comm. for Excellent Public Schools
- Board, SM Chamber of Commerce
Eric Charles Parlee
- Board, Santa Monica College
- Exec. Dir., Bayside District
- Senior Attorney, NRDC
- Board, North of Montana Assoc.
- Board, Santa Monica Pier
- Pres., Ocean Park Assoc.
- Dir., USC Center for Sustainable Studies
*Organizations are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement.
Chair, Joel Brand