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The Dirt on the Fast-Food Ban

Posted by admin on January 13, 2021
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A ban on fast food restaurants in the Third Street Promenade has been retroactively reestablished but Santa Monica’s Planning Commission has asked City Council to revisit the ordinance later this year.

In November 2018, in order to ensure that the Promenade maintained its authentic characteristics, City Council adopted an urgency Interim Zoning Ordinance (IZO) to prevent the proliferation of fast food restaurants on the Promenade. At the time, the ordinance was designed to avoid a cluster of big-money fast-food business on the Promenade (in part because of the high rents there, which are easier for national chains to pay), thus maintaining some of the pedestrian plaza’s local charm. “Keeping things like Taco Bell Cantina or other fast-food endeavors which you can find in literally hundreds, if not thousands, of other locations will help us keep that uniquely Santa Monica feel,” remarked Gleam Davis of the Santa Monica City Council. Last week, the council even extended the ordinance.

Sounds good, right? Well, maybe not.

With a state-mandated, regionally-specific ban on all on-site dining still in effect across Los Angeles County, Santa Monica’s ordinance poses a problem. The specific language within the city ordinance expressly prohibits any establishment on Third Street Promenade where “orders [are] placed at a walk-up window, counter, or machine,” “payment prior to food consumption,” and “food served with disposable, one-time, or limited-use wrapping, containers, or utensils.” Which, during the ongoing pandemic, is every restaurant.

Promenade restaurants like Barney’s Beanery, Silverlake Ramen, and Azule Taqueria now function as fast-food joints. One of the more recent tenants, Social Eats food hall, falls entirely under the ordinance’s restrictions concerning fast-food, and with the ordinance now extended, the language won’t be put back in front of Santa Monica’s Planning Commission for some time. LA County public health officials said this week that one person is dying every eight minutes from COVID-19 at overworked area hospitals and that intensive care unit bed capacity is still at roughly zero percent, meaning there’s no sign that a broader restaurant reopening any time soon.

The Promenade, meanwhile, is in its own broader sticky situation as the aging thoroughfare tries to find ways to stay relevant with shoppers and tourists. In 2019, the city proposed an overhaul to provide more outdoor seating, landscaping, and an overall refresh to compete with places like Westfield Century City. That plan is already moving forward with MIG, Inc., as the company prepares a Third Street Promenade Stabilization & Economic Vitality Plan to shore the street up for years to come. Given the ordinance in place that plan is not likely to include more fast-food chains, but with rents still sky-high in the area, it’s far from certain that local businesses will be able to occupy any empty storefronts in the coming months or even years.

Throughout 2020, Third Street Promenade has been a shell of itself, with considerably less visitors thanks to the pandemic — and national infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci estimating that the country may not return back to ‘normal’ until late 2021 at the earliest.

For more information, check out these two articles on the subject:
Santa Monica Daily Press


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DID YOU KNOW? Effective rents declined 1.2% in apartment buildings in the third quarter as vacancy rates rose and property managers often provided concessions to attract tenants.  In contrast, the CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index rose 2.1%.


In more Real Estate News….

This week two new listings came on the market, and one re-list.

535 E Channel Road– Listed for $6,895,000. It is cool, nicely updated mid-century, single level home on nearly half an acre with pool! Last sold in 2014 for $3M.

491 Mesa Road– Listed for $1,680,000. First time on the market. This “tiny home” of 523 square feet is really cool, unique architecture. Click on address to check out the photos – “1936 Baby Grand Piano Studio is an early Modernist example of one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century: Richard Neutra. Custom-built for notable local writer David Malcolmson and now restored to its original condition, this prized gem has been published widely in architectural books and magazines as The Mother-In-Law & The David Malcolmson Guest House.”

615 25th Street– Re-listed for $8,395,000. This new construction came on the market originally for $8,995,000. You may remember this home – 2 complete kitchens in it. One of them being in the basement.


Four properties went under contract this week-

615 23rd Street– Listed for $3,500,000. Was on the market for just one week!

470 19th Street– Listed for $5,249,000.

253 19th Street– Listed for $3,650,000.

425 4th Street– Listed for $6,395,000


Two properties sold-

201 17th Street– Sold for $3,400,000. Originally listed in October for $4,000,000.

507 12th Street– Sold for $5,142,643. Originally listed in November for $5,295,000.

There are a few other properties that we will be listing soon so call me and let me know what you are looking for. I might just have it for you!

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