Friday, August 8, 2008


That's how Z-Boy legend Jeff Ho calls today's Dogtown.
He has a point, for the character of the aera is changing rapidly, and not for the best. Yesterday, we attended a community meeting for the proposed redevelopment of 2001 Main Street in Santa Monica -- the site of Jeff Ho's original surf and skate shop Zephyr, which is now Horizons West. A site which also houses the studio of conceptual, celebrity artist John Baldessari.

Yet despite its cultural gravitas, the location failed to inspire redevelopment architect Howard Laks, who came up with an uncreative, plain vanilla, computer-generated design for the mixed-use project. Sure, it only uses half of the allowed FAR, is aiming for a LEED Gold certification, and intends to rehab/maintain the Zephyr structure, but Horizons West will have to stop and possibly cease its operations -- thus jeopardizing Jeff Ho's legacy -- and the proposed redevelopment is yet another self-contained, "autistic" structure that turns its security-gated back on the neighborhood.

The Archstone projects across and down Main Street have already destroyed much of the local character -- meaning much of what makes Santa Monica so special to residents, businesses and tourists alike. Sadly, it is becoming an overwhelming trend.

Above: Main Street views of the proposed project; Jeff Ho, not impressed by what he saw/heard at the meeting; Bay Street views.
[update 08/14/08: summary of community meeting in Santa Monica Mirror]
photos LA Frog