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Something Close to Home: One Santa Fe Adds Facilities for the Arts

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Saturday, September 29, 2007, at 08:15AM
View From Aloft Ed Fuentes

Chuck Cowley, Senior Vice-President of the MacGregor Company, confirmed late Friday afternoon that 5,000 sq ft of ground floor space was committed to be offered to the Arts District as part of the final design of the One Santa Fe project.

"We are thrilled to partner with neighborhood leaders to create a viable community art center," said Cowley by phone, who is now the final stages of paperwork with the Los Angeles Downtown Arts District (LADAD). The agreement will create a community art center housing 1,500 ft of gallery space, and a 99-seat non-equity theater. He adds, "It's important for us to have a great project."

One Santa Fe will also change the ground floor parking from 1st St to 3rd St to include small working studios, and portions of the 70 foot facade will be a vertical garden 15 inches thick that will be watered from behind to add street life and offset noise.

Cowley also noted that while SCI-Arc students would fill just over 10% of the occupancy for the complex, the alteration supports the project's original purpose. A recent press release stated that One Santa Fe was "designed to complement the character of the neighborhood" as well as integrate with the campus of SCI-Arc.

Cowley admits at the beginning stages of surveying the neighborhood, blogs were researched (including blogdowntown and viewfromaloft) and that the developer has been monitoring comments from the opposition. He considers the strategy as viable as meeting with various groups and individuals referred to by 9th District Council Member Jan Perry.

Meanwhile, outside the loft across the street from the northern part of where One Santa Fe is planned, Drew Lesso, who was the first LARABA president as well as founder, reported he had to step down as the opposition leader due to "conflict of interests" unrelated to the offer. He did say a community art center was something that has been talked about in the Arts District since the 1980's.

The opposition will continue to fight for its concerns of noise and lost parking, and held another meeting last week.

However, Tim Keating, the previous LARABA president who has been an long time advocate for a community arts center and early supporter for One Santa Fe stated Friday afternoon, "As a developer, they (MacGregor Company) have been more responsive to the neighborhood . . .more than anyone."

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