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Car Dealership Plans Mixed-Use Project Just East of Santa Monica

At Olympic and Bundy in West L.A., the Martin Automotive Group begins planning a new "town center" to connect to the future Expo Light Rail.

Add the "Martin Expo Town Center" to the growing list of mixed-use developments proposed along Olympic Boulevard, the future corridor of the Expo Light Rail as it runs from Culver City to just near the beach in Santa Monica.

The Martin Automotive Group wants to rebuild its Cadillac-Saab-Pontiac-GM showrooms at Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive in West Los Angeles, and erect alongside them, residential units, shops, restaurants and "innovative work environments." The "town center" will connect to a future Expo station across the street for the Expo train, a public transit line that will eventually take riders from downtown Los Angeles to downtown Santa Monica.

In a YouTube video on the company's website, the Martin family—which opened its first dealership in the 1950s in Santa Monica—says it actually wants to get people out of their cars.

"The [development] offers... the ability for people to reduce the need to be in an automobile," says Dana Martin, "for people to live here, and work here without getting into a car is a great concept with the Metro line being so close."

Seven other developments—including two major mixed-use projects, Bergamot Transit Center at the former PaperMate site and the East Village at the Village Trailer Park—are planned less than one mile west in Santa Monica. Combined (not including the Martin Expo Town Center) they are forecast to generate about 24,000 new car trips daily in the area, according to estimations by nearby neighborhood councils.

Transit Village Fight Crosses City Borders

Community leaders from Mar Vista, West Los Angeles, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades have demanded from the city of Santa Monica better plans to manage traffic on the eastern edge of the city.

"The issue is really the office space, because that's what brings people through our neighborhoods in Brentwood and West L.A. in the morning and has them leave at night," said Lauren Cole of the Brentwood Community Council at a March press conference about Bergamot Transit Village.

Curbed Los Angeles reported Martin representatives recently shared preliminary information about the Expo Town Center development with the West LA Neighborhood Council's Planning and Land Use Management committee. The company is seeking input from the community.

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Greg Fry October 18, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Even if that were the case--and I still maintain otherwise--"transit village" projects are basically excuses for developers placing out-of-scale projects in neighborhoods whose infrastructure can't support such. Let's suppose that 100% of those in this project utilize this station in one way or another. Would you honestly claim that anyone who can afford Westside rents and/or housing prices is not going to use a car for him, her, and/or their family? I repeat: Westside traffic is completely gridlocked for several hours a day as it is. There is NO room to accommodate even modest traffic from even a modest development, much less a massive one. Unless and until massive improvements in terms of street traffic circulation are realized, everyone will be caught in an untenable situation whereby it is impossible to move anywhere in this end of town!
GreenEngineer October 19, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Wow. The sense of entitlement here is astounding. Some of the comments practically drip with it. Here's the reality: the age of cheap energy generally, and cheap oil in particular, is over. It's not coming back, and no amount of technological snake oil is going to change that (says the Caltech-trained engineer). Car travel was a luxury item in the past, and they will be again in the future. You folks will be getting out of your cars in increasing numbers over the next several decades. That's a foregone conclusion. The only question is, when the car stops being a viable form of every day transportation, will you have something on hand to replace it?
Greg Fry October 19, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Not sure of your point. I don't think anyone is saying that the Expo Line is a bad thing. What's being said is that another massive development in this already overcrowded part of town is a bad thing. However much you, I or anyone may wish that this wouldn't be the case, such wishes fly in the face of reality. Any new housing and commercial development--even development close to stations along the Expo line--is going to result in further gridlock on our streets, and that's a fact.
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Sophia Evans February 10, 2014 at 06:56 PM
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