by Jodi Summers

Frank Gehry’s building designs have been dubbed some of the most important works of contemporary architecture. His heralded level of international acclaim skyrocketed after the Guggenheim Museum opened in Bilbao, Spain in 1997. Hailed as a “masterpiece of the twentieth century” and “the greatest building of our time,” the museum became famous as a striking soaring, sinking, curving, titanium modern marvel. It subsequently had an incredibly positive economic effect on the Basque port city. Locals attribute the museum’s success as a world-class destination with reviving Bilbao’s sluggish economy.

Since Bilbao, Gehry has regularly won major commissions and has further established himself as one of the world’s most notable architects. His best received works include the boisterous and curvaceous Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, the open-air Jay Pritzker Pavilion adjacent to Millennium Park in Chicago, and the understated New World Center in Miami Beach. Now, Gehry wants to create a swirling architectural gem for his hometown of Santa Monica.

101 Santa Monica Blvd. was originally proposed in 2013 as a 22-story hotel-below-condo combination. Far larger than anything else around the neighborhood, the project stalled before the permitting process. Now, the City has approved the Downtown Community Plan, defining construction heights and the Gehry project parameters can be massaged to fit the City Santa Monica’s development plan for downtown. The new white tower with ribbon-like facades is expected to be 12 stories—or 130 feet. The complex includes a tower, three lower structures, a museum, and the continued preservation of two local landmarks.

The 317,500-square-foot mixed-use development will incorporate a 115-room hotel with a rooftop observatory, 24,700 sf retail, as well as 79 residential units (19 replacement rent-controlled units, 18 affordable units and 42 market-rate units). The new 40,000 sf museum will be positioned behind the landmark structures – a Queen Anne-style structure from 1906, and a Spanish Colonial Revival building from 1926. The design incorporates the vintage structures and will promote public engagement with historical parts of Santa Monica. Public walkways and garden areas and public art will lace through the two-acre project. It is anticipated that the improved ground-floor circulation plan should reduce vehicle and pedestrian conflicts.

“It’s an unbelievable piece of real estate,” noted developer Jeff Worthe. “We’re working with a phenomenal architect and that doesn’t happen every day.”

Gehry commented that the project, “has the potential to reinvigorate Ocean Avenue, and could be a catalyst for more public amenities along Ocean Avenue.”

“This layout allows porosity and designates approximately 25% of the site area as public open space at the ground level,” said the developer’s statement. “All street frontages, other than the alley to Second Street, are free from vehicular exit entry points.”

The new downtown plan caps building heights at 84 feet, but allows the three big projects to top out at 130 feet if the developer seeks a development agreement, which would allow the city to ask for community benefits, like money for parks and transportation.

“Now that the Downtown Community Plan has been enacted, this revised proposal has been submitted in compliance with the standards for seeking discretionary approval for a project on this site,” noted City’s Department of Planning and Community Development about the revised blueprints.

Gehry, a long-time Santa Monica resident, said that he and his team approached the project very much as a member of the community.

“We want it to be human scale,” Gehry said. “We don’t want it to get out of line. We want it to be pedestrian friendly.”

If approved, the Ocean Avenue project will become Gehry’s fourth building in Santa Monica. The City put Gehry on the map 40 years ago, when he pushed the boundaries of residential architecture by wrapping his early 20th century bungalow on 22nd Street in fragmented steel and chain-link fencing. Architecture students studying deconstructivism now know it as the “Gehry residence,” but when it was built, many neighbors “were not happy at the unusual building being built in their neighborhood.”

Gehry also designed the quirky Edgemar Retail Complex on Main Street, which was built in 1971; and Santa Monica Place, which opened in 1980 and was completely renovated in 2008 to turn the original air-conditioned structure into an outdoor mall.

The Ocean Avenue project is on one of three sites in Downtown Santa Monica that allows for projects up to 130 feet tall. The other two include the 568,940-square foot redevelopment of the Fairmont-Miramar Hotel, which originally topped out at 21 stories, and the “Plaza at Santa Monica,” a hotel-mixed use development on City-owned land which slow-growth proponents want turned into parkland.



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About Jodi Summers

Jodi Summers
SoCal Investment Real Estate Group
Sotheby’s International Realty

Sotheby’s International Realty’s legacy dates back to 1744. Respected as one of the world’s oldest and largest fine art auctioneers, Sotheby’s has a longstanding tradition of bringing together buyers and sellers of fine property. Today, Sotheby’s International Realty boasts nearly 13,000 sales associates, located in more than 660 offices in 49 countries and territories. Broker Jodi Summers is the founder of the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group, a top producing team with Sotheby’s International Realty in the Los Angeles area.

With more than $140,000,000 in listed inventory, Jodi and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group know finance, rules, regulations, procedures and methods. We are accurate, knowledgeable, timely and aware of how government shapes the cities of Southern California, including Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.

A New York native, Jodi grew up working in the family business – marketing, Madison Avenue style. Childhood math quiz questions calculated demographic and psychographic percentages or analyzed the allocation of adverting dollars. Word games were for devising slogans.

“My marketing and communication skills have proven to be a true gift when it comes to promoting real estate,” observes Jodi. “And I am consistently able to get an exceptionally high price per square foot for my sellers.”

Discipline (Jodi holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do), organization, motivation, excellent communication skills and knowing & satisfying the needs of her clients have been her essentials for running a successful business. A passion for investment real estate explains her emphasis in asset-yielding properties.

The City of Santa Monica chose Jodi to be part of the prestigious 9-member Civic Working Group to analyze and offer feedback on the future of the 10.5-acre Santa Monica Civic Auditorium site. Additionally, Jodi is a member of the National Association of Realtors, Beverly Hills + Greater West Side Association of Realtors, Action Apartment Association of Westside income property owners, the Santa Monica Conservancy historic preservation society, the Friends of Sunset Park community group, the Real Estate Investors Club L.A., the American Solar Energy Society, Sierra Club, California Parks Association and the Culver City Rock & Mineral Club. She is currently the Communications Chair for the Ocean Park Association in Santa Monica, and a partner in Save the Civic – a community group involved with the City in the adaptive reuse of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and adjacent area.

An honors graduate from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, Jodi moved to California in the mid-’90s to achieve her goal of living by the beach with a hibiscus bush in her yard.

She has thrived as an entrepreneur in the entertainment, media and marketing industries. She has three books in publication with Allworth Press – The Interactive Music Handbook, Making and Marketing Music and Moving Up In the Music Business. Making and Marketing Music is in second edition. Check out her work on

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