Marina Development Continues Apace

img_1630I took a look at and snapped some photos of the latest construction project in Marina del Rey.  It’s the expansion of the Best Western Jamaica Bay Inn on Admiralty Way near Panay Way.  The old Jamaica Bay Inn was a quaint two-story place with approximately 42 rooms, where people liked to go for breakfast.  Renderings of the expanded four-story 111-room hotel, for which the neighboring Cafe Escobar was bulldozed to make way, can be found here.  The Inn’s PR company describes its project as (warning: get out your air sickness bag) one:

“that will transform the familiar Marina Del Rey property into a lush Caribbean-themed resort befitting its name. The new Jamaica Bay Inn will take advantage of the hotel’s unique location on the only beach inside the marina, an inviting arc of sand and calm water appropriately known as Mother’s Beach. The new hotel will have a colorful porte-cochere that will be a street-side landmark for the property and an elegant lobby with a sophisticated West Indies décor, rattan/wood/leather furniture and a large stone fireplace and chimney as a focal point. The renovation’s architecture will showcase Caribbean features such as dickie-style roofs with standing seam galvanized metal roofs, plentiful balconies with white-painted woodwork and window trim, pale yellow plaster walls and green shutters.”

Rear view
Rear view

The question for Marina residents and visitors is: will the expanded Jamaica Bay Inn, and the many other planned construction projects in the neighborhood, represent improvement, or just growth?  The Marina has a special status regarding development: according to the Marina del Rey Land Use Plan implemented pursuant to the California Coastal Act, “[p]ublic opportunities for viewing the Marina’s scenic elements, particularly the small craft harbor water areas, shall be enhanced and preserved.”  Because of these “scenic elements,” many visitors, and, I imagine, numerous residents, come to the Marina primarily to play. Unfortunately, some residents say that real estate developers have had their way in the area for years.

Some residents across the street won't be happy about losing their view
Some residents across the street won't be happy about losing their view

Nauseating PR puffery aside, I don’t necessarily find the Jamaica Bay Inn project particularly egregious, given its limited — albeit doubled — height and footprint that was largely taken up by two existing buildings.  However, due to other planned projects, some of which are gargantuan, the character of the Marina is in a state of flux, and it remains to be seen what will happen.  I know I will be watching with interest.

View of Mother's Beach and Marina from back of Jamaica Bay Inn
View of Mother's Beach and Marina from back of Jamaica Bay Inn
Space to left will be blocked by expansion
Space to left will be blocked by expansion
Back of the Inn, as seen from the Southwest
Back of the Inn, as seen from the Southwest
Construction worker seems to like the view that he will soon be obscuring
Construction worker seems to like the view that he will soon be obscuring

4 Replies to “Marina Development Continues Apace”

  1. I’m probably the only one, but whenever I see the sign for the Jamaica Bay hotel, I think of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Jamaica Inn.

    The planned development I’m most nervous about is the retail/condos planned for the back corner of the development at Lincoln and Maxella, where the abandoned Marie Callendar’s and Carl’s Jr. are, and where there’s some limo company that parks their cars now. That area looks terrible, but I don’t think we need more development and more traffic on Lincoln near the 90.

  2. I’m with evan in not needing more density packed onto that corner. The problem lies with SCAG and its high density mixed used plan they have been shoving down cities throats in order to get redevelopment money.

    I don’t have a problem with the concept SCAG is pushing. The problem lies in that in LA we don’t have the public transit in place (subway, light rail) to support all the high density development planned. The other side issue is that LA doesn’t meet its park and green space ratio as it is and high/density redevelopment just stretches those resources further.

  3. Great comments. I agree with Evan that the Lincoln/Maxella project is monstrous in scope. One of the land planning docs I reviewed mentioned that the Marina zoning laws are based on a “bowl” concept, with more restrictive height requirements right around the harbor itself, and less restrictions as you get farther away. In the case of the Lincoln/Maxella project, it’s across Lincoln Blvd. from the harbor, so presumably the restrictions are more lax.

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