The California Coastal Commission gave the go-ahead last week to a six-unit boutique hotel project that will incorporate a historic beach bungalow on 10th Street in Hermosa Beach.

Approved by the Hermosa Beach City Council in October 2019, the project at 70 10th Street features the construction a new three-story, five-unit detached hotel, which will be more than 2,700 square feet. The 1,841 square-foot beach bungalow built in 1910, just north of the new building, will be converted into a sixth unit.

“As a local guy I'm really excited to be able to create and keep this historical corner,” said developer Dean Thomas, following the CCC’s decision.

Thomas said he expects to have the project get off the ground in the summer, maybe July or August. For now the bungalow, which will get a new roof and other upgrades, will be rented out while the new detached five-unit building is being built.

The beach bungalow hotel unit will have two bedrooms, a living and dining room, a full kitchen and laundry room, according to a CCC report. The new building will have the same architectural design as the bungalow and have five units each approximately 550 square-feet in size.

A main concern when the City Council approved the project in 2019 was parking. In Hermosa Beach, hotels are required to have one parking space per unit to meet parking requirements. The hotel’s proposal, which was approved, has four parking spaces on-site plus payments of fees in-lieu of providing two spaces off site.

Thomas said he is paying $29,800 each for two in-lieu parking spaces that will be in the city’s three-level parking structure off of Hermosa Avenue, near the Hermosa Beach Pier. The hotel will also provide an electric vehicle for its guests as well as a 10 percent discount if they stay without a vehicle.

The corner bungalow, starting on Hermosa Avenue and 10th Street heading west, is one of five bungalows, remaining that were built only a few years following the incorporation of the town in 1907. The other four bungalows are individually owned, Thomas said.

Back in the 1980s, the city had rezoned the block to commercial, Thomas said. Since the bungalow was residential, it was then considered non-conforming.

Thomas said he and his partners purchased the property in December 2016. The city hired a historical consultant, at their expense, Thomas said.

The city said at the 2019 City Council meeting that the residence is considered a “significant historic resource” as defined under the California Environmental Quality Act. The residence is a contributor to an “eligible historic district of beach bungalows.”

Thomas said they decided to scrape their initial plan and create a boutique inn to keep the bungalow.

As per requirements by the California Coastal Act, according to the CCC staff report, the commission has in the past required 25 percent of new “higher cost visitor accommodations” to be offer lower-cost rates to “ensure that overnight accommodations in the Coastal Zone are available at a range of price points.”

“The proposed development is a small, boutique hotel and due to economic constraints, the applicant is not feasibly able to provide on-site lower-cost rooms,” the staff report reads.

In lieu of not offering lower-cost rooms, the developers are paying a mitigation fee of $150,000, which will be deposited, according to the report, “into an interest-bearing account(s) to be established and managed by the California State Coastal Conservancy.”

The Conservancy then used the funds to support lower cost overnight accommodations, from hotel rooms to campground units, in Hermosa Beach or along the Los Angeles County coast, according to the report.

Thomas grew up in the South Bay and earned his real estate license in 1979 when he was a senior at Redondo Union High School. He said he learned how to surf near the Hermosa Beach Pier when he was around 7 or 8 years old.

“People will be able to use that bungalow for the next century… it was the right thing to do for the community,” Thomas said.

In an email, Hermosa Beach Mayor Justin Massey said the city was pleased that the project was approved by the CCC.

"This project will add lodging in downtown Hermosa and protect a historic bungalow," he said.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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