Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica's Lincoln Boulevard May See Housing Boom
By Jason Islas
January 29, 2013 -- A major Santa Monica intersection is poised to undergo a massive overhaul, turning a primarily commercial area into a mixed-use residential neighborhood that could boast as many as 500 units.
Spurred by the City's new Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), which concentrates major developments at key intersections, Century West Partners is proposing some 300 residential units and NMS Properties Inc., is proposing nearly 200 units near Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue.
Century West Partners has recently filed development agreement (DA) applications for the four properties it recently purchased along a 600-foot stretch of Lincoln Boulevard.
The DA applications, though they are in the very preliminary stages, propose four different mixed-use residential projects along the Lincoln Boulevard between Colorado Avenue and Olympic Boulevard at sites currently occupied by Norms Restaurant, the Wertz Brothers Antique Mart, Aaron Brothers Art & Framing and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft.
Still the four proposed five-story buildings are very much in the initial stages, said Planning Department officials.
The applications, three of which were submitted in December and the fourth in August, have not yet been assigned to a specific planner, officials said.
Once they are assigned to, “the review process will begin,” officials said, adding that likely won't happen until after the City Council discusses revising the DA application review process sometime in February.
The initial part of the review process will include community meetings, officials said.
"As with any applications, the community process will have to determine if maximum build-out of any one concentrated use is the best urban planning practice,” said Council member Kevin McKeown.
Right now, City officials are dealing with more than 30 DA applications and have asked the Council to help streamline the process.
“We're a little bit here like the snake that ate the rat and now we are having trouble digesting the rat because the rat got really big,” said Council member Gleam Davis at a January 11 Council meeting.
The developer is proposing a 60-foot building project at the corner of Colorado Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard -- the Norms site -- that could have 100 units.
More than half of those proposed units are slated to be one-bedroom units each 680-square-feet. The developer is also proposing 17 studio apartments -- 460 square feet -- and three 1,000-square-foot two-bedroom units in that building.
At the Aaron Brothers site, the developer is proposing 78 residential units, 34 studio apartments, 40 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units.
The Jo-Ann site could be the future home to 75 new units: 19 studio apartments, 52 one-bedroom apartments and four two-bedroom apartments.
The developer is proposing 46 units for the Wertz Brothers Antique Mart site. Of the 46 units proposed, are studio apartments, each just under 500 square feet. There would be four two-bedroom units, each 1,095 square feet and 28 one-bedroom units, ranging from 663 square feet to 831 square feet.
All four projects include ground floor retail and on-site parking.
“Multiple applications filed don't necessarily mean multiple projects eventually built, and I suspect we'll all be looking carefully at cumulative traffic impacts," McKeown said.
Across the street at 1650 and 1660 Lincoln Boulevard, NMS Properties Inc. is proposing two projects which would create another 172 residential units, 82 of which would be “deed-restricted, affordable and workforce apartment units,” according to the City Planning Department's website.
According to staff, if all the DAs currently in the pipeline go through, Santa Monica would net 3,395 residential units.
In order to make sure that the city gets a variety of unit sizes, the Council has begun considering a policy that could encourage more two-and-three bedroom units, said Council member Ted Winterer, in order “to provide housing for families as well as single young professionals.”
Such a policy, he said, would add to the “diversity or our population base.”
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