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Council Approves Downtown Santa Monica Mixed-Use Project Near Rail Station
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310)828-7525 -

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

May 16, 2016 -- Downtown Santa Monica will soon feature a seven-story, mixed-use development with 249 residential units in a range of sizes and ground-floor commercial space that includes a grocery store.

The City Council voted 6-0 in favor of the project at 500 Broadway that will replace a Fred Segal complex just a block from the Expo Light Rail station set to open next week.

Councilmember Gleam Davis said the project “was a template for the kind of planning we are doing in our city in order to make us a more sustainable city overall.”

She added, “Building a concentration of housing near transit is exactly the kind of thing we can do if we want our kids and our grandkids to have a livable planet.”

This development, designed by Santa Monica-based Koning Eizenberg Architecture, will include residential units ranging from studios to three-bedroom homes, nearly 60,000 square feet of ground floor and subterranean commercial space and 524 parking spaces in a four-level subterranean garage.

The units cannot be used for short-term housing or as vacation rentals.

Prior to approving the project, the council heard from a few dozen public speakers. Nearly all encouraged the council to vote for the development.

Among those speaking in favor of the project was Greg Leavitt, whose family has lived in Santa Monica for more than 100 years. He said he might have to leave because of what he called a severe shortage of housing in the city.

“There isn’t even close to enough housing,” Leavitt said. “I watch [thousands of] cars a day drive by my window. [Drivers are] coming into work because there isn’t enough housing for the people who work here.”

Armen Melkonians, founder of the slow-growth activist group Residocracy, was one of the few project opponents who addressed the council.

He called the project “Santa Monica on drugs.”

“Don’t be the drug pushers that push these kinds of projects onto residents,” Melkonians said. “You’re setting policy, and the policy of this council is not in line with the residents."

He continued, "We don’t need additional housing. We don’t need additional car trips. What we need is a livable city for the existing residents of Santa Monica.”

Melkonians said this project was an example of why the city needs Residocracy’s LUVE Initiative, a proposal for the November ballot that would make voter approval a requirement to finalize most major projects in Santa Monica (“Organizers for Santa Monica LUVE Initiative Say Signature Goal Met,” May 3, 2016).

Melkonians told the council that voters would approve the initiative.

Because several of the development's features do not meet Santa Monica zoning standards, the 500 Broadway ownership ( a join venture between KRE Capital LLC and affiliates of Dune Real Estate Partners LP, according to the project’s website) needed to go into a development agreement with the City and offer public benefits.

The largest community benefit is the dedication of land for a residential complex at 1626 Lincoln Boulevard with 64 units affordable for families earning salaries 30 percent to 60 percent of the area median income of $63,000.

Community Corporation of Santa Monica, the city’s largest affordable housing provider, will oversee the Lincoln development. The Planning Commission approved that project on Wednesday.

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