LINCOLN BLVD — A nice-sized chunk of real estate near the future Exposition Light Rail Line and Interstate 10 was recently purchased by a developer with at least two mix-used housing projects already under construction in Santa Monica and more in the pipeline, according to public documents and those familiar with the deal.
Los Angeles-based Century West Partners, which is building a 57-unit apartment complex and a 49-unit project near the Santa Monica Main Library, paid roughly $11 million for the Wertz Bros. Antique Mart and its parking lot, located at 1613 Lincoln Blvd., said Alex Kozakov, vice president of investments at Marcus & Millichap.
That property will be part of the Lincoln Boulevard Collection, which is comprised of four separate apartment buildings for a total of 421 units and 7,000 to 12,000 square feet of ground floor retail along Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica, according to Century West’s website. Representatives from Century West did not return phone calls for comment Monday.
The Wertz Bros. property is located next to Norms and Denny’s restaurants. The land where those two eateries rest has also been sold to two developers looking to capitalize on the need for housing in Santa Monica, where city officials have often complained about a jobs-housing imbalance and the traffic jams it creates.
NMS Properties, which is responsible for several mixed-use developments in Downtown, bought the Denny’s property for $11 million in February. San Antonio-based FStar 1601 LLC purchased Norms in August.
Kozakov’s firm brokered all three sales for roughly $36 million, he said. Those three combined equal 102,000 square feet.
“Santa Monica is one of the most highly sought after markets in the country right now, just based on demographics, the improving job market with all the tech businesses coming to the Westside,” Kozakov said. “You kind of have the perfect storm of things for developers to look at.”
The incoming rail line is also attractive, as well as the properties’ proximity to the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade.
“It’s a great combination,” Kozakov said.
But with all the proposed development comes critics. Several neighborhood groups have pushed back, complaining that the increased level of development is creating too much traffic and should be slowed pending the completion of new zoning laws that will dictate how land is used in the city for the next 20 years or longer.
Kozakov said developers are somewhat concerned about Santa Monica’s reputation for dragging out developments and the perceived lack of transparency that comes with an ever-evolving land-use policy, but that has not stopped those with money from jumping into the market.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about location,” he said.
The Wertz Bros. Antique Mart will close Feb. 1 after 11 years in business. Shoppers can capitalize on discounts from 20 percent to 65 percent, according to the antique mart’s website.