LINCOLN BLVD — Soon, Santa Monicans will have to go further afield than Lincoln Boulevard to get their Grand Slam breakfast.
NMS Properties, a mixed-use developer with several apartment buildings in Santa Monica, has agreed to purchase the 37,500-square-foot lot on the 1500 block of Lincoln Boulevard that currently hosts a Denny’s restaurant.
The property is currently in escrow, and NMS hopes to close by the beginning of next year, said President Jim Andersen.
“We have kept our eye on the property, and when it came onto the market, we were very interested,” Andersen said.
An unidentified family trust which had held the lot for several decades put it up for sale, said Patrick Wade, a specialist in commercial retail properties with the real estate firm Marcus & Millichap.
Nearly 20 buyers made offers before NMS won out a few weeks ago.
The sale price is still confidential.
NMS was interested in the lot because of its proximity to Downtown, the Santa Monica Pier and the incoming Expo Light Rail Line on top of Santa Monica’s inherent charm, Anderson said.
“Santa Monica is a desirable place to do business,” Andersen said. “It’s a beautiful location.”
Exactly what NMS will do with the property hasn’t been decided, Anderson said, although it’s sure to be redeveloped.
Many of the developers that showed interest in the property wanted to build high-density, small apartments that can be marketed as affordable housing, Wade said.
The units, which run around 300 square feet or somewhat higher, maximize the number of apartments available on each site and allow developers to charge “aggressive rents,” Wade said.
While those rents can be higher per square foot than other apartments, the overall cost is still much lower than a one or two bedroom unit.
NMS is contemplating a conversion of the property into a mixed use development, Wade said.
NMS already has four developments on the Planning Commission caselist, which total 366 units. Many of those are of the smaller, affordable model.
It’s market driven, said John Warfel of Metropolitan Pacific Development. Warfel is also the vice chair of the board of directors for Downtown Santa Monica Inc., a public-private management company that oversees marketing and management of the Third Street Promenade and Downtown for City Hall.
“I won’t say it’s new, but there seems to be more demand for it,” Warfel said. “It’s also dependent on who happens to be moving to Santa Monica. It’s a way to afford living in Santa Monica, for someone who wants to be here.”
NMS has been in the news over the last year primarily for its relationship with JSM Corp., a company which defaulted on a commitment to build 52 affordable housing units and stuck NMS with the cleanup.
City attorneys brokered a settlement in April between NMS and Prudential to make sure the affordable housing is built.