BROADWAY — A mixed-use development is being proposed for one of the eight “opportunity sites” in Downtown that is currently home to the high-end boutique Fred Segal and trendy eatery Umami Burger.
The seven-story complex at 500 Broadway includes space for groundfloor retail, subterranean parking and 250 market rate and affordable housing units.
An opportunity site is an area city officials have identified as capable of sustaining higher, denser development in exchange for more community benefits like affordable housing, public art and straight cash.
The 1.5 acre site, at the corner of Fifth Street and Broadway, is being developed by Thomas Properties Group, Inc. An application to develop was filed with City Hall last week.
The proposed 303,000-square-foot development will be divided into four buildings, said Nathan Bishop, lead designer with Santa Monica-based Koning Eizenberg Architecture.
The complex would be 84 feet high and have a 4.5 floor area ratio, or FAR, which is the ratio between the total floor area in a development and the amount of the parcel that a building uses. The height and density are consistent with the City Council’s recent vote regarding the Downtown Specific Plan, which is intended to guide development in Downtown for the next 20 years or more.
There will be 640 parking spaces in four levels of subterranean parking with two levels dedicated for residential use and two levels for commercial use.
The architects for the project said the space will be close to the future Exposition Light Rail Line terminus at Fourth Street and Colorado Avenue. City planners believe the light rail line can help to alleviate traffic congestion in Downtown and are encouraging denser development along the transit line.
“It’s just about thinking of the future of living in Downtown Santa Monica and doing something progressive for the city,” said Bishop, who is lead designer.
Hank Koning, a former planning commissioner, and Bishop said they envision four buildings with three courtyards in between each building, giving light and air to the adjacent properties. Bishop said the courtyards open up to the street.
“The plaza at the corner of Fifth and Broadway is quite a bit larger than the other two courtyards or plazas,” Bishop said. “It’s really in relation to thinking about the Expo Line … [and we] wanted to come up with a building type that enhances the public space of the street and tries to get the courtyards to feel like they participate in that public life.”
Some of the community benefits of the site include public open space and an enhanced transportation demand management plan, providing an enhanced pedestrian experience, Bishop said.
It’s too early to tell what tenants would be situated in the groundfloor retail space, but some uses being considered include a coffee shop, restaurant and a health club. There is discussion of having a grocery store on the site, which could be an asset to the neighborhood, Koning said.
“[It’s] close to the Expo Line and close to an area that has a lot of housing nearby,” Koning said.
The apartments range from studios to one- and three-bedroom units. Because of the variety of unit sizes, Bishop said the apartments cater to a variety of people.
“It’s really for anybody who really enjoys living here,” Koning said. “I think it’s a great place for people and for seniors and [they can] go down to the market and you don’t even have to take your slippers off.”
Fred Segal may choose to consolidate its operations once construction begins as it has another building right across the street. But there’s no telling what will happen with Umami Burger. Koning said they will have years before shovels hit the dirt.
Since the development proposes more than 100 units of housing, Koning said there will need to be an environmental impact report.
A community meeting to discuss the project is planned for some time in November.
“We really want to make it a special place for people to live in,” Koning said.