Fritto Misto, a popular Downtown eatery, may be displaced by a planned housing development. (Photo courtesy Google Images)
Fritto Misto, a popular Downtown eatery, may be displaced by a planned housing development. (Photo courtesy Google Images)
Fritto Misto, a popular Downtown eatery, may be displaced by a planned housing development. (Photo courtesy Google Images)

DOWNTOWN — Two new residential buildings by one of Santa Monica’s most active developers proposed for Downtown will bring another 150 units to the area and potentially displace well-known businesses.

NMS Properties has filed development agreement applications for 501 Broadway and 601 Colorado Avenue, two buildings which currently house Performance Bicycle and restaurants like Fritto Misto and Ninjin, as well as a hair salon and a chiropractor.

NMS proposes to build a six-story, 77-unit mixed-use complex at the 501 Broadway site, complete with four levels of subterranean parking with 153 spaces, according to the Planning Commission caselist, a running list of the applications for developments in the city.

That property was purchased in September 2012 for $9 million, according to Los Angeles County records.

The proposal for the 601 Colorado Avenue building also involves six stories, this time with 73 units and a four-level underground garage with only 66 spaces.

The county did not have sales records for that site.

Both applications were filed on Dec. 6, just before the City Council planned to consider changes to the development agreement process that would have added steps to the already lengthy public review.

NMS is known for its small apartments, often between 375 and 420 square feet and priced anywhere between $1,500 and $1,700 in Downtown. That style is considered a “single room occupancy,” or SRO, and the City Council and Planning Commission have objected to the concentration of tiny apartments in Downtown.

The company hasn’t finalized the housing mix for these two developments, which are so new they don’t even have a city planner assigned to them yet, said Jim Andersen, president of NMS Properties.

What the two developments will mean for the existing businesses still isn’t clear.

“We haven’t even addressed that issue,” Andersen said. “Although I love Fritto Misto (and) eat there frequently. Great business.”

Performance Bicycle still has a lease in its building until 2015, said Ken Tunnell, director of real estate with Performance Bicycle’s corporate office.

“They haven’t told us anything substantial,” Tunnell said.

Even if the shop was able to stay in place as part of the mixed-use development, it would have to shut down during construction. Tunnel wasn’t sure if that would be acceptable to the company.

“It would all depend on the parameters of the deal and how long we would have to be out of business,” Tunnell said.

Much of this is still up in the air.

The development agreement process is a long one, taking upwards of two or three years in many cases. That may increase once a recent City Council decision to extend the Planning Commission’s decision-making time to 90 days instead of 30 takes effect.

Additionally, the City Council voted Tuesday to set a number of priorities for the 35 development agreements currently in the pipeline. The influx of agreements has swamped employees of the Planning Department, who went to the City Council for help in determining which projects were most important to the council and should go first.

High on that list was affordable housing, meaning that projects that wanted early consideration would have to make 15 percent of their units available to individuals or families that qualify as “very low” income and only 5 percent to those that qualify as “moderate” income.

According to income limits for Los Angeles County, that works out to $42,150 and $77,750 for a family of four, respectively.

Developments could also qualify under a unit mix criteria. Council members laid down requirements that only 20 percent of the units could be studio apartments, and at least 20 percent would have to be two bedroom units. Another 10 percent would have to have three bedrooms.

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