Affordable housing development High Place East (Daniel Archuleta)

The City of Santa Monica wants to build affordable housing on a property it owns downtown.

The City owns 1318 4th St., which is currently home to Parking Structure No. 3. The structure is heavily used but has long been slated for demolition, and the City designed Parking Structure No. 6 to replace the parking capacity that would be lost. Fewer drivers are using the downtown public parking structures, City staff said.

The City worked with two companies for more than a decade to replace the structure with a movie theater, but both companies have withdrawn from negotiations. On Tuesday, City Council could approve a plan to solicit proposals to build 100 to 150 affordable apartments on the site.

“Ground-floor space could also house activities and uses that support the Downtown and the larger community but have otherwise been priced out of commercial storefronts Downtown,” staff said.

The City will save $13,600,000 to $32,700,000 of housing trust funds by using the City-owned site, compared to the land acquisition costs of other affordable housing projects in the pipeline. It will pay around $3 to $4 million to demolish the structure and remediate the soil, given the likely presence of hydrocarbons associated with gasoline, and will contribute anywhere between $5 million and $21 million for construction, depending on the number of apartments and design of the project.

Santa Monica is looking to replace Samoshel, a downtown homeless shelter near the 10 freeway that was built 25 years ago as a temporary facility, and may consider 1314 4th St. as a replacement site.

Staff have raised concerns about whether the location is suited for a shelter, however, and the City will hold community meetings in the coming months about other potential sites. The Housing Commission also recommended that the site include permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness.

Under the City’s affordable housing guidelines, which Council changed last month after deciding one rule incentivized developers to include fewer affordable units in their projects, it is projected that 25 percent of all new development in the City will be affordable between 2013 and 2021. Proposition R, which voters approved in 1990, requires 30 percent of all new development to be affordable.

Other new affordable housing downtown includes the recently completed, 64-unit Arroyo, Magnolia Villas, which will house 40 apartments for low-income seniors and a 55-unit complex just south of the 10.

madeleine@smdp.com



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1 Comment

  1. It seems to me that the Sears lot would be a much better place for a larger low income complex. Better than the middle of down town anyhow. Cheaper land too.

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