A five-story building will replace a parking lot in Downtown Santa Monica, adding another 100 apartments to the neighborhood.
WS Communities, an offshoot of prolific and controversial developer NMS Properties, has been granted approval from the Architectural Review Board to construct a building with almost 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and four levels of subterranean parking at 1430 Lincoln Blvd. The building will rise alongside several Expo Line-adjacent developments, many of them from WS Communities.
Architect Studio T-SQ2 previously presented plans for a gray porcelain exterior with a vivid orange rectangle framing the second and third stories but changed the facade to gray brick with wood screens over the balconies and windows and pulled back the middle of the building to make room for a plaza after the board criticized the original design.
Board members said the orange frame gave the building an awkward and bulky appearance, the proposed ground level courtyard along Lincoln Boulevard appeared confined and isolated and that the apartments lacked living space, accessibility and access to natural light and air.
In a September report to the board, senior planner Scott Albright said Studio T-SQ2 had addressed those issues and recommended the project be approved.
“The city of Santa Monica is known to have a lengthy review process, but with their input, we ended up with a more cohesive concept which improved the project’s overall design and livability,” said Studio T-SQ2 principal John Waldron.
Henry Tong, another Studio T-SQ2 principal, said the architects chose brick and wood to blend in with the existing fabric of Santa Monica and added a central plaza to serve as a public amenity.
“We also designed a large central plaza … with a transparent glazed wall system that looks into an open courtyard/outdoor room, creating a lively pedestrian experience,” Tong said. “Overlooking this plaza is a large, highly amenitized roof deck, which is visually tied to the plaza. The units are designed to accommodate as much natural light and ventilation as possible.”
The project will break ground in spring 2020, according to Studio T-SQ2.
WS is planning to construct several more buildings along Lincoln Boulevard in Downtown Santa Monica, including another 100-unit project at 1650 Lincoln Blvd. and 43-unit projects at 1318 Lincoln Blvd. and 1441 Lincoln Blvd. A 100-unit project at 1550 Lincoln Blvd. is already under construction.
Grand View Investments is also planning a 15-unit project at 1427 Lincoln Blvd.