Almost 500 apartments — 100 of them affordable — are planned downtown, in the Pico neighborhood and near Bergamot Station.
Four hundred and seventy-five units in five buildings moved through the Architectural Review Board and the Planning Commission this week, including two WS Communities micro-apartment projects and a 100% affordable project from Community Corporation of Santa Monica.
The Planning Commission approved a 183-unit, four-story project designed by Michael Folonis Architects at 3030 Nebraska Ave. near Bergamot Station. The building will also contain about 8,400 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, two below-ground levels of creative office space and residential amenities, three levels of subterranean parking designed to accommodate 395 parking spaces and 284 bicycle parking spaces throughout the building.
Ten two-bedroom apartments in the building will be deed-restricted to households making 30% of the Los Angeles area median income. WS originally proposed including nine affordable units but added a unit after Santa Monica resident Ellis Raskin noted that the developer would have to deed-restrict at least 5% of the total units for the building to qualify as a transit priority project.
Although the Planning Commission approved the project, Commission Chair Leslie Lambert said she was disappointed that the Bergamot Area Plan limited the floor area ratio (FAR) of the project. A representative for WS also said the 2012 plan’s FAR standards are discouraging development in the formerly industrial area.
“I think we’ve really learned the limits of the Bergamot plan with this project,” Lambert said. “The difference in FAR between Tier 1 and Tier 2 is ridiculous. There would have been more two- and three-bedrooms and affordable units if this had been a viable Tier 2 project.”
Lambert added she was “appalled” that city code required the Expo Line-adjacent building to include so much parking and said it would probably exacerbate traffic issues in the area.
“There are 395 parking spaces in a project within walking distance of the Expo Line. It’s just unbelievable,” she said. “We may need to reset the parking minimums so it doesn’t look like we’ve ignored the Expo Line.”
Commissioner Nina Fresco said it was “extremely troubling” that WS did not intend to add pedestrian and bicycle amenities to Berkeley Street, as recommended in the Bergamot Area Plan.
The Architectural Review Board gave preliminary feedback on a three-story, 55-unit, 100% affordable project in the Pico neighborhood by nonprofit developer Community Corporation of Santa Monica. It will replace two one-story commercial buildings and two surface parking lots abutting Woodlawn Cemetery.
The blue and gray building at 1834-1848 14th St., which CCSM has dubbed “Las Flores,” will feature plazas and a play area. The building designed by DE Architects will also house 63 parking spaces and 116 bicycle parking spaces.
The board also provided feedback on two of the six micro-apartment projects that WS Communities plan to build in Downtown Santa Monica, which prompted the City Council to temporarily ban apartments smaller than 375 square feet. The developer threatened to sue the city over the ordinance and the two sides reached a settlement earlier this year that allows WS to move forward with the projects under certain conditions.
The projects at 1415 and 1437 5th St. are both eight stories tall and designed by KFA Architecture. 1415, which was originally designed as a six-story building, will contain 93 micro-apartments, or single-room occupancy (SRO) units, and 41 larger apartments. 1437 will house 45 SRO units and 18 larger units. The buildings will contained a combined 33 affordable units.
Both buildings feature ground-floor commercial space — about 2,500 and 1,500 square feet at 1415 and 1437, respectively — although only 1415 will contain parking, with 110 spaces in a subterranean garage. The buildings each contain two community rooms and rooftop decks.
The board reviewed a four-story, 60-unit project at 601 Wilshire for the fourth time. The project will also contain 6,200 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and 90 parking spaces in a subterranean garage. Three apartments in the building will be affordable to households making 30% of the area median income.
This post was updated Dec. 10 at 1:29 p.m.