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With 14 mixed-use developments planned or under construction, the stretches of Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue on the edge of downtown Santa Monica will soon be home to nearly 1,400 new households.

Santa Monica’s Land Use and Circulation Element directs taller and denser multifamily development downtown, along major corridors and near transit. All three conditions apply to the stretches of Lincoln and Colorado bordered by Santa Monica Boulevard, the 10 Freeway and the terminus of the Metro E Line. For developers looking to build in Santa Monica, the area that until recently was mostly home to older, low-rise buildings has become a go-to location for ambitious projects.

Planning Commissioner Shawn Landres said the trend is proof that developers will build housing in Santa Monica if they are allowed to construct taller and denser buildings that provide a return on investment — an important lesson for the city of Santa Monica to take into account as it gears up to fulfill a state mandate to accommodate nearly 9,000 more units by 2029.

But the regulations the developers designed their projects under failed to produce enough middle-income housing and yielded too much parking, Landres said.

The projects were developed before the city eliminated parking requirements for downtown projects in 2017 and modified affordable housing requirements that incentivized developers to include a very small proportion of extremely low-income units in their projects.

Of the nearly 1,400 apartments that will be added to the area, between 250 and 300 will be deed-restricted affordable units — roughly 20%. (Information on unit mix for some projects is not yet available.) Most will be reserved for extremely low- and very-low income households.

Despite their proximity to the E Line, the projects will contain more than 1,500 parking spaces in underground garages, creating additional capacity for cars in an already congested area. Each parking space adds a significant cost to a project.

Landres said the Lincoln and Colorado developments indicate that the city needs to figure out a way to require developers to include more moderate-income housing and eliminate parking requirements citywide.

“We have to come up with the right income levels for the housing that we want and will be required to produce under the state housing allocation,” he said. “What you want to try to do is come up with the right mix of height and density that will yield the housing type you want and the affordable mix that’s feasible. It’s absolutely a challenge.”

WS Communities has 10 developments planned along 7th Street, Colorado Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard. WS is an offshoot of Neil Shekhter’s NMS Properties, a prolific and controversial local developer.

Construction is underway on a five-story building with 100 apartments, including 20 affordable apartments, that replaced a Denny’s restaurant at 1550 Lincoln Blvd., on the corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue. The building will contain ground floor commercial space and 232 parking spaces.

WS is also planning a five-story building at 1430 Lincoln Blvd. with 100 market-rate apartments and 296 parking spaces, a four-story building at 1650 Lincoln Blvd. with 90 market-rate and eight affordable units and 205 parking spaces, and a four-story building at 1441 Lincoln Blvd. with 40 apartments. All three buildings will have ground floor commercial space.

The developer is fulfilling the 1430 Lincoln Blvd. project’s affordable housing requirement in a 55-unit affordable building for seniors at 711 Colorado Ave. WISE & Healthy Aging will provide services for the building’s residents.

At 701 Colorado Ave., WS is planning an eight-story building with 69 apartments, including 11 affordable apartments, and ground floor commercial space. The project includes 84 bicycle parking spaces in lieu of parking for cars.

Directly behind that project, WS is developing another eight-story building at 1543 7th St. with 100 apartments, ground floor retail space and 85 parking spaces. To satisfy the project’s affordable housing requirements, WS will construct a 25-unit building across the street at 1514 7th St.

An eight-story building will also rise at 601 Colorado Ave., containing 140 market-rate units, ground floor retail space and 122 parking spaces. The building will satisfy its affordable housing requirement by constructing 35 apartments in a separate building at 1238 7th St.

Down the street at 525 Colorado Ave., WS will build a seven-story building with 40 apartments and ground floor commercial space. No parking spaces for cars are proposed.

Luxury national developer Cypress Equity Investments has three mixed-use projects planned along Lincoln Boulevard between Colorado Avenue and Olympic Boulevard.

The Lincoln Collection, located at 1601-1625 Lincoln Blvd., consists of two five-story adjacent buildings with a combined 280 apartments and ground floor retail space. The project is under construction. The first phase of the project will contain 71 market-rate apartments, 19 affordable apartments and 168 parking spaces.

The Junction, an adjacent four-story building at 1641 Lincoln Blvd. with 66 apartments, including five affordable apartments, was previously being developed by Century West Partners, a subsidiary of Cypress Equity Investments that is now defunct. The project will also include ground floor commercial space and 130 parking spaces.

To the north, Related California is developing a mixed-use project on a site at the corner of Broadway and Lincoln Boulevard, where a Vons grocery store is currently located.

The five-story building at 701 Broadway will include space for a large grocery store on its ground floor, as well as other retail space, and an underground parking garage with 390 spaces. The building will contain 260 apartments, 65 of which will be affordable.

Alhambra-based Grand View Investments is developing a four-story building at 1427 Lincoln Blvd. with 15 apartments, including two affordable apartments, and 13 parking spaces.

Developers did not return requests for comment.

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  1. This development continues to destroy the city, cause more gridlock, and pollute our air.
    Why can’t the City Council quit spending millions to appeal the court order for their removal, leave now, so elections can be held, and new leadership take over Santa Monica.

  2. Enough, stop the over crowding. Too many people in a small space with fantasyland parking projections.
    Santa Monica quality of life goes down with each new unit built.
    Time to start a recall of the development associated city council

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