An expansion of the hostel on Second Street would include minor renovations to the Rapp Saloon. Courtesy photo.

The Planning Commission will hear a proposal this week to expand the hostel in Downtown Santa Monica.

The applicant is asking for permission to build a new, five story, 60-foot expansion that would include 40 additional rooms, a renovated dining hall and central courtyard in about 15,622 square feet.

The property currently houses a four story building with capacity for 273 guests, the Rapp Saloon and a single story dining hall with six parking spaces. Hostelling International operates the facility and claims on their website that it is the largest purpose-built hostel in the country. The Rapp Saloon, built in 1875 is Santa Monica’s first landmarked building. While it won’t be directly impacted by the new construction, the proposal does include minor renovations to the property to improve access and functionality for ongoing community uses.

“The proposed scope of rehabilitation of the Rapp Saloon includes lowering the raised interior floor, removing the concrete steps, and extending the door down to sidewalk level in order to facilitate improved access and functionality of the community space,” said the report. “While minor in scope, the proposed enhancements are intended to improve connectivity and usage of the community space/landmarked structure.”

According to the staff report, the new building would replace the single story building and parking spaces at the rear of the property. No parking spaces are required of the existing hostel or the proposed addition but the facility does provide bicycle storage on site.

The hostel has been closed during the current emergency but is scheduled to open again in August. Rooms can accommodate multiple guests with beds going for less than $50 per night depending on availability. Staff are recommending the Commission approve the project to increase the number of low cost rooms in the city.

“The proposed addition would increase the stock of much needed low-cost lodging and also increase the ability to share the City’s first designated landmark with visitors from abroad in a harmonious and compatible setting,” said the staff report.

Staff also said the project has operated for 30 years without causing problems and is located near the visitor friendly Downtown.

“The project is situated in a highly walkable, transit rich location, near bike lanes and paths and surrounded by visitor serving uses and destinations. The Downtown area encourages a variety of uses, including the hostel, and promotes the highest concentration of activity in the City,” said the report.

If approved by the Planning Commission, the project would also require a Certificate of Appropriateness by the Landmarks Commission.

The Planning Commission will meet on Wednesday, July 1. Visit for more information.