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Santa Monica Council Poised to Approve Major Development at Fred Segal Site
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310)828-7525 -

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

May 5, 2016 -- A seven-story development replacing the old Fred Segal shopping complex in downtown Santa Monica goes to the City Council Tuesday, possibly the last project tied to a way of doing business at City Hall that inspired the wrath of slow-growth advocates.

The 302,000-square-foot structure at 500 Broadway with 249 apartments, is just a block from downtown’s Expo Light Rail station, which debuts for regular service on May 20.

Featuring 249 residential units, the development includes nearly 60,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, a plaza and 524 parking spaces in a four-level subterranean garage.

In return for exceeding building limits, the developers are dedicating land at 1626 Lincoln Boulevard for a complex with 64 units of affordable housing geared towards families.

Such development agreements anger Santa Monica’s slow-growth movement, which argues that the pacts usher in too much building.

In fact, allowing “development agreements” helped spark a proposed initiative that would place approval of most development in the hands of voters, instead of the City Council.

Backers of “LUVE” announced Monday they had collected 10,000 signatures to place the proposed initiative on the November ballot. The City Clerk’s Office must first determine if the legal requirement of 6,500 valid signatures was met ("Organizers for Santa Monica LUVE Initiative Say Signature Goal Met," May 3, 2016).

The City, however, would likely stop using “development” agreements anyway under a proposed “Community Development Plan” for downtown that goes – after a recent delay – to the Council early next year "Vote in Downtown Santa Monica Plan Delayed Yet Again," March 31, 2016).

The new project “is one of the last (and the largest) Development Agreements to be processed under the Interim Zoning Ordinance,” David Martin, the City’s Director of Planning and Development, said in a report to the Council.

“As such, it reflects a turning point away from project-by-project planning consideration toward a more comprehensive and consistent approach to achieving the community’s goals.”

Overall, the new mixed use project on Broadway has been lauded for its design and affordable housing component. It has actually won more praise than public criticism -- a rare occurrence in the city’s current round of war over development.

“This project has been the subject of lengthy and intense scrutiny involving balancing the provision of both market rate and affordable housing and increasing services to Downtown residents," Martin wrote in his report.

Officials also grappled with "concerns about vehicle traffic, infrastructure impacts and the design character of the new building,” Martin wrote.

“Development agreements” are reserved for projects that exceed the standards on matters such as density and height limits. The practice involves developers negotiating trade-offs with the City before getting the go-ahead for such projects.

City staff recommends that the Council adopt an ordinance approving the project’s development agreement.

The proposed project, which was submitted to the City in 2013, has been reviewed at a community meeting, by the City Architectural Review Board and the City Planning Commission, which voted 6-1 to recommend the project on March 9 ("Planning Commission Endorses Major Downtown Development Project," March 11, 2016).

The City Council also considered the project during informal “float-up” sessions ("Santa Monica City Council Votes Unanimously to Move Forward with Major Development," October 17, 2014).

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