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Santa Monica Developer Proposes Major Project in West LA

By Lookout Staff

September 18 -- Santa Monica’s biggest developer last week unveiled three ambitious proposals to develop a 10-acre Army Reserve property adjacent to the Veterans Affairs medical complex in West Los Angeles.

JSM Capital -- whose proposed and completed developments amount to some 2,000 units in the beachside city’s Downtown area -- hopes to build a combination of hotel rooms and residential units, or a medical facility, on the current site of the West Los Angeles U.S. Army Reserve Center.

The company, owned by Craig Jones, was the only bidder for the right to develop the property in exchange for building three army reserve centers totally $100 million in Bell, Miramar and Riverside.

One of the company’s proposals calls for building 500 residential units with 1,000 parking spaces and 300 hotel units with 500 parking spaces.

The other, smaller, residential proposal calls for the same number of hotel units and parking spaces, but drops the number of residential units to 300 with 600 spaces.

A third proposal calls for a medical facility totaling 1.5 million square feet with 7,500 parking spaces.

The plan seemed to worry neighboring residents who viewed the proposals at a meeting last Tuesday, according to press reports.

The proposals also seemed to concern LA City and County officials, who worry they are too high-density and would bring too much traffic to the already congested area.

Jones, who has been developing residential projects in Pasadena and North Hollywood near mass transit stations is pitching his West Los Angeles proposals in conjunction with the proposed Expo Light Rail line to the sea.

The stalled project got a major boost this month when the California Transportation Commission greenlighted $315 million to help bring the rail line being built to Culver City to Santa Monica. But the project is still a decade away from being completed, if it is built and all. (see story)

Jones – whose apartment buildings line much of 5th, 6th and 7th streets in Downtown Santa Monica – recently proposed a 125-unit condominium project that would be likely the largest ever in the beachside city.

The Planning Commission declined to take action on the projevct in July, after several members charged that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), economic feasibility and traffic studies, and circulation plans were poorly drafted. (see story)

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