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Santa Monica's Largest Lincoln Project Seeks Final Go-Ahead

 
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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

June 20, 2017 -- The Santa Monica Planning Commission on Wednesday is expected to grant a development review permit that paves the way for the construction of the largest proposed mix-used development on Lincoln Boulevard.

There is no public hearing on the permit at Wednesday's Planning Commission meeting, staff said. There will be a chance for public comment when the project goes before the Architectural Review Board (ARB). A date has not yet been set.

The five-story development at 1613-1637 Lincoln Boulevard was approved by the Commission on March 15 and is a cornerstone in the City's effort to re-makes the commuter thoroughfare near the new Downtown Expo light rail station into a community of apartment dwellers.

The 155,435-square-foot development by FSTAR LLC includes 191 apartments on the upper floors, anchored by 12,477-square feet of commercial space at ground level.

In the mix are 15 units (or about 8 percent of the total units) reserved for low- income earners, a range which in this case means those earning 30 percent of the area’s median income.

The Planning Commission had asked staff to explore the possibility of adding more affordable housing units, especially for the lowest income earners, but was told that would be unlikely ("Adding More Affordable Housing to Lincoln Boulevard Project Unlikely," March 13, 2017).

The site has been home to Wertz Bros and Jo Ann Fabrics. It joins other neighboring sites along Lincoln west of the Colorado Avenue Expo light rail stop where longtime staples such as Denny’s and Norm’s restaurants are being replaced by five-story mixed-used buildings.

By building dwellings close to public transit, the City hopes to wean residents, workers and visitors from using cars.

But slow-growth advocates worry that the hundreds of units awaiting construction on Lincoln will worsen gridlock on a street prone to bumper-to-bumper traffic.

About a dozen such mixed-use residential buildings on Lincoln are in the City’s development pipeline, totaling almost 876,000 in square feet.

Most, such as the 66-unit apartment building on the former site of Aaron Brothers Art and Framing at 1641-1645, are smaller than the mixed-use apartment complex approved in March ("Another Step This Week in Transformation of Santa Monica's Lincoln Boulevard," September 20, 2016)

Aside from the current project and the one replacing Denny’s (slightly over 100,000 square feet), the typical site is between 50,000 and 60,000 square feet.

The project at 1613-1637 Lincoln Boulevard requires a Development Review (DR) permit from the Planning Commission.

The project, however, does not require a review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which exempts a special class of Transit Priority Project (TPP) determined to be a Sustainable Communities Project (SCP) by the local jurisdiction, staff said.

Staff said the project’s design complements the approved adjacent development to the north “in aligning the common outdoor space at the third-floor level courtyard and integrates pedestrian flow between them."

The new building project provides 388 parking spaces within a three-level subterranean garage with vehicular access from Lincoln Court (alley) at the rear of the site.

Access to Lincoln Court alley is at its southern terminus at Olympic Boulevard or at its northern terminus at Colorado Avenue, according to staff.

Additionally, a new driveway is proposed on the from Lincoln Boulevard to also provide access to Lincoln Court.

 


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