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Santa Monica Developer Puts 3 'Builder's Remedy' Properties for Sale

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By Jorge Casuso

November 18, 2022 -- WSC is selling three Santa Monica properties rushed into the planning pipeline last month before the City's Housing Element was given final approval by the State, The Lookout has confirmed.

The three preliminary applications -- which include 437 market-rate units and 88 affordable units -- can bypass the City's zoning code and general plan if final plans are submitted within six months.

The three applications are part of a sudden flood of 16 "builder’s remedy" submissions, almost all of them filed by closely affiliated developers WSC and NMS, totaling more than 4,500 units ("City Officials Caught Off Guard by Flurry of Development Submissions," October 13, 2022).

"Following its filings for the projects, WSC’s investment partner wanted to list those three properties," according to a report Wednesday in The Real Deal.

The report cited WSC President and CEO Scott Walter, who declined to name his firm’s partner. Guiding prices for the properties have not been disclosed.

The largest property for sale includes a preliminary application for a 12-story high-rise at 2901 Santa Monica Boulevard with 222 market-rate units and 45 affordable units.

Also up for sale is a property with an application for a nine-story building at 1441 Lincoln Boulevard with 145 market-rate units and 29 affordable units.

The third is a property at 1238 7th Street with an application for a ten-story building with 70 market-rate and 14 affordable units.

WSC and NMS are "fully committed" to building the other 11 projects for which preliminary applications were submitted under the builder's remedy, a source close to the developers told The Lookout Thursday.

Architects are working on the detailed plans that must be submitted for approval next April, according to the source.

While the preliminary plans are "minimal, rough and conceptual," the final application must include detailed plans, renderings and designs for each of the proposed projects, the source said.

As long as a housing project submitted under the builder's remedy doesn't present a clear danger to public health or safety it is automatically given administrative approval, according to State law.

The three properties were put on the market nearly two years after WSC put 23 proposed projects totaling some 2,100 residential units for sale ("Santa Monica Developer Offers 23 Properties for Sale," December 23, 2020).

WSC amassed the portfolio of closely knit properties bought by prominent Westside developer Neil Shekhter over the past 10 years, most of them Downtown.

The company navigated Santa Monica's onerous planning pipeline to get the entitlements needed to build the developments.

According to The Real Deal, WSC sold eight of the entitled sites totaling about 600 units to Tishman Speyer for $150 million, or about $250,000 per unit.

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