Rendering of the project proposed at 500 Broadway
Rendering of the project proposed at 500 Broadway from 5th Street

The Planning Commission Wednesday will consider a seven-story, primarily residential project in the heart of Downtown Santa Monica, around the corner from the future Expo station.

Here are a few reasons we like this particular project, slated for the Fred Segal lot at 5th Street and Broadway.

  1. It creates new housing. At a time when Santa Monica is experiencing a housing crunch, the proposed 84-foot building would add as many 262 new apartments where there currently is only a single-story retail building and a surface parking lot.
  1. The apartments would be a healthy mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, allowing for a wide variety of comfortable living options. And, the developer team is currently working with Community Corporation of Santa Monica, the city’s leading nonprofit producer of affordable housing, to provide a deed-restricted housing, either on or off site, that goes beyond what is required by the City’s Affordable Housing Production Program.
  1. It is truly transit-oriented. Within walking distance of the future light rail station at 5th Street and Colorado, the Big Blue Bus transit hub at 2nd Street and Broadway, and Downtown Santa Monica’s many other amenities, the new project would be an ideal home for people who prefer living a car-free or car-light lifestyle.
  1. It creates new jobs. While it would be replacing the current Fred Segal building, the project would include about 40,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. Like the new homes above it, the commercial space will be across the street from a light rail stop, giving employees a convenient alternative to driving to work.
  1. It is very bike- and bicyclist-friendly. The project provides robust biking amenities, including 420 long-term biking spaces and 43 short-term spaces, showers and lockers for employees biking to work at the number of ground-floor shops, and even space for a potential bike share station.
  1. There will also be room for car share on site or nearby, further encouraging residents to opt out of individual car ownership by offering a wide range of efficient alternatives.
  1. It makes Downtown more walkable. The proposed design encourages pedestrians along the street by widening the sidewalk around the building by an extra six feet to a total width of 18 feet. The design would divide the block in two with a shared pathway, allowing pedestrians, bikes, and cars to cut through from 5th Street to 5th Court.
  1. It meets Santa Monica’s standards for sustainable growth. The architect, a local Santa Monica resident, has striven for a LEED Gold design, one of the highest available to developments for environmental sustainability. The inclusion of electrical vehicle (EV) charging stations, solar panels, and rooftop solar heating all contribute to a truly sustainable design.

At a time when new developments, even quality transit-oriented projects, are coming under fire in Santa Monica, we think it is vital to show support when truly well-designed and community-enhancing projects come before our local governing bodies. You can read the complete staff report on the project here. If you agree that this is a good project, make sure your public officials hear your voice.

That support can mean coming out to the Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday July 9 at 6:30 p.m. to speak in favor of the proposed project. It can mean something as simple as sending a quick email to [email protected] noting your support of the project, the date of the meeting, and the agenda item number (6-B). Individual commissioners’ email addresses are here.

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