525 Broadway will soon be home to the largest downtown Santa Monica residential project ever built.
In addition to the 125 market-rate condominium units, the project being developed by PRU/JSM Trino, LLC will be five to six stories high (60 feet), include 7,520 square feet of retail commercial space, and contain 306 subterranean parking spaces on four levels. According to the developer, the project will also benefit the City by increasing the affordable housing supply with 10 very low-income units and six moderate-income units off-site in a 100 percent affordable housing project that will be built at 1437 5th Street.
The Commission reviewed the project on July 18 of this year, but the Commission decided at that time that certain elements needed to be redesigned before approving the project. After the developer’s redesign efforts, which were shown to the Commission on November 14, the majority of the Commission agreed with City staff that the developer’s redesign had addressed their concerns about “complimenting the existing character and scale of the three-to-five- story surrounding area and incorporating ground floor pedestrian orientation.” They also supported the City staff’s conclusion that the “project complies with the [City’s] General Plan and Municipal Code.”
Commissioner Jay Johnson stated he still could not support approval of the project because of the “fundamental issue of how many units there are.” In his opinion, the project should have been reduced in size so it “would have less of an impact” on the neighborhood. He noted that Commission approval would “leave the door open for [a policy of increased] density” in the downtown area.
Commissioner Julie Lopez Dad also voted against the project even though she was pleased with the developer’s redesign efforts. She pointed out that the project “does take the downtown out further from the core downtown which is something we want. We would like residential projects to have mixed-use” areas as well. However, in her view, the “laundry list” of issues that still had to be addressed by the developer needed to be reviewed again by the Planning Commission before going to the City’s Architectural Review Board.
The Commission’s approvals included certifying the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) and a Mitigation Monitoring Program. According to the City staff report, a Statement of Overriding Considerations was also approved because the FEIR concluded “that there would be significant unavoidable impacts to the traffic and circulation” in the area and significant construction impacts.