September 28, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Planning Commission Greenlights New 4th Street Project:

Santa Monica’s Planning Commission gave the appropriate approvals so a new four-story commercial building can be built at 1427 4th Street.

The new commercial building will contain a total of 44,883 square feet and be located in the part of Santa Monica that is zoned Bayside Commercial. Currently, the site is two stories high and contains a Michael’s craft store. The ground floor of the new building will be dedicated to retail uses while the remaining three stories will be devoted to office space. The project will also contain 69 subterranean parking spaces.

At the January 21 meeting, the Commission had to approve a Statement of Overriding Considerations for the project because the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) found that there would be unavoidable impacts on traffic and shadows by the project. The unavoidable traffic impacts would be at the intersection of the I-10 and 4th Street Westbound off-ramp and at the intersection of 4th Street and Broadway. Shadows would be cast by the project on three balconies of a nearby building in excess of three hours during the wintertime.

Another condition the Commission had to take into account was the fact that the building is listed on the City’s Historic Inventory’s Inventory as a potential contributor to the potential Downtown Historic District. The Final EIR found that the removal of the building would not affect the potential Historic District, but that the character of the new building would need to be compatible with the potential district.

Jack Jakowsky, a General Partner with the owner of the property, SM Partners Ltd., explained to the Commission that his company would have to hire a historic resource consultant to ensure this new building would be compatible with the potential historic district. He also discussed the fact that there are currently “unprecedented issues in the capital markets. In prior years, you could get a construction loan on the specifications of a project with no pre-leasing. In today’s world … you need some degree of pre-leasing.” Therefore, he asked that the Development Review Permit for the project to be issued for two years rather than the one year the City usually issues it for. This will allow his firm more time to work on the compatibility of the project with the potential historic district, and to lease out its spaces in order to secure a construction loan.

The Commission decided that the request for a two year permit was reasonable particularly due to the current economic climate.

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