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WS Communities Unveils ‘The Santa Monica Six’

2,930 Units across 1.45 Million square feet of development 

By Dolores Quintana

Development firm WS Communities (WSC) made waves in California last year when it utilized the little-known legal provision called “builder’s remedy” to file over a dozen project applications in Santa Monica as reported by The Real Deal.com. Now, WSC has collated a portfolio of six of those projects, collectively called “The Santa Monica Six.” These projects total 2,930 units spread out over 1.45 million square feet, and cover five and a half acres, making it a significant collection of development properties for the state of California.

The largest project among the six is located at 3000 Nebraska Avenue, in the Bergamot neighborhood of Santa Monica. It’s a 15-story, 1,700-unit project that caused controversy when WSC first filed an application for it under the “builder’s remedy” provision in October. However, since then, Santa Monica has codified a new zoning update, and the projects listed by WSC conform to the new zoning rules rather than relying on the untested “builder’s remedy” provision.

Walker & Dunlop holds the listing and comes with the help of a state-density bonus program. The sites can be developed with “only 10% affordability,” which is half the threshold required under the ‘builder’s remedy”. The sites can be purchased together as a full package or individually. None of these listings have prices. 

After the Nebraska Avenue project, the next largest projects are a 450-unit, 13-story project on 5th Street, and a 270-unit, 13-story project on Colorado Avenue. The other three projects range from 140 to 190 units. According to the listing, “In addition to offering an incoming investor the opportunity to develop six of the most iconic projects ever seen by the city. The development of these projects … will grant an incoming investor control of ±63% of the class A* product in Santa Monica through 2025.” 

NMS Communities, run by developer Neil Shekhter, is the parent company of WS Communities and is one of the biggest development companies of multifamily housing in the area. CEO Scott Walter declined to comment on the portfolio but confirmed in January their intention to list the Nebraska Avenue property for sale.

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