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Plan for Affordable Housing Uproots Building

April 09, 1987|TRACEY KAPLAN | Times Staff Writer

A vacant apartment building in Santa Monica was chopped into pieces this week and carted across town to become affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income families and senior citizens.

The housing is being provided as the result of an agreement between a nonprofit development agency and Southmark Pacific Corp., which is obligated to build 100 units of affordable housing as part of its $225-million Colorado Place project.

Southmark entered a partnership with Community Corp. of Santa Monica, the nonprofit development agency, to move and rehabilitate the building, donated by Santa Monica Hospital. The hospital gave up the two-story, 10-unit building because it needs the land at 1331 16th St. to expand.

The building was moved to the corner of 4th Street and Hollister Avenue where it will be rehabilitated by November, said Neal Richman, executive director of Community Corp.

'Dire Need'

"This project will help fill a dire need in Santa Monica," Richman said. "We couldn't have done it without Southmark Pacific Corp. They've been wonderful partners."

Southmark contributed $550,000 to move and rehabilitate the building.

Richman said the 10 units are important because there is only one affordable unit in Santa Monica for every eight families that need low-cost housing. A quarter of the city's 43,912 households have an incomes of less than $26,000, according to 1980 U. S. Bureau of Census data.

Under a development agreement with the city for the first two phases of the Colorado Place project, Southmark has to provide 100 units of affordable housing. The company already has built 41 units on 9th, 14th and 20th streets near Pico Boulevard.

Delayed Mandate

Southmark is not obligated to provide the other 49 units until the second phase of the project is completed, said Robbie Monsma, senior vice president of the development firm.

The Santa Monica Planning Commission this month is considering plans for the second and third phases of the project.

Originally owned by Becket Investment Corp., Colorado Place at first consisted of a two-phase development of a single 15-acre site bounded by Colorado Avenue, Cloverfield Boulevard, Broadway and 26th Street.

The first phase of the project, completed in 1983, includes three office buildings and a restaurant plaza on the south half of the site facing Colorado Avenue.

The Santa Monica Planning Commission is now considering revisions to the second phase, which originally called for two office buildings, two nine-story hotel towers and a 3.5-acre park.

Sought to Alter Plan

The two office buildings are under construction at Cloverfield and Broadway, but after acquiring the project in 1985, Southmark sought to alter Becket's plan for the two nine-story hotels, saying that such development would not be economically feasible.

Southmark instead proposed a 13- to 15-story hotel facing Broadway.

When Mid-City Neighbors, a residents group, and the City Council objected because of potential traffic and parking problems, Southmark filed suit in Santa Monica Superior Court in January, 1986, claiming that the city was illegally blocking its plans.

The lawsuit was settled in May after months of negotiations. The compromise plan involves a newly leased 13-acre site, called Phase III, bounded by Colorado, Cloverfield, Olympic and 20th Street.

A 9-story hotel would be located on the 13-acre site, and where the hotel would have been on Broadway, Southmark plans a 5-story office building. The 3.5-acre park would remain at Broadway and 26th Street as originally planned.

Paul Rosenstein, president of Mid-City Neighbors, said his organization supports the relocation of the hotel.

Speaking at a public hearing before the Planning Commission on Monday, Rosenstein and other neighborhood residents said they have reservations about a subterranean movie theater complex that Southmark intends to build underneath one of the office buildings as part of the second phase of the project. The complex would contain eight theaters with 2,500 seats, Monsma said. Free parking would be provided.

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