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The Village at Santa Monica, Part II: The Non-Affordable Part

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[Renderings of SM Village via Moore Rubell Yudell]

A Curbed reader emails us info on the second half of the proposed Santa Monica Village project along Ocean Boulevard, discussed at a community meeting last week. (Go here to read about Part I). The good news for those of us who hate looking at poverty - the affordable units will be hidden behind the taller, better looking market rate units. As the reader notes: "The affordable housing is located back behind the condos, so you wouldn’t see them from Ocean Avenue or Olympic drive. There will be 160 affordable units, meaning 160 families will be living in this ugly segregated area." The much nicer market rate units are being designed by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects of Santa Monica.

The full text of the reader email:

"I did attend the “Village” meeting Thursday night. I found out several things:

1. The buildings in the renderings are half the project. There are 160 affordable units (as shown) and 166 market rate condos – that look VERY different.

2. The condos are located in taller buildings along Ocean Avenue and Olympic Drive, in front of the affordable units.

3. Pugh and Scarpa (architects) have been taken off the project and Moore, Ruble and Yudell (architects) have taken over. They’ve redesigned the condo/retail space buildings. which have an entirely different look.

4. The condo buildings along Ocean Avenue are now slated to be 96, 86 and 76 ft high. The architect bragged that they were able to reduce some of the buildings below 96 ft. Originally the height was to be 56 ft.

5. The affordable housing is located back behind the condos, so you wouldn’t see them from Ocean Avenue or Olympic drive. There will be 160 affordable units, meaning 160 families will be living in this ugly segregated area.

6. Joan Ling, head of Community Corp said there are no market rate rentals because market rate rentals have high turnover rates and they wanted to create a “community”. People who buy market rate condos don’t have a high turnover rate, therefore they provide a stable “community”. (Community is an interesting word. It appears they’d be creating two separate communities, since people who buy $1-2 million condos don’t usually socialize with people who live in affordable housing). Actually, selling condos allows the developers (The Related Group AND Joan Ling’s Community Corp , joint developers) to make their money up front. As my mother-in-law used to say, “You know what you can do with the rest of the reasons”.

When you listen to these people, everything sounds so reasonable – until you factor in the residents’ repeated screaming mandates:

l. Save our beach community look and feel

2. Keep our low skyline

3. Reduce density

4. Reduce traffic.

This project flies in the face of all the residents mandates, and nobody involved could care a fig.

I’m told that housing is mandated for the site because 30% of the original purchase price of the Rand Site came from Housing funds. Therefore 30% of the site must be housing. I have not been able to determine why the city can’t just replace that housing money and rid themselves of the mandate. Most likely the answer is very simple: They don’t want to."