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Santa Monica Surprisingly Cool With 'Big' New Development

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The proposed mixed-use project is seven stories tall with 249 apartments

While a Santa Monica NIMBY group is hard at work trying to make it so that pretty much every proposed building over 32 feet tall has to be put to a public vote, a picture perfect example of the kind of project they'd hate just got a big thumbs up from the city's planning commission. 500 Broadway would knock out part of a Fred Segal complex and bring apartments, a public plaza, and wider sidewalks to the site, which is just about a block away from the downtown Santa Monica Expo Line station, which will open in May.

The seven-story mixed-user planned for Fifth Street and Broadway is designed by Koning Eizenberg Architecture and would bring about 68,000 square feet of retail (possibly even a grocery store), 249 market-rate apartments, and 524 underground parking spots to the neighborhood, says Santa Monica Lookout. The plan also calls for 64 offsite affordable housing units, to be built about a half-mile away, at 1626 Lincoln Boulevard, and available to families earning 30 to 60 percent of $63,000, the area's median income.

The planning commission voted 6 to 1 in favor of recommending that the SaMo City Council approve the project. For some on the panel, it was the large (for Santa Monica) development's proximity to the train that was most endearing; for others, it was the affordable housing component that seemed to push the project over the top. The project's open public spaces were also a big hit. "[T]here’s a lot to like about this project," said one commissioner.