It’s a new chapter for the handsome brick building, located at Second Street and Arizona Avenue, in the city’s increasingly pricey and bustling downtown. The restoration will turn the Renaissance Revival-style building, once home to more than a dozen disabled and senior renters, into offices for businesses.
As part of the renovation, the three-story building at 1305 Second Street will be retrofitted for earthquakes, its brick facade and decorative cornice and corbel details will be restored, and a deck area will be added on the roof. Wilshire Skyline, in partnership with Kings Arch, Inc. owns and is developing the project.
The building’s transition from a residential space was not smooth. In March 2014, Wilshire Skyline settled a lawsuit with a group of tenants who had sued alleging harassment. The residents had claimed that the owners were trying to push them out to rent the units at higher rates.
The settlement was aimed at improving conditions for tenants. The owners and management company agreed to receive training in fair housing practices, adopt written policies for making repairs, and halt the practice of offering commissions to employees who persuaded tenants to move out.
Then, less than one year later, in February 2015, the owners invoked the Ellis Act, a state law that allows owners to boot tenants from a rent-controlled building in order to take the building off the rental market.
The last remaining tenants left the building one year later. Fifteen of those residents were disabled or seniors, a report from the Santa Monica Rent Control Board shows.
A spokesperson for Wilshire Skyline tells Curbed that the company wanted to resolve the dispute with the tenants directly and to improve the building as apartments. However, in the end, no such resolution was possible, so Wilshire Skyline removed the residences from the rental market.
An opening date for the offices has not been announced.
- City of Santa Monica Reaches Settlement with Owner of Century Old Downtown Building [Santa Monica Lookout]
- Mar Vista Apartments [Santa Monica Conservancy]