Don’t you love seeing the Westside transform? That is exactly what is happening in Santa Monica as city planners look at changes for the downtown area over the next 20 years. Not only will this make living in the area better for residents, but it will make selling existing homes that much better, too.
To read the full plan, you can go to http://www.downtownsmplan.org/app_folders/view/1. However, here are a few highlights I thought you might be interested in.
Downtown Isn’t Going to Change Too Much
Since Santa Monica’s downtown is already built-up, less than 20% of the area will change. Most of the change will occur with small buildings and parking lots to make room for mixed residential and commercial buildings that include affordable housing, cultural spaces, and open public areas. Plan to see some more money spent for transportation improvements as well.
Keeping It Low
Don’t worry, Santa Monica is not going to try to hit the same heights as Downtown LA! Depending on the area, buildings will be between 32 and 84 feet high, with the highest buildings along the Expo Line. To date, there are only three exceptions:
- The Frank Gehry-designed hotel
- Expansion of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel
- A new multi-use complex on Fourth and Arizona
At these sites, buildings can reach up to 130 feet, which is still considerably shorter than the 172 foot Santa Monica clock tower.
What’s the purpose for the lower buildings? To preserve the town’s old beachside city character.
Housing and Affordability
The plan calls for 2,500 units, mostly 2 and 3-bedroom units for families. Understanding the current housing shortage, the plan calls for capped rents for lower-income families. However, not all units are designed for those with lower incomes. Eighty percent of the new housing will rank among Santa Monica’s finest places to live.
Walkability is the new buzzword when it comes to urban development. Santa Monica developers got the message and are working to add pedestrian and bicycle friendly features to the mix as well as increased public transportation. Upgrades will include wider sidewalks, more trees, public art, scrambles, and buffered bike lanes.
Now is a great time to be living on the Westside. As the LA area grows and transforms, we will continue to see revitalization that will bring in new home buyers and increase property values. Feel free to contact me with any questions concerning Santa Monica or any other area of Westside.