Real Estate

Madison Realty's 24-Story Tower to Transform Santa Monica

Madison Realty's 24-story tower to become Santa Monica's tallest, signaling a shift towards denser urban development.

By Tal Alexander

5/16, 18:52 EDT
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Key Takeaway

  • Madison Realty Capital proposes a 24-story, 264-unit apartment tower in Santa Monica, set to be the tallest building in the area.
  • The project includes 40 affordable housing units and leverages state density bonus law for increased density.
  • This development follows Madison's acquisition of the site amid a broader strategy of expanding its rental unit portfolio.

A New Skyline for Santa Monica

Madison Realty Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, has unveiled ambitious plans to construct a 24-story apartment building in Santa Monica, potentially transforming the city's skyline and setting a new precedent for urban development in the area. The proposed highrise at 601 Colorado Boulevard, as reported by the Santa Monica Daily Press and Urbanize Los Angeles, would not only become the tallest building in Santa Monica but also signify a bold step towards denser, more vertically oriented urban growth. This project, requiring the demolition of an existing commercial building, represents a significant shift in the city's architectural and urban planning landscape, leveraging recent changes in local zoning regulations and state housing laws to incorporate a substantial affordable housing component.

Leveraging Legal and Zoning Changes

The project's ambitious scale is made possible by exploiting the full extent of recent amendments to the state density bonus law, as highlighted by land use attorney Dave Rand. This legal framework allows for a doubling of density that would otherwise be constrained by underlying zoning regulations. Madison Realty Capital's acquisition of the site from NMS Properties, amidst a broader transfer of assets due to $1.1 billion in unpaid debt, positions the firm to capitalize on the builder's remedy provision. This provision is a critical legal loophole that facilitates the bypassing of standard zoning rules in cities lacking certified state housing plans, provided the development includes at least 20 percent affordable units. The proposed development, featuring 264 units with 40 designated as affordable housing, alongside commercial space and amenities, embodies the potential for high-density, mixed-use projects to contribute to the urban fabric and housing stock.

A Trend Towards Urban Density

This development is indicative of a broader trend towards increased urban density and verticality in Santa Monica, a city traditionally characterized by low-rise buildings. The project, designed by Ottinger Architects, promises to introduce a contemporary aesthetic with floor-to-ceiling windows, exterior balconies, and a rooftop deck, setting a new standard for architectural design in the area. Furthermore, Madison Realty Capital's strategy of increasing the number of rental units in its portfolio, as seen in the recently finished apartment tower at 6401 Wilshire Boulevard, reflects a broader ambition to reshape urban living spaces in response to growing demand for housing.

A Paradigm Shift in Santa Monica's Development

The proposed 24-story tower at 601 Colorado Boulevard represents more than just a new building; it signifies a paradigm shift in Santa Monica's approach to urban development and housing. By leveraging state laws designed to encourage more affordable housing, Madison Realty Capital is at the forefront of a movement that could see Santa Monica's skyline and urban landscape dramatically transformed. This project, alongside other high-rise developments under consideration, signals a potential future where density, height, and mixed-use projects become the norm, challenging traditional notions of the city's character and opening new possibilities for growth and sustainability.