WS Communities boosts affordable housing plans in Santa Monica

Developer plans to increase the number of affordable rooms for low-income in multifamily projects planned in downtown neighborhood

Dec.December 04, 2019 08:00 AM
Adam Shekhter and the 1415 5th Street project
Adam Shekhter and the 1415 5th Street project

Multifamily developer WS Communities is rolling out new affordable housing plans in Santa Monica.

WS has at least eight projects in various stages of development in the city that fall under a new agreement with Santa Monica to boost affordable housing. On Monday evening at an architectural review board meeting, the developer said it now planned to more than double the number of overall units at one of those multifamily projects.

The mixed-use development in the city’s downtown was previously approved as a six-story building with 64 apartments. On Tuesday, WS Communities principal Adam Shekhter said the city got its first glimpse of WS’s new plans for the structure at 1415 5th St., which show an eight-story structure containing 41 apartments, 93 single-room occupancy units, and roughly 2,500-square-feet of ground floor commercial space.

The proposed development at 1415 5th St., comes as a result of a recent agreement between WS Communities and Santa Monica housing planners regarding single-room occupancy housing developments aimed at low-income renters, according to Shekhter and Scott Walter, the CEO of WS.

KFA Architecture is designing the 5th Street mid-rise development.

WS Communities also has similar developments in the works that fall under the agreement with the city on nearby properties at 1437 5th St. (63 units and 8 floors); 1437 6th St. (57 units and 6 floors); 1323 5th St. (57 units and 6 floors), 1557 7th St. (units and floors not provided); and 1338 5th St. (74 units and 4 floors).

Specifics on how many units will be classified as affordable haven’t yet been defined as the projects are in various stages of development, according to Shekhter and Walter.

Since the projects are largely in an “early conceptual design” phase, construction financing has not yet been arranged, Shekhter said.

Two other proposed WS projects, located at 1543 7th St. (100 units and 8 floors) and 1425 5th St. (92 units and 8 floors), do not fall under the agreement with the city that requires an increase of single-room occupancy units for low income renters.

WS also has several other multifamily projects under development in Santa Monica.

In September, WS lined up a $44 million loan to refinance two projects: 1650 Lincoln Blvd. and 1543 – 1547 7th St. The project on Lincoln Boulevard will include 98 residential units and about 6,400 square-feet of retail, spread across a five-story building. On 7th Street, the firm is planning a 100-unit building, 4,440 square feet of ground floor retail space.

WS was started as a spinoff firm of NMS Properties, one of the largest multifamily owners and developers in Santa Monica, which is headed by Adam’s father, Neil Shekhter.


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