Shekhter’s WS Communities lists 6 builder’s remedy projects in Santa Monica
Nearly 3,000 units across more than 5 acres up for grabs
WS Communities (WSC), the development firm that shook up California last fall by filing a flurry of more than a dozen project applications in Santa Monica utilizing the previously obscure legal provision known as builder’s remedy, has listed a portfolio of six of those projects.
The six projects, which are being marketed as “The Santa Monica Six,” total 2,930 units, five and a half acres and 1.45 million square feet, representing a significant chunk of Santa Monica and one of the splashiest development portfolios to recently hit California.
The largest of the six, located at 3000 Nebraska Avenue, is for a 15-story, 1,700-unit project in the city’s low-rise Bergamot neighborhood — the same project that drew particular ire from some city officials and residents when WSC first filed the application for it, at 2,000 units, under the builder’s remedy provision in October. At the time Santa Monica was out of state compliance and subject to the provision, and the filing helped kick off a broader development frenzy that spread throughout the state.
The listing is held by the commercial firm Walker & Dunlop, and, critically, comes a couple weeks after Santa Monica codified a new zoning update. As such, the projects do not rely on the builder’s remedy provision, which allows developers to bypass zoning but remains legally untested, but rather conform to zoning. With the help of a state density bonus program, the listing says, the sites can also be developed with “only 10% affordability” — half of the threshold that’s required under builder’s remedy.
“In addition to offering an incoming investor the opportunity to develop six of the most iconic projects ever seen by the city,” the listing states. “The development of these projects … will grant an incoming investor control of ±63% of the class A* product in Santa Monica through 2025.”
The offering is unpriced, and WSC is selling the sites packaged or individually. After the Nebraska Avenue project, the next largest sites are a 450-unit, 13-story project on 5th Street and 270-unit, 13-story project on Colorado Avenue. The other three projects range from 140 to 190 units.
WS Communities is an affiliate of NMS Communities, the firm run by the developer Neil Shekhter, who ranks among the most prominent multifamily developers in Greater L.A.
WSC CEO Scott Walter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the portfolio. In January Walter confirmed the firm was preparing to list the high-profile Nebraska Avenue site.