Six months since our last update, exterior finishes are taking shape at The Laurel, a new affordable housing complex from developer EAH Housing in Santa Monica's Pico neighborhood.

View looking north from Michigan AvenueCarter Rubin

The more than $37-million project, located on the former site of Santa Monica Nikkei Hall, occupies a corner lot at Michigan's intersection with 14th Street. EAH has retained several elements of the former Nikkei Hall, including its community center, while clearing the property's parking lot to make way for a new 58-unit apartments building - including 57 units for low-income renters and formerly homeless persons and one market-rate manager's unit.

Per a funding arrangement approved by city officials in 2020, the apartments at The Laurel are to be set aside for households earning at or below 30 and 50 percent of the Santa Monica area median income level. Besides the two-bedroom manager's unit, all of the apartments will have studio floor plans.

KFA Architecture is designing the new components of the Laurel, which are of wood-frame construction and stand four stories in height. The building has a C-shaped footprint, wrapping a landscaped courtyard. Other features include a patio on the second floor, a community deck on the third floor, and 12 parking spaces located at street level.

View from 14th Street looking eastLivia Cavallo/KFA Architecture

Elements of Nikkei Hall which are incorporated into the design include original windows, an entry porch, and woodwork. Additionally, the property's Japanese garden is being restored as part of the project.

Completion of The Laurel is expected in late 2023.

The Laurel follows in the wake of three similar affordable and supportive housing developments built by Community Corp. of Santa Monica on nearby sites fronting 14th Street and Pico Boulevard.

View looking northeast from 14th StreetCarter Rubin

EAH Housing is no stranger to Santa Monica, having previously built the Magnolia Villas senior housing complex near the intersection of 10th Street and Broadway. The firm has also been tapped to build up to 150 income-restricted apartments on the former site of Parking Structure 3 in Downtown Santa Monica.

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