Plans to bring housing and commercial uses to the site of a shuttered bowling alley in Santa Monica continue to inch forward, with the project set for a public hearing at the July 17 meeting of the Santa Monica Architectural Review Board.

Cypress Equity Investments, which acquired the site at 234 Pico Boulevard in 2020, has proposed the construction of new four- and five-story buildings on the property, featuring 186 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments above approximately 11,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and 346 parking stalls in a three-level, partially subterranean garage.

The revised project, which is the beneficiary to updates to the state density bonus law, will include 19 units of deed-restricted affordable housing, allow waivers from the property's height restriction and other zoning limitations.

View looking southwest from Pico BoulevardKFA Architecture

KFA Architecture is now designing the apartment complex, which has undergone minor revisions since last seen by the Architectural Review Board in August 2022.

"The project is separated into two building forms connected by a frame element," reads a staff report. "The façade of the building is defined by the frame which wraps the second through fourth floors. This organizes the building into a base, middle and top. The ground floor commercial spaces are clad in a variety of materials, the middle portion is largely contiguous and the rooftop penthouse has a different design expression as it is primarily glass."

Among the changes seen in the design include revisions to better integrate the building with the existing "BOWL" sign, which would be retained and reinstalled on the property after construction of the apartment complex.

216-234 Pico BoulevardCity of Santa Monica

While the staff report indicates that not all of the changes requested at the earlier presentation have been addressed, the report nonetheless recommends approval of 234 Pico, with conditions to ensure future refinements to the design.

Cypress Equity Investments, based in neighboring Brentwood, has emerged as a prolific developer of Santa Monica housing. The firm was behind a recent slate of large apartment buildings completed on Lincoln Boulevard, and has at least a half-dozen additional developments planned or under construction elsewhere in the city.

The company's acquisition of the 234 Pico site came after a prior owner had entitled the property for a smaller three-story development with 105 apartments and ground-floor commercial space. The new plan, thanks to density bonus incentives, is roughly 75 percent larger.

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