The City of Santa Monica has approved $20.6 million in financing for the development of affordable housing in the Pico neighborhood, according to a notice distributed last week.

The Las Flores development, planned by the Community Corp. of Santa Monica, would replace a cluster of small commercial buildings at 1834-1848 14th Street with a four-story edifice containing 73 apartments atop 3,500 square feet of ground-floor retail and a subterranean parking garage.

The mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments are to be reserved for households earning no more than 80 percent of the area median income for a period of 55 years.

DE Architects is designing the low-rise structure, which greets 14th Street with cubic forms that create a "concept of solids and voids," according to a staff report to the Santa Monica Architectural Review Board.

The proposed development was originally envisioned as a small three-story, 55-unit apartment building.  However, Community Corp. revised its plans following the adoption of the state legislation AB 1763, which grants relief to affordable housing developments from certain local zoning restrictions, including height, density, and parking requirements.

Community Corp., which is already in the midst of construction on a similar supportive housing complex on 14th Street, will also make use bank loans and tax credit equity to finance the Las Flores apartments.

Another non-profit developer, EAH Housing, is planning affordable housing one block north at the former site of Santa Monica Nikkei Hall.

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