In Santa Monica's Pico neighborhood, wood framing is starting to rise at 1413 Michigan Avenue, where developer EAH Housing is building a new permanent supportive housing complex on the former site of Santa Monica Nikkei Hall.

The $37.3-million project, dubbed The Laurel, is rising from a corner lot at Michigan's intersection with 14th Street. Plans call for the retention of the Nikkei Hall's community center building, with the remainder of the site giving way to a new building containing 57 apartments for low-income and formerly homeless persons, and one manager's unit.

View from 14th Street looking eastLivia Cavallo/KFA Architecture

Under a funding arrangement approved by city officials in 2020, the apartments at The Laurel will be reserved for households earning at or below 30 and 50 percent of the Santa Monica area median income level. Save for the two-bedroom manager's unit, all of the apartments will be built in studio layouts.

KFA Architecture is designing The Laurel, which will stand four stories in height and have a C-shaped footprint wrapping a landscaped courtyard. Other elements include an elevated patio on the second floor, a community deck on the third floor, and 12 parking spaces located at street level.

Construction of The Laurel, viewed from 14th StreetCarter Rubin

The new construction will be blended into Nikkei Hall's social hall and residence building, which will retain its original windows, entry porch, and woodwork. Additionally, the property's Japanese garden is being restored as part of the project.

“While demand for affordable housing far exceeds supply, this project will help make a dent in Santa Monica’s affordability crisis,” said EAH Housing president and chief executive officer Laura Hall in a 2022 news release. “The project’s many stakeholders worked tirelessly together to create a housing solution compassionately tailored to the unique needs of homeless individuals.”

Completion of The Laurel is expected in late 2023.

1413 Michigan AvenueGoogle Maps

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.

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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