Plans are shaping up for a seven-story apartment building to take the place of upscale Santa Monica retailer Fred Segal, which will soon take flight to Playa Vista.

Located a block from a light-rail station set to open in May, the 500 Broadway project calls for 260 residences offering between one and three bedrooms each.

The architect, Santa Monica firm Koning Eizenberg Architects, has designed four buildings that look like white and gray stacks of modernist cubes, allowing space for a large ground-level grocery store.

Santa Monica’s Planning Commission approved the project last week in a nearly unanimous vote, with one commissioner raising concerns about traffic in the already dense downtown neighborhood near the Third Street Promenade.

Project manager Tom Paradise, representing owners KRE Capital of Beverly Hills and affiliates of New York’s Dune Real Estate Partners, said the project will next go to the City Council for consideration, likely in May.

Fred Segal sold its property in 2012, the same year it was bought by New York company Sandow, but only recently announced the move to Playa Vista. There, it will bring its pricey clothing, jewelry and home goods to 20,000 square feet at retail complex Runway Playa Vista.

David Binswanger, senior executive vice president of Lincoln Property Co., which developed the complex before selling it last month for $475 million, said the move makes sense.

“The emergence of Playa Vista as a technology, media and new-media hub was something they found very compelling,” he said. The Runway’s mix of high-end shops and restaurants, along with a Cinemark movie theater and Whole Foods, also made the site attractive.

“The clientele are all people that would be interested in the brands that Fred Segal sells,” he said, adding that the complex aims to draw shoppers from Manhattan Beach, Venice and Santa Monica.

Office Takes Off

Some office building owners near the Los Angeles International Airport have given up on the area’s weak tenant supply, opting for dramatic conversions into hotels. Not Paul Solomon, however. The developer just completed the remodel of a nearly 40-year-old property at 6171 Century Blvd. and has so far snagged five tenants. About 25 percent of the 88,000-square-foot-space is still available.

“The LAX area is attracting businesses because of its central Westside location where rents are the lowest in the submarket,” he said in a statement. “What has been missing until now is a best-in-class creative redevelopment.”

Solomon’s Westchester company, Liminal Space, bought the property in late 2014 and began renovations in June of last year.

The site features 13-foot ceilings, polished concrete floors and views of the planes soaring in and out of LAX. It also offers bicycle storage along with showers for sweaty cyclists as well as a restaurant and bar. A basement data center is meant to appeal to tech companies.

Solomon did not disclose the cost of renovation.

Class A and B office properties in the LAX submarket are running about 33 percent vacant, according to CoStar Group. But Jones Lang LaSalle broker Jason Fine said that 6171 Century could hint at change to come.

Kosher Cred

A kosher-friendly apartment complex in the Pico-Robertson district just switched hands for $22.4 million in cash. Bought by L.A. investment firm Eretz Properties, the fully occupied 39-unit building features kitchens designed to appeal to observant Jewish families – double sinks, extra cabinets and twin dishwashers to keep meat and dairy products separate under kosher food preparation rules. The building, at 8525 W. Pico Blvd., also offers an automatic elevator for residents that don’t use electricity on Shabbat. Kitty Wallace, the Colliers executive vice president who brokered the deal, said the complex was built in 2010 and designed with high-end amenities for the possibility of a condominium conversion.

Palladium Plans

Plans for the controversial Palladium Residences in Hollywood are moving forward after a planning committee green-lit the project last week, paving the way for a final City Council approval this month. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, across the street from the development site, has fiercely fought the project, saying the proposed 28-story towers with 730 units and 24,000 square feet of retail would be too big for the neighborhood. The nonprofit also raised concerns about preserving the 1940s-era Hollywood Palladium entertainment venue on the site, which is under consideration for status as a City Historic-Cultural Monument. The Palladium Residences developers have said they plan to maintain the site.

Staff reporter Daina Beth Solomon can be reached at dsolomon@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5262.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.