Developer Builds Two-Level Lofts on Mere 375 Sq. Ft.

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorSanta Monica–Olympic Studios, featuring 100 375-sq. ft. two-story lofts, is now 50 percent occupied. Located at 2001 Olympic Blvd., a few blocks from Santa Monica College, the rental project opened in January with a tentative opening of the second phase in about six months.The lofts feature fully equipped kitchens on one level, with small bedrooms located on the second level. “Despite their size, the units convey a spacious, private ambiance, thanks to 17-foot ceilings and clerestory windows,” says architect Wade Killefer. Killefer works for the Santa Monica-based Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA), which designed the project. Neil Shekhter, president of NMS Properties, which developed the project, envisioned that among those seeking affordable shelter would be young, single professionals, retirees with limited incomes and college students. This project was designed with that demographic in mind, he says.Shekhter tells MHN, “The question was how do you make something so small livable? And this layout provides for more privacy than the typical studio.”     The project unfolds in two four-level structures designed in a contemporary industrial mode with metal siding, metal sash windows and exposed structural frames and exterior overhangs which reduce heat.   In another environmental contribution, the architect created a swale bordering Olympic Boulevard to serve as a landscaped basin that will absorb runoff water and prevent it from spilling into the streets and ultimately flowing into the ocean.              Accessibility to public transportation and shopping also was taken into consideration in the planning of the project, related the developer.  The community is served by several major bus routes and is close to shopping.“As for the renter profile, about 70 percent are young business people and a few retirees and the remainder are college students,” Shekhter says, noting that rents range from $1,061 to $1,327 per month. The apartments include stainless steel appliances in the kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, stove, dishwasher, granite countertops, garbage disposal units and air conditioning.  Based on city guidelines, preference is given to those who live and/or work in Santa Monica, he added. Maximum allowable annual income requirements set by the city range from $42,450 to $60,600.