An online meeting on Thursday, August 18, 2022, was the next step forward for the affordable housing being planned for the land owned by the Culver Palms United Methodist Church at 4464 Sepulveda Blvd. The church, in partnership with the Community Corp. of Santa Monica, is setting down plans for a new building that will also lead to a new configuration for the offices, classrooms and worship space of the church.
Reverend Lisa Fitzpatrick, the church’s new pastor who took office in July of this year, cited the gospel injunction to care for the poor. “Housing is very important to the community, houselessness is a real problem, and we are so pleased to have a way to build the Kingdom…here on earth.” Fitzpatrick was speaking from previous professional experience as well as her ministry, noting that “My background is in housing and development – I wasn’t always a church lady – and our current board is unanimously in favor of this project. We took a vote, and our church [members] are overwhelmingly supportive [as well].”
Tara Barauskas of Santa Monica Community Corporation, cited the 1900 units of supportive housing they have under their belt, and noted they have several other buildings currently under construction. She offered examples of other developments by SMCC, such as 1819 Pico Blvd., (pictured here) which has 48 units of affordable housing, in addition to a small business marketplace. “Affordable housing is what creates inclusive, diverse neighborhoods. Our buildings are not just economically sustainable, but also environmentally sustainable.” SMCC currently owns almost 100 buildings, serving more than 4,000 tenants.
She also emphasized that this was permanent housing. “This is not a program, and as long as you are paying your rent, you stay as long as you want.”
Partners in the development include the Culver Palms Methodist Church, Community Corporation of Santa Monica, FSY Architects, Upward Bound House (as an on-site service provider) and the City of Culver City.
This project, which began prior to the pandemic, has already made solid strides. The design and land use permits have been approved; the next level of state approvals from California Department of Housing and Community Development are expected to be finalized in November of this year.
There will be 95 residential units, broken out to 45 one bedroom units, 25 two bedroom units, and 25 three bedroom units, along with 64 subterranean parking spaces. The building will be at the rear of the lot, with a 25 foot setback from the edge of the property, and will leave the church in its current space facing the boulevard.
Vijay Sehgal, of FSY Architects, spoke about the design of the building, planned to be six stories, surrounded by sustainable landscaping. The shared driveway with the YMCA at 4454 Sepulveda will be maintained as vehicular access. It will be an all electric building, focused on LEED standards, the best environmental certification in architecture.
Upward Bound House will be coordinating references for some tenants, with a preference for local families already in need of housing, and families with students in the local schools.
“People who live near our properties do say that we are good neighbors,” Barauskas stated, “that’s how we have been able to keep on building and create this level of success for everyone involved.”
The call ended with a lengthy Q and A session for participants, offering specific answers reinforcing the information already provided.
Photo – 1819 Pico Blvd, photo credit Santa Monica Community Corporation