Massive Block Apts on Lincoln are Empty
May 26, 2022
By David Ganezer
What was built on the former Norms restaurant site at Colorado and Lincoln Blvd at a cost of $40 million, is five stories tall and is pretty much devoid of people?
Convinced that renters could and would pay top dollar to live ANYWHERE in Santa Monica, developers demolished the block of buildings between Colorado and the freeway 3 years ago and began to build like mad. Pack and stack apartment buildings now cover a neighborhood where traffic is constant.
Developers completed the Catherine in 2020. Located next to the Exposition line MTA train, the building has 5 stories with 90 units.
So how come no one wants to live at 1625 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica 90401? Could be the high rates, which are high even by Santa Monica standards. A studio apartment starts at $3000. Three bedrooms can cost you up to $7K each month.
So how many empty units are there? Evidently, lots. There are 22 units with three bedroom 2 bath units starting at $6330 a month. They are 1140 square feet and above.
Two bedrooms, two baths are 860 square feet and above, and there are eighteen (18) of those available. They cost $4700 to $5700, depending on whether or not you have a view of the railroad tracks or Lincoln Blvd (yum).
One bedroom with one bathroom rent from $3700 to $5000 a month, and there are 53 of them currently available. The smallest is 608 square feet, the largest is 808 square feet.
And finally, the studios which start at $3100 and go to $4400? There are 17 of those.
This adds up to 110 units. There are only 90 units in the building. But some units are listed in overlapping categories (i.e. both as one bedroom and also as studios).
In any event the awful truth is clear. Two years after completion, the Catherine is empty.
"Catherine Santa Monica is bringing a new sophisticated living concept to downtown Santa Monica," says the building's website. "Catherine is a lifestyle solution, modern residences for career-focused, schedule-intense individuals who desire an exceptionally convenient living experience." Which means you're just four blocks from the train station, which runs right outside your windows day and night.
My conclusion: After two years, the block apartment buildings on Lincoln Blvd are a failure. Why exactly is the City of Santa Monica approving any more of them? Nothing personal against Catherine. The neighboring apartment structures, built in a rush during the last two years, are probably just as empty.
To be fair, units do feature many modern and beautiful amenities, and there is a pool in the courtyard. And there is that view of the trains, right?