Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

24 Months After Completion, the Massive Block Apartments on Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica are Empty

The awful truth is two years after completion, the Catherine Apartments stand pretty much devoid of people.

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. According to the building's website, studio apartments start 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 bathrooms, 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 units rent for $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, including a really attractive swimming pool in the courtyard. And there is that view of the trains, right?


Reader Comments(6)

WriterGuy writes:

Why is it the city’s concern if this building is rented or not? Isn’t the developer the one in the line for the millions spent to build these apartments? I agree the rents seems way out of line, but if the developer would rather have a half-empty building rather than lower the rents, that’s their business decision. Or am o missing some city role in this boondoggle??

socalnanynan writes:

So, tear down the empty buildings and bring back Norms. Or maybe lower the rents drastically and make it an affordable building.

TaGrandma writes:

If a person can pay that much in rent they probably would not choose those apts first. New is nice but being by the train is NOT good. I have lived that close to city trains and it's not pleasant.

Oscar writes:

I’ve seen the units. They are sterile, synthetic, and will be tired and rundown in a few years.building these block buildings and trying to have 250 people cram their cars and bicycles into to these uninspiring nondescript buildings where maybe 10 people occupied the same footprint For part of the retail day, is sad. More traffic, noise, crime, and broken leases from people who will not be able to afford their rent…….sad.

6782 writes:

Think the pandemic has something to do with these units being empty. The community lost Norms, a very popular, reasonably priced diner though. I remember reading the developer paid top dollar for the site. So, the rents are sky high. What’s the city’s plan to fill these apartments with renters when we have a housing shortage.

horizonskyline writes:

I didn't see a source for the data on the apartments. lists a number of available units, but they're broken down into so many categories, it's hard to come up with totals. The Catherine web site doesn't seem to say the number of available units. What's the source for the data?