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Denny's Property Sold for $11 Million

Two neighboring sites home to Norm's and Wertz Brothers Antique Mart are currently on the market. The listing agent says there's potential for some major development projects.

The lot on Lincoln Boulevard was snatched up for more than $11 million last month—one of at least three decades-old properties along the mid-city corridor likely to undergo a major transformation in the coming years.

Two of the diner's neighbors, and furniture, are currently on the market and are being billed by the listing agent as prime spots for redevelopment.

When the Santa Monica City Council adopted new zoning rules two years ago to promote combined commercial/retail/housing developments—applicable to Denny's, Norm's and theantique store—the value of the properties soared, prompting the owners’ desire to sale, according to listing agent Patrick Wade of Santa Monica-based Marcus & Millichap.

Though it would likely take a few years for the city to approve any new developments, "what is definite is the existing structures are not going to be there in the long term," Wade said.

"Because of the density that's allowed to be built there, it doesn’t make sense to have all that parking and open space."

At the northwest corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue, Denny's has 1 ½ years left on its 20-year lease that began in March of 1968. Escrow closed on the site Jan. 31.

As with Norms and Wertz, Wade speculated that new zoning ordinance, known locally as LUCE, will allow the businesses to remain open, perhaps as first-floor operations below apartments or condos.

The ordinance aims “to transform properties into vibrant, diverse, and attractive pedestrian friendly boulevards that support local-serving retail and a diversity of housing types,” Marcus & Millichap wrote in its call for bids on the sites.

Wertz is the oldest of the three sites. Since 1931, its sold vintage art, fashions, furniture from the beige stucco building at 1607 Lincoln Blvd. Located immediately adjacent to Norms, Wade said he expects the same buyer to purchase both properties.

Combined, they would total 1.49 acres of land, “creating the opportunity to develop the largest current land project in Santa Monica.”

Not far from the sites, a developer is inching closer to winning the city's approval to build a 285-room hotel and 15,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space at the corner of Seventh Street and Wilshire Boulevard.

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Gary Kavanagh February 10, 2012 at 10:32 PM
There is no such thing as free parking, only parking paid by someone else. If you shop somewhere with free parking, the cost of providing and maintaining is borne by moving those costs on the goods and services of the business, or in the case of government subsidized car parking, moving the cost to all tax payers. In essence everyone who shops but does not drive (which would include myself), provides a subsidy for others to park in locations where drivers are not obligated to pay anything for their substantial extra cost burdens. Drivers need to start to paying for their land use, coddling drivers for decades has been an enormous drain on the US economy. As for the "open space" in question, it is a Denny's parking lot, a desolate and unattractive space serving a generic chain restaurant. It will hardly be missed. Meanwhile a real open space suitable for recreation and enjoyment is being created a few blocks North, on the site of what had been yet another parking lot. The providing of excessive parking for cars has been the greatest impediment to providing true public and civic spaces.
Wendy Frederick January 21, 2013 at 11:24 PM
What is WRONG with the City Council that they continue to allow these developers to ruin Santa Monica!??? Eddie, you are correct. Time to go to another city where it's more "business friendly." You can't even go to downtown Santa M. anymore. It's a total ZOO down there. Yesterday, I went to mail one letter, and it took me forever just to do that! Too many people driving around who haven't a clue where they are going! I couldn't wait to get out of that mess! I miss the old Santa Monica. It is something we will NEVER see again!
Val Streit January 22, 2013 at 02:12 AM
It's not just parking downtown for some of us, it is parking on your own street. If you live near UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center and are not on a permitted street, you know what I mean. Almost 80% of our parking is taken up on a daily basis by hospital employees who do not want to pay for parking. Now add to that on 14th Street there is construction at Lincoln Middle School and they took three quarters of the block on that side away for 18 months! So now in the 1000 block we only have one side of the street for residents to park! The City Council, City Manager and Mayor were all alerted to our problem and we asked if they could expedite our Preferential Parking. This process started back in the middle of December and we still have them dragging their heels. They told us that they are talking to neighboring businesses to see if we can park there!! Why should we have to park somewhere other then our own street? It is a daily stressful situation for residents and if you have been down 14th between Wilshire and Montana you have seen the K-Rail.
alicia April 01, 2013 at 04:48 AM
Sadly those days are gone by...I was born here,I grew up here my parents married here and I have left because of the incredible destruction to our once wonderful community that now is only for the yuppified and selfish. No longer is it a community it is a money pit to draw in more money.
Wendy Frederick April 03, 2013 at 05:55 PM
I like the comment from Alicia saying Santa M. is now very Yuppified! That is so true! It's crowded, snobish, getting way too expensive. I still stay by 4th and Ocean - it's still down-to-earth there - I stay away from anything that is North of me!

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