Construction has begun on a $350 million mixed-use development that officials say will complement the redevelopment of the Civic Center of Santa Monica while creating homes for a mix of income levels.

Santa Monica city officials and representatives of developer Related California broke ground Feb. 16 on The Village at Santa Monica, which will feature 158 condominium residences and 160 affordable apartments, 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, and walkable plazas and gardens.

The Village is the first major residential development to be built on Ocean Avenue in two decades and will offer Pacific Ocean views stretching from Palos Verdes to Point Dume, officials said.

Adjacent to the RAND Corp. headquarters, the new development is within walking distance of a diverse range of Santa Monica attractions and amenities, including the Third Street Promenade, pier, public parks and beaches. The mixed-use project will include a walk street to offer a connection between Main Street and Ocean Avenue through landscaped plazas lined with retail, restaurants and outdoor dining.

“The Village will enhance the image of Santa Monica as a place of beauty, style and spirit,” said Mayor Richard Bloom. “The city’s commitment to affordable housing is an integral part of this development. It will help ensure that Santa Monica is an accessible and welcoming community that fosters economic diversity.”

Along with The Village, the Civic Center area is primed for redevelopment with the proposed seven-acre Palisades Garden Walk park and Town Square to be constructed nearby, and the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium is also slated for a substantial renovation.

Officials tout that the Village complex will also provide convenient transit access starting in 2015 when the Metro Exposition Line is slated to come to Santa Monica.

“Our intent was to create the ultimate Santa Monica Village,” said Bill Witte, president and CEO of Related California. “We are very sensitive to the responsibility we have for this site that is a one-of-a-kind treasure. Thus, we brought together a superb team that can give it the sense of place it deserves.”

Related’s team of designers is led by Santa Monica based architects Moore Ruble Yudell, considered a leader in sustainable design with major projects around the world from the U.S. Embassy in Berlin to the Santa Monica Library. The Village is anticipated to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver status.

Officials additionally noted that The Village is expected to generate 1,500 construction jobs over its 24-month building cycle.

Project completion is slated for January 2014.

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