A hostel located a short walk from Santa Monica Beach could be poised for expansion, according to a staff report to the Santa Monica Planning Commission.

The hostel, which opened in 1990 at 1436 2nd Street, currently consists of a four-story edifice containing 200 beds with associated offices and retail space.  The non-profit organization which owns and operates the facility, American Youth Hostels, Inc., is seeking approvals to raze a dining hall and small parking area at the rear of the building to make way for a five-story expansion consisting of 40 new beds.

Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio is designing the project, which would employ prefabricated modular units rather than traditional wood-frame or concrete construction.  The placement of the expanded footprint at the rear of the site would leave the hostel's appearance largely unchanged when viewed form 2nd Street, according to elevation plans.

The hostel is built around the Rapp Saloon, a small brick building which dates to 1875.  The property, which is as old as Santa Monica itself, was named as the City's first historic landmark in 1975.

As was the case when first developing the hostel in the late 1980s, American Youth Hostels proposes to retain the Rapp Saloon.  However, several minor alterations are proposed for the building, including lowering the raised interior floor, removing concrete steps at the exterior, and extending the door to sidewalk level to improve access to the property.

The staff report recommends that the Commission should approve the project.

American Youth Hostels, Inc. - also known as Hostelling International USA - operates hostels across the United States, including a second Los Angeles area facility in San Pedro.