Designs Reflect a Commitment to Smart Growth Principles
November 16, 2012 -- Los Angeles, CA — In the last few months Withee Malcolm Architects has joined new residents, representatives from the cities of Anaheim, Carson, San Diego and Whittier, California, as well members of the region’s leading affordable housing developers to celebrate the openings of four affordable communities designed for families:
- In the City of Anaheim, the Withee Malcolm worked with Related California on the design of Vintage Crossing, a 92-unit apartment community that achieved LEED Platinum certification, which opened in September.
- In the City of Carson, also working with Related, the architects designed the VIA425, which welcomed families to 65 new apartment homes in October.
- In San Diego, Withee Malcolm provided design for the Mission Apartments, an AMCAL Multi-Housing development that includes 85 units of affordable workforce housing adjacent to the historic Mission Brewery. The project opened in early November.
- In the City of Whittier, the architects worked with LINC Housing on Mosaic Gardens, a new 21-unit affordable housing community — the first of its type in the city — that opened in late October.
“While each of the communities has been planned and designed to meet the specific challenges of their sites and context of the individual neighborhoods, what they share is a smart growth approach to urban infill development,” said Dan Withee, founding partner of Withee Malcolm Architects. “Each of them provides high quality affordable housing with easy access to transit and neighborhood services, and they are environmentally and socially sustainable. It takes vision and leadership on the part of the developers and the cities to make these projects possible.”
Affordable housing has proven to be a powerful catalyst for redevelopment across Southern California. As Carson Mayor Jim Dear observed at the VIA425 opening, “The development provides first rate affordable housing opportunities for Carson families, while also creating a vibrant and an inviting street environment to enliven a key artery of our city.” VIA425, located on the Carson Street corridor, is one of four projects designed by Withee Malcolm in the redevelopment area. Other projects include Villagio, the first mixed-use project in the area, and The Gateway, the most recent, and Renaissance which will open next year.
As the redevelopment of a former industrial site, Vintage Crossings represents the beginning of a strategic effort to revitalize the surrounding Avon-Dakota neighborhood in Anaheim. The difficult site had little street frontage, a side alley on one side and double train tracks on the other. Thoughtful planning turned the alley into a street front with a distinct edge and a welcoming entrance to a new neighborhood of affordable apartments, a community center and a preschool center operated by the Anaheim School District.
“Great neighborhoods are the hallmark of great cities, and Vintage Crossings will provide tremendous opportunities to its residents,” said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. “Quality affordable housing for working families with children and programs for early education and enrichment for our youth is just the first step in giving these Anaheim residents a place to enjoy and call home for years to come.”
Mission Apartments, located in the North Bay Redevelopment Area north of downtown San Diego and near the airport, provides numerous benefits to the city and achieves multiple objectives, including greatly needed additional affordable housing units, the delivery of quality on-site social services, community investment, redevelopment, and a rare “Smart Growth” opportunity to provide transit-oriented development where workers can take advantage of existing mass transit facilities.
Although smaller in size than the other developments, Mosaic Gardens has had a big impact on its neighborhood as well. Whittier Mayor Owen Newcomer shared his enthusiasm with the crowd that gathered for the opening celebration saying, “This new building is located at a major entrance to Whittier. The architecture is beautiful, and it’s a wonderful contribution to our city.” 500 Families entered the lottery for a chance to live in the development with ready access to many amenities including a public park, elementary and high schools, public transportation, retail shopping, and other service opportunities — all located within a half mile of the site.
“These projects set new standards, not only for affordable housing, but for all new urban development,” commented Withee. “They overcome constraints and maximize site opportunities, introducing scale and architectural character to neighborhoods, integrating new mixes of uses and putting residents in sometimes surprising locations close to transit, parks, schools and shopping.”
Withee Malcolm Architects serves clients in the residential and commercial industrial markets throughout the West from their offices in Torrance, California. For more information on the firm, visit www.witheemalcolm.com