Unique Plan for 211-Acre SoCal Mixed-Use Community
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Writer
Brea, Calif.–Ground has broken on La Floresta Brea, a mixed-use residential community in Brea, Calif., designed to emerge as an open, multi-generational neighborhood that will blend in like it’s always been on the 122-acre site that had been home to the former Unocal Oil Company’s research and development center for a half century.
La Floresta Brea, a development endeavor of Chevron Land & Development Co., was master-planned by KTGY Group Inc., Architecture and Planning, and it will not be the traditional master-planned development. “With all great places you have a vision, and one of the unique aspects of this project is the fact that Chevron has a 50-year history in this area and they wanted to continue with that legacy,” Ken Ryan, principal with KTGY, tells MHN. The Orange County Chapter of the Building Industry Association of Southern California described the vision best in the title of a recently held program in which Ryan participated, “Creating a Community within a Community–Neighborhood Spotlight–La Floresta Brea.” What will make La Floresta a true community is its diversity of product and residents.
The gargantuan pedestrian-centric, transit-oriented development will ultimately offer approximately 1,357 residences—affordable housing, market-rate and for-sale units–including single-family homes, apartments, townhomes, live/work condominiums and active-adult residences. 1,100 units will be built on a 119-acre segment of the property, while the remaining 247 units will be erected on a 92-acre reconfigured golf-course site. The development’s list of amenities dovetails with the goal of creating a community within a community. Not only will La Floresta Brea feature a plethora of walkways, trails and parks, it will also encompass an 18-hole public golf course, specialty retail, restaurants, professional service offices and the New Brea Community Center.
While KTGY spearheaded the planning of La Floresta Brea, just about everyone with the right to have a say was given the opportunity to participate in the process. “We spoke to neighborhoods and business owners, and anyone with a stake in the project,” Ryan recalls. “We worked with those folks, we embraced them, and that helped guide this project.”
The final plan is reflective of all those opinions. It is a blueprint for a custom-designed master-planned community. “The market is really rich for the type of project we’re doing, which is a multi-generational, walkable community.”
If the vast amount of anticipated residential units seems over the top, it isn’t. The number was arrived at through the very careful planning process. “In Brea, there is a high percentage of people who grew up there and want to stay there, a higher percentage than in any other city in Orange County,” he says.
The seniors housing component of La Floresta Brea, Oakmont Senior Living, is the first of the residences to get underway and is on track to reach completion in 2012. “There is a general shortage of residential in Brea, and one of the challenges is housing for the age-qualified population. La Floresta Brea is perfect for seniors who don’t want as much space but desire diverse amenities. This project has a great amenities package.” And the seniors will not be pushed off to the side or hidden in the background. The gated enclave will be connected to all segments of the behemoth property by the mixed-use village core. Additionally, the design of the age-qualified housing will be such that it will not be distinguishable by its appearance. Nor will the affordable housing units be identifiable as low-income residences by sight.
And just as the seniors housing component will be connected to all of La Floresta, La Floresta will be connected to its surrounding neighborhood. KTGY’s master plan smoothly incorporates the development into its surroundings.
“People wanted to stay connected to Brea, so La Floresta Brea will not be a walled community, it will be very open,” Ryan notes. “We did not want it to have a mass production feel, thus all the connecting trails. We wanted to create an organic maturation of town evolution so that the project looks like it was built over time.”