KTGY Recognized for Planned Affordable Urban Infill Senior Community

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorLos Angeles—KTGY Group Inc., Architecture and Planning has been awarded the 2009 Best of 50+ Housing Gold Award by the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) in the category of “Best Multifamily Rental 50+ Community (Affordable)-On the Boards” for its design and planning of Echo Park. The property is a 90-unit affordable urban infill senior apartment community that is designed for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification. KTGY has been awarded with at least one Best of 50+ Housing Award annually since 2004. Last year, KTGY received the Best of 50+ Housing Gold Award in the category of “Multifamily Housing: Overall Community—Income-Qualified Affordable Rental Apartments”for Garden Grove Senior Apartments in Garden Grove, Calif.  “There are special things that need to be taken into account when you design housing for seniors and active adults. Our firm has always paid attention to what those are,” Manny Gonzalez, AIA, LEED AP, principal at KTGY, tells MHN. He says that, like Echo Boomers, active adults tend to prefer smaller units with more community space that allow them to interact with other residents.As such, the new 1.24-acre affordable urban infill redevelopment project that is being developed by Foursquare Foundation will feature a 2,230-sq.-ft. solarium, pool, fitness center, and a hobby and craft room.Gonzalez notes that faith-based communities appear to be doing comparatively well in this market. “Part of what’s going on is they are trying to leverage finances they have into income-producing properties,” he explains. In addition, the community features a 3,000-sq.-ft. multi-purpose room that is designed to serve as a Chapel for the community—which is intended to provide housing for members of the church, as well as retired pastors—and surrounding neighborhood. The space includes a courtyard, fountain and potting shed. “What we tried to do is create an efficient building with tuck-under parking and a meaningful open space behind the building to separate it from the apartment building on the hill behind us. By pushing down the building, we are preserving the views of residents on the bluff behind us,” explains Gonzalez.Some possible green features will include photovoltaic cells to power common areas and a stormwater treatment center for water conservation. In addition, because the site is in close proximity to open spaces, parks and retail, the project team hopes to have a reduced impact on traffic and parking.The four-story community will be built in what Gonzalez describes as a “Spanish Mediterranean” style. “We selected that because we felt it was most appropriate—the [church] across the street is a classic-style building, and we thought this building and a light-colored Spanish style architecture would be a nice complement to the existing [church].”Echo Park, which is located on the northwest corner of one of Los Angeles’ historic parks and adjacent to the Angelus Temple, which is home to the faith-based group that is developing this community, offers studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, ranging in size from 360 sq. ft. to 795 sq. ft. The project team is currently undergoing the neighborhood review and city planning approval process and hopes to have the project in the ground by the end of 2009, with occupancy by the end of 2010.The winners of the 2009 Best of 50+ Housing Awards were announced during NAHB’s Building for Boomers & Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium in Philadelphia, PA on April 28, 2009. Gonzalez served as the chairman of this year’s 50+ Housing Symposium.