Los Angeles—Thomas Safran and Associates has developed Del Rey Square Senior Apartments, a 124-unit community in the upscale neighborhood on the Westside of Los Angeles, while AMCAL Multi-Housing has developed Portola Terrace, a 45-unit affordable community for families and young professionals in historic Temecula in Riverside County.
Both affordable housing communities were designed by Withee Malcolm Architects.
“There has been no affordable housing built in the area for many years and the number of senior residents in the community in need of low-cost housing was growing as was the number of homeless seniors and veterans,” Dan Withee, founding partner of Withee Malcolm Architects, tells MHN. “Del Rey Square is planned and designed to foster community building activities and provides special enhancement for seniors from easy-to-open door handles to regularly scheduled activities including educational workshops, exercise classes and socializing.”
Del Rey Square came about as a public private partnership between the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Housing Department and TSA. It offers spacious studios and one-bedroom apartment units.
According to Withee, due to the project’s location in a relatively affluent community, neighbors were opposed to the development. The architects responded with a plan that protected privacy of near neighbors with careful step backs and minimal windows on the side facing the single-family homes. Apartments are oriented into the courtyards with lush landscaping, gracious patios, barbecues, a picnic area and a Jacuzzi.
Amenities include two community rooms, a state-of-the-art health and fitness center, a lounge with pool table, card table and a grand piano, a media room with large screen TV and a computer lab. Roof decks also offer views of the city.
In addition to offering affordable housing for seniors, Del Rey Square is providing permanent supportive housing and services to 31 formerly homeless civilians and veterans, who have received assistance from TSA and St. Joseph Center, a non-profit organization working with the homeless and working poor.
Portola Terrace is one of the first affordable housing developments in the City of Temecula, and is part of the city’s Pujol Street redevelopment effort.
“Portola Terrace, located in the edge of Old Town, provides a transition between the western sensibility of the historic center and the adjacent mix of single-family residences,” Ricky de la Rosa, an architect with Withee Malcolm Architects, tells MHN. “The Spanish Revival architecture of buildings presents as townhouses along Pujol Street complete with welcoming entry stoops. Yet the overall plan centers the residences around a landscaped courtyard with a pool and tot-lot.”
According to de la Rosa, the Portola Terrace residences are available to households earning between 50 percent and 60 percent of area median income ($75,335, according to a 2007 estimate).
Portola Terrace achieved a LEED Gold certification, the first for homebuilding in the entire City of Temecula. Sustainable design practices that have been implemented at Portola Terrace include infiltration of all storm water that hits the site through vegetative landscape, exceptional energy performance exceeding Title 24 Part 6 Building Energy, Efficiency Standards by over 30 percent and high efficiency ENERGY STAR appliances.