Urban Housing Begins Construction on Affordable Community in Big Bear Lake

Santa Ana, Calif.--Urban Housing Communities LLC (UHC) will construct The Crossings at Big Bear Lake, a 42-unit affordable housing community.

Santa Ana, Calif.–Urban Housing Communities LLC (UHC) will construct The Crossings at Big Bear Lake, a 42-unit affordable housing community developed in collaboration with the City of Big Bear Lake’s Improvement Agency, Bank of America, and architecture and planning firm KTGY Group, Inc. The $17 million community is expected to be ready next summer for local working families earning between 30 percent and 60 percent of San Bernardino County median income.

Designed by KTGY, The Crossings at Big Bear Lake will feature 28 two-bedroom two-story townhomes and 14 three-bedroom single-story apartments averaging approximately 1,100 square feet. Each unit will offer central heat, ceiling fans, a covered patio or balcony, energy-efficient kitchen appliances, washer/dryer hookups, high-speed Internet access and be wired for cable television. Rents are expected to range from $449 to $1,038 per month, based on family size and income level.

Located on 2.60 acres of land on Knickerbocker Road between Pennsylvania Avenue and Maryland Road south of Big Bear Blvd. (Highway 18), the community will feature a 2,500 square foot community room, a computer lab, a fully-equipped kitchen, a manager’s office, picnic and BBQ areas, a playground, laundry facilities and landscaped courtyard areas.

The community room will serve as the location of a supportive services program provided by UHC’s non-profit partner, Central Valley Coalition for Affordable Housing (CVCAH).  Designed to meet residents’ specific physical, educational, professional and social needs, CVCAH’s supportive services program will offer health clinics, after-school tutoring, budget planning, credit counseling, resume writing, computer training, fitness/nutrition classes, and targeted youth and senior.

The Crossings at Big Bear Lake represents a milestone for the city, which is home to over 6,000 full-time residents. While the city does offer some affordable housing, its stock consists mainly of aging single-family homes and one affordable senior community. The Crossings at Big Bear Lake will be the City’s first affordable community targeted toward families.

“Most people know Big Bear Lake as a vacation destination, but it’s also a city that confronts the same issues of housing, healthcare and education as more urban areas,” says John Bigley, COO of Urban Housing Communities. “A certain level of affordability is required to sustain the local workforce that supports the city’s year-round recreation activities that entice vacationers to the area, such as skiing and snowboarding during the winter and boating and biking in the summer. We believe the quality affordable housing offered by The Crossings at Big Bear Lake will help the city achieve its long-term goals by attracting and retaining both businesses and employees,” Bigley adds.

It is situated adjacent to a new neighborhood of single-family developments and across from Big Bear Elementary School, The Crossings at Big Bear Lake will improve vacant, untended property. “The new residential apartment community was planned and designed to fit in with the image of the Big Bear Mountain community,” says KTGY’s Chris Texter, AIA, LEED AP and Principal. “Heavy timber wood details can be seen in the corbels supporting the large roof overhangs that are common in Big Bear. The apartment homes are part of a redevelopment infill and include heavy timber gable end framing, stone veneer and siding. Each building is planned in such a way to respect and add to the current street scene, residences, trees and other site opportunities and are oriented around a central garden, tot lot and community center amenities for the families,” Texter adds.

SL Residential, the general contractor for the project, began construction on July 15 and plans to recycle at least 75 percent of construction waste. Other eco-friendly design features include solar panels for generating electricity to the community room and common areas; gas condensing tankless water heaters; Energy Star rated lighting, windows and gas appliances; “Dark Sky” compliant exterior lighting; water-saving fixtures in the kitchens and bathrooms; high-efficiency dual-flush toilets; flooring, railings, furniture, BBQs, and trash and recycling receptacles made from recycled content; zero-VOC interior paints and low-VOC interior finishes and adhesives; building materials that contain recycled content and do not emit harmful chemicals; and bike racks. Early in the design process, UHC consulted an arborist in an effort to preserve some of the existing onsite trees.