By Anuradha Kher, Online News Editor
Los Angeles–Palo Verde Terrace in Palmdale and The Gardens on Garfield in Glendale, two affordable housing projects designed by Withee Malcolm Architects’ are ready to open.
Palo Verde Terrace, a project of Amcal Multi-Housing Inc., is a 78-unit senior affordable community that is part of the City of Palmdale’s Civic Center Master Plan aimed at revitalizing the downtown core with a senior center and expanded open space.
“From site planning to details, designing affordable communities is always about creating the highest levels of livability and quality within constraints,” says Dan Withee, Withee Malcolm Architects’ principal. “We work shoulder-to-shoulder with the developer and the community to make these projects happen — from helping to secure financing to delivering an attractive and efficient residence that lives comfortably in the neighborhood and contributes to its vitality.”
Darin Hansen, vice president of Forward Planning and Entitlements for Amcal, says, “Seniors are underserved in affordable housing, and Palmdale is committed to changing that. With Palo Verde we are providing them with amenities that meet the standards of market rate housing in a distinctive building with a landscaped courtyard — you wouldn’t know it was affordable.”
“Designed in a contemporary southwestern style, the project is ‘at home’ in the desert context and climate of this fast growing city at the edge of the Mojave,” notes project designer Ricky de la Rosa. The project is also designed to meet LEED Silver Standards, incorporating features that exceed California’s Energy Efficient Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings by 15 percent.
Developed by Thomas Safran Associates, the Gardens on Garfield is a 30-unit tax credit property for families located in the City of Glendale. Designed to respond to the social needs of the community of residents, the Craftsman-style building provides a landscaped courtyard with views to and from the apartments, a children’s play area, and a well-appointed community room.
Located on a busy thoroughfare in a transitioning district, the building represents an investment in the neighborhood. “We are committed to creating a positive environment, considering the critical aspects including location, building design, tenants, and management,” says Andrew D. Gross, principal at Thomas Safran Associates. “Withee Malcolm understood the importance of the context for this project, helping to convince the city council and redevelopment agency of it value with the Arts and Crafts look of the project.” Scaled and detailed to reinforce a residential sensibility, the small property, with one, two and three bedrooms apartments, has a big impact on the surrounding community.
As Darin Hansen observes, “Cities don’t want ‘boxes’ for affordable housing and they need a team that shares their vision of community.” Dan Withee agrees, “Designing affordable housing is an exceptional opportunity to make a difference. The best projects are catalysts for change.”