I was unable to attend today’s ground breaking ceremony for the Santa Ana Station District Redevelopment Project this afternoon. The City did provide an event release upon which I am basing this story.
SANTA ANA, CA – The City of Santa Ana Redevelopment Agency and Related California, a real estate developer specializing in affordable and market rate multifamily and mixed-use residential properties in California, have started construction on 74 units of apartment homes for low income families in the Lacy Neighborhood of the Santa Ana Station District. A groundbreaking ceremony attended by City Officials, community members, and other partners was being held Tuesday January 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm at the project site at 600 N. Lacy Street in Santa Ana (Corner of Lacy Street and Santa Ana Blvd).
The groundbreaking begins the first of three phases of new residential development made possible by Redevelopment. The project phases are anticipated to include a mix of affordable rental and for sale apartments and townhomes totaling 138 units (99 new construction apartment units, an anticipated 24 new construction homeownership units and 15 rental units that will be rehabilitated from existing vacant residences). The Station District Apartment homes project is one of the first major new developments to commence construction under the City’s Transit Zoning Code adopted in June 2010 to promote transit-oriented development in the area surrounding the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center (SARTC).
“This project serves as an extraordinary example of Santa Ana Redevelopment Agency’s efforts and commitment to provide quality affordable housing for the community as an outgrowth of a comprehensive and collaborative approach to planning and development. Careful planning, selection of the right development team, and the involvement of the community has created a remarkable housing opportunity, one that adds to the vitality of the neighborhood and city as a whole,” Mayor Miguel Pulido.
The City of Santa Ana Redevelopment Agency selected related California, along with Joint Venture Partner Griffin Realty Corporation in 2009 through a competitive Request for Qualifications Process as Master Developer for the Station District. The Station District which encompasses 94 acres of land to the west of the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center and is generally situated within in the Lacy neighborhood, has been a focal point of both City and County transportation, infrastructure and transit oriented development planning.
“Related is proud to be starting on this first phase of development with the City of Santa Ana,” said Bill Witte, Related California’s president and CEO. “As a company committed to building the highest quality affordable housing, sustainable infill development, and revitalizing communities, we are excited about this project and the larger vision it begins to implement in the Station District.
“There is a tremendous need for affordable family housing in our community where overcrowding and substandard housing conditions are all too prevalent for our low income families,” said Councilwoman Michele Martinez. “This groundbreaking ceremony is historic because it symbolizes hope and the American dream.”
According to Witte, one of the most outstanding aspects and unique challenges of project design was planning development on 10 City-owned sites scattered throughout the existing Lacy neighborhood. The project’s design was driven both by respect for the existing neighborhood context and promoting transit/pedestrian oriented urban building forms. Moreover, the project will preserve some existing residential structures through historic rehabilitation as one component of the planned Phase II rental housing development. “This is a unique neighborhood which necessitated a unique development solution,” said Witte, “We’re proud of what’s come out of our planning process and look forward to opening the doors next year.”
“The Station District development is a great example of a successful private and public redevelopment partnership that enhances the quality of life for lower income families and improves neighborhoods in the City of Santa Ana. Having addressed the community’s priorities through a collaborative planning process, the Station District development will increase healthy and quality affordable home opportunities. The development will also create a cohesive community by providing important neighborhood amenities to residents, such as an on-site child care center and a community center at the neighborhood school,” added Cesar Covarrubias, Executive Director of the Kennedy Commission.
“The Station District is a key gateway into Santa Ana, and a major opportunity for high quality transit-oriented development to connect SARTC with the rest of the City and County,” said Interim City Manager Paul Walters. “This groundbreaking is an important step in realizing the Station District’s full potential.”
Collaboration with the community as part of this effort has also resulted in additional Station District improvement projects that the City has recently completed or initiated. These include the Lacy neighborhood Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – funded sewer and water improvements as well as the upgrading of street lighting fixtures in conjunction with Southern California Edison to help improve nighttime safety conditions. A 10,000 square foot Community Center is also being developed in partnership with the Santa Ana Unified School District at Garfield Elementary School. The community center is expected to be under construction in early 2012.
“With the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the abolishment of Redevelopment throughout the state, the City is aggressively participating with the California Community Redevelopment Association, State League of California cities, and the Big Ten Cities to initiate legislation to mitigate the losses to cities and to restore critical affordable housing, economic development and job generating programs that will assist our community. Without Redevelopment, affordable housing projects such as the Station District would not be possible,” added Interim City Manager Paul Walters.
About the Station District Development
The Station District Apartment Homes Phase I will include 74 units of large family affordable rental housing which are currently under construction and expected for completion in 1st Quarter 2013. Phase II will include an additional 40 units of large family affordable rental housing involving a combination of new construction and historic rehabilitation of existing residential structures. Phase II is expected to commence construction in March 2012. In addition, a third phase of for sale housing, to be developed by City Ventures, will include approximately 24 units of large family homes, with the first component of 8 townhomes expected to commence construction in Spring 2012.
About Related California
Related California is a fully integrated real estate firm that develops affordable and market rate multifamily and mixed-use residential properties in California. Since opening the west coast headquarters in 1989, the company has completed more than 8,500 residential homes throughout California. Related has partnered with over 20 municipalities and over 25 non-profit organizations in Northern California (San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, San Jose) and Southern California (Los Angeles City, Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, San Diego and San Diego County).
The Related California portfolio includes more than $2.5 billion worth of developments. This level of activity sets the company apart from most in the industry and creates substantial purchasing and negotiating leverage, allowing Related to develop and operate assets efficiently while maintaining its standards of high quality and service. For more information about Related California, visit www.relatedcalifornia.com
About Related Companies
Related Companies is the most prominent privately owned real estate firm in the United States. Formed over 39 years ago, Related is a fully integrated, highly diversified industry leader with experience in virtually every aspect of development, acquisitions, management, finance, marketing and sales. Related has offices and major developments in New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco and South Florida and boasts a team of more than 2,000 professionals. The Company’s existing portfolio of real estate assets, valued at over $15 billion, is made up of best in class mixed-use, residential, retail, office, trade show and affordable properties in premier high-barrier-to-entry markets. For more information, visit www.related.com
About the City of Santa Ana
The City of Santa Ana is home to more than 350,000 residents and was recently named the 4th Safest City in the Unites States by Forbes Magazine. Santa Ana’s Community Redevelopment Agency has been actively involved in the development of affordable housing for its community for many years. The Agency’s/City’s multi-faceted approach includes new construction as well as acquisition-rehabilitation, rehabilitation, first-time homebuyer programs, and rental subsidies; all designed to provide a range of quality affordable housing opportunities.