Affordable housing developer is a leader in transit-oriented development with four properties built and one under construction
By Genevieve Smith
Photography by JuanTallo.com
In an urban environment, transit-oriented development makes a real difference. Jamboree Housing Corporation knows . . . it has developed four TOD properties in urban areas and is in the process of developing a fifth, with others in various stages of pre-development. Jamboree’s first TOD property, Laurel Crest in Lancaster, CA, north of Los Angeles was completed in 2007 and was a pioneer in transit-oriented development with several public transit services within walking distance including Metrolink light rail. Laurel Crest was followed in 2009 by Puerto del Sol in Long Beach, CA, also near a Metrolink station and the city’s public transit system.
The benefits of TOD combined with affordable housing are important. According to a 2014 report by Enterprise Community Investment, Inc., “Impact of Affordable Housing on Families and Communities: A Review of the Evidence Base,” the availability of affordable housing in transit-rich areas is crucial to maintaining housing access for lower income residents. “Many low-income families have been forced to live outside city centers to areas where housing is more affordable and access to public transportation is limited. These families often spend more on driving than healthcare, education or food,” states the Enterprise study.
The benefits are also measurable. A case in point is Jamboree’s West Gateway Place workforce housing now under construction in West Sacramento. West Gateway Place was the first TOD project funded by California’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Community Program, to break ground and is slated for completion early 2017. According to the California Strategic Growth Council, TOD developments such as West Gateway Place will help fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 723,286 metric tons—the equivalent of taking 140,483 cars off the road for one year, saving 81 million gallons of gas. This is equal to all the residents of California cities Citrus Heights and Newport Beach not driving for a year.
The Exchange at Gateway
While Jamboree is well underway with development of West Gateway Place, it recently completed construction on another TOD property, The Exchange at Gateway in El Monte, CA. Part of El Monte Gateway, a 14-acre mixed-used village 12 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, The Exchange was built as a public/private partnership between the City of El Monte, Jamboree and Grapevine Advisors, LLC, El Monte Gateway’s master developer. The urban village is planned to include both market-rate and affordable housing as well as 25,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants, creating new opportunities for businesses in El Monte and its historic downtown.
The 132-unit Exchange at Gateway workforce housing is Jamboree’s first development in partnership with the City of El Monte. The $37.9 million multifamily property was developed on a 2.1-acre urban infill site – formerly El Monte’s public works yard. A significant component of The Exchange’s sustainability footprint is its adjacency to the El Monte Station, considered one of the largest transit centers in the western U.S. that serves more than 35,000 public transportation riders daily. The El Monte Station also accommodates bicycle use with 60 bike parking spots and a repair stand.
“The Exchange at Gateway not only offers quality affordable housing for working families, but it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing public transportation services within walking distance of the property,” said Laura Archuleta, Jamboree president. “This is the third transit-oriented development that Jamboree has built in Los Angeles County, which is a significant milestone for our company as we pursue our mission to work hand-in-hand with local jurisdictions to create strong, healthy, sustainable communities.”
For a healthier environment for residents, the property is 100 percent smoke-free. In keeping with Jamboree’s commitment to sustainability, The Exchange is designed to achieve a LEED for Homes Gold rating and exceeds California’s Title 24 energy efficiency standards by at least 33 percent. The sustainable design includes solar power that offsets 8 percent of the building energy consumption and drought tolerant, native plants coupled with a highly efficient irrigation system reduce exterior water usage by 61 percent.
Courier Place Apartment Homes
A pioneer in its own right, Courier Place Apartment Homes in Claremont, CA, is another of Jamboree’s transit-oriented development that is multigenerational. It was also the first multigenerational development to be financed by the County of Los Angeles Community Development Commission’s Economic/Redevelopment Division.
Located adjacent to the Claremont Transportation Center that is served by the Metrolink commuter train, convenient access to public transit is only part of Courier Place’s sustainability footprint. A highly rated walkable property, Courier Place is within a half mile of 350 public bus stops and less than a quarter mile from downtown Claremont Village and the Claremont Colleges campus.
Courier Place’s sustainable development is rated LEED for Homes Platinum and exceeds California’s Title 24 CalGreen energy efficiency requirements by more than 35 percent. Solar panels provide 17 percent of the property’s power for common areas and water-efficient, drought tolerant landscaping served by a highly efficient drip irrigation system that uses 50 percent less water than traditional landscape. Additionally, an onsite storm water retention system captures and recycles storm water runoff.
West Gateway Place
Developed by Jamboree in partnership with the West Sacramento Housing Development Corporation, Phase I of West Gateway Place is a mixed-use development consisting of two urban designed buildings that encompass 77 apartments and approximately 4,000 square feet of retail space, 12,000 square feet of common area, and podium parking. West Gateway Place is planned as the first phase of a multigenerational community for seniors and families in West Sacramento’s Bridge District.
West Gateway Place made news on August 14, 2015, when the transit-oriented development was the first Affordable Housing and Sustainable Community (AHSC) funded residential project in California to break ground. The AHSC funds are generated from cap and trade auction proceeds. West Gateway Place was first because it was “shovel ready” upon receiving $2.6 million in AHSC funds allocated by the California Strategic Growth Council to support the development of the workforce housing property.
Part of the California Climate Investments portfolio, the AHSC Program is implemented by the Department of Housing and Community Development in coordination with the Strategic Growth Council and California Air Resources Board. Now engaged in its 2016 selection process, this program awards competitive cap-and-trade grants and loans from the state’s greenhouse gas reduction fund to projects that reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) via access to public transit and non-carbon transportation options such as walking and biking.
One of 28 projects selected from the 2015 program, West Gateway Place is a family-centered, walkable development being constructed on a 1.17-acre site that integrates a network of bicycle and pedestrian paths connected to the surrounding Bridge District community. The Bridge District is on track to create 4,000 residential units, five million square feet of commercial space and another 5,000 square feet of retail space. The city estimates that the district will be home for 9,380 residents and encompass 16,000 jobs in a walkable, green-certified, riverfront community.
“As the City of West Sacramento reclaims its industrial waterfront as one of the region’s best opportunities for urban, sustainable living connected to jobs and services by walking, biking, and a forthcoming streetcar, we’re insistent that great places are mixed-income places,” said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. “That’s why the West Gateway Place project makes high-quality, mixed-use affordable housing the centerpiece linking together three of the city’s urban revitalization districts.”
West Gateway Place’s urban styled exterior is a melding of stucco and metal panels, and will be oriented to create a central community courtyard with a barbecue area and tot lot. Designed for LEED for Homes Silver rating, the property is to be served by a local commuter rail system that will give residents the convenient option to use public transit. The property’s sustainable features will help reduce carbon pollution and avoid climate change impacts through the site’s transit-oriented location and energy-efficient design, creating a healthier living environment for all residents, according to Archuleta.
“Creating healthier communities is one of our company’s key initiatives so it’s an honor for us to be involved in the development of this pioneering workforce housing property,” said Archuleta. “We also greatly appreciate the fact that West Gateway Place was selected for the AHSC Program funds, without which this transit-oriented development would not be a reality.”
Genevieve Smith is an Assistant Editor for Green Home Builder magazine. She may be reached at email@example.com.