Jamboree Housing and Newman Garrison + Partners create an affordable multigenerational community on church property in Garden Grove
By Abby Pittman
In spite of the persistent Southern California housing crisis, builders are still doing their best to create affordable, environmentally friendly housing for rent. Lately, many have been forming partnerships with cities and local organizations to brainstorm innovative solutions. One such collaboration resulted in the creation of Wesley Village, a 47-unit, mixed-use, multigenerational LEED Gold certified apartment community in Garden Grove, CA.
Nonprofit developer Jamboree Housing teamed up with a frequent collaborator, architectural firm Newman Garrison + Partners, as well as the City of Garden Grove and the Garden Grove United Methodist Church to execute their vision of a community designed for smart growth. The City’s Re:Imagine Garden Grove initiative, inaugurated in 2014, sought to create unique public spaces and improve the quality of life for its residents, something that factored into the development of Wesley Village.
When planning began in 2016, the Church was in possession of 2.2 acres of excess parking space and vacant land. Jamboree entered into a 60-year ground lease with the Church to repurpose the land into a vibrant housing development that could better benefit the community. This agreement also provides ongoing financial support to continue the Church’s 141-year legacy of charitable activities.
All parties involved in the development of Wesley Village communicated clearly and effectively, and the results were stunning. Tung Tran, Senior Director for Jamboree Housing, said, “This project was possible due to the private-public partnership between Jamboree, the Garden Grove United Methodist Church and the City to promote this smart growth development.”
“We took an underutilized portion of a church property and developed an attractive and quality intergenerational community for families and seniors as well as rebuilding an old child care facility.”
Kevin R. Newman, Chairman of Newman Garrison + Partners, also spoke on the importance of communication to the efficiency of the collaboration. “As the city of Garden Grove was also a part of the developer team, it was important to maintain good communication among the various team players. During the construction phase, the architect and general contractor held regular meetings on site to review progress and work out issues,” he said.
Due to the unusual shape of the land allocated for Wesley Village, the project team had to be creative with their planning. “Chief among the design issues to be solved is the varied programmatic uses, all located side by side on a narrow plot of excess church parking lot,” Newman detailed. “The site design had to integrate all the uses, provide sufficient parking for all users, and connect to the city streets for a required neighborhood pedestrian walking path. The design successfully achieved all the stated goals and provides a great asset to the city of Garden Grove.”
Wesley Village consists of two three-story buildings, one containing 16 residences designated for seniors, and the other offering 31 apartments for working families. The apartments can contain one to three bedrooms and range from 813 to 1,126 square feet in size. All of the units are designated as rentals for qualified applicants who earn between 50 percent and 59 percent of the area median income.
A third building on the site houses many of the extra amenities and services that draw families to the Wesley Village. The community center is home to several high-profile service partners, including the Orange County Head Start learning center, Alzheimer’s Orange County, the Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove, the Lestonnac Free Clinic, and the Project Hope Alliance. Here residents can find a health clinic, a library, adult daycare, afterschool programs, tutoring, youth case management, and behavioral health services.
In addition, the property contains 10,000 square feet of active open space for young families, including a playground, a barbeque area, grassy spaces, and an outdoor deck on the family building. Residents can also access the community kitchen, computer room, and other multipurpose activity rooms. Almost any necessity can already be located inside Wesley Village, creating a sense of security and positive social bonds within the community. And thanks to the development’s prime location, other amenities including schools, parks, and shopping are within easy walking distance.
The affordability of the apartments is surprising, given their impressive LEED Gold status. Wesley Village was designed to exceed Title 24 standards, and achieved this by including in the residences LED lighting, central water heaters, low flow toilets and fixtures, and ENERGY STAR appliances. The construction team also took great care to recycle construction debris, and water-efficient landscaping throughout the property further ensures sustainability.
Wesley Village is only one installment in what Newman Garrison + Partners hopes will be a long line of housing solutions for the area. Newman added, “NG+P will continue working with municipalities and developers such as Jamboree Housing to provide sustainable affordable housing solutions for working families.”
Abby Pittman is Head Editor for Green Home Builder Magazine. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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