Brea, CA – Jamboree Housing Corporation, one of California’s leading community development organizations specializing in affordable housing, announced today the grand opening of Birch Hills Apartment Homes, the workforce housing component of the new La Floresta planned community in Brea. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Program participants include State Senator Bob Huff, Brea Mayor Ron Garcia, representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), County of Orange and Brea city officials, Jamboree executives and partnership representatives. Interview and photo opportunities are available.
Adjacent to the Birch Hills Golf Course, an 18-hole public golf course that is being renovated, the new apartment development provides housing for families who earn between 30% and 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) with rents ranging from $477 to $1,055 per month based on family size and income level.
Birch Hills Apartment Homes is part of the La Floresta planned community currently under development by Birch/Kraemer LLC, an affiliate of Chevron Land and Development. The new property encompasses 115 garden- style apartment homes incorporated within eight three-story buildings, all arranged around central courtyards that are linked by tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly landscaped walks. The Spanish-influenced neighborhood includes 22 one-bedroom, 47 two-bedroom, and 46 three-bedroom apartments with tuck-under garages for each apartment along with additional surface parking areas for residents and guests.
Brea Mayor Ron Garcia stated that the Birch Hills Apartment Homes development and related construction activity translates into substantial economic value for the City of Brea in terms of new employment and increased local spending.
“In addition to providing valuable workforce housing for our residents, the development of Birch Hills Apartment Homes has generated significant economic benefits for our city,” he said. “According to the National Association of Home Builders, it is estimated that during this first year of construction, the development’s positive economic impact will have generated $9 million in local income, $950,820 in taxes and other revenue for local government, and created 140 local jobs. The ongoing positive economic impact yearly includes $2.74 million in local income, $507,150 in taxes and other revenue for local government, and 35 local jobs.”
With an array of community features, Birch Hills Apartment Homes includes a 4,400 square-foot community recreation center with conference, activity and media rooms, a community kitchen, computer lab and classroom space, property management and resident services offices. Outdoor amenities include a pool, spa, barbecue areas, tot lots, and a community garden, as well as finely landscaped community spaces for outdoor recreation. The nearby La Floresta community also offers several green belts and trails for residents to use.
Birch Hills Apartment Homes embraces smart growth principles and is ideally situated for residents with its location near major retail, entertainment, parks, community services, and robust employment centers. The Birch Hills site promotes an active lifestyle as part of the city’s future "The Tracks at Brea," an active transportation, dual tread pedestrian and bicycling trail that will traverse Brea from east to west through Birch Hills. This will give residents transportation alternatives beyond car and bus systems that allow them to travel to other parts of Brea without driving.
Birch Hills is also near bus service at Birch and Kraemer (Route 59, stop #933); it is one-half mile from two grocery stores and a pharmacy; one mile from the Brea Mall, a regional retail center with shopping, entertainment, restaurants and job opportunities, and 1.5 miles from the Brea Public Library, Carbon Canyon Regional, Tri-City, Gilman, and Tufree Hill Parks.
Additionally, highly rated schools within the Brea Olinda Unified School District serve Birch Hills. These include Country Hills Elementary School (.5 miles), Brea Junior High School (2.5 miles) and Brea Olinda High School (1.5 miles). California State University Fullerton and Fullerton Community College are within six miles of Birch Hills Apartment Homes.
“With its location and striking design, Birch Hills Apartment Homes is a workforce housing development that defies what most people envision when they hear the words affordable housing,” said Laura Archuleta, president of Jamboree. “The Spanish-inspired architecture integrates seamlessly with the aesthetic fabric of the surrounding Brea community. While the rents are affordable for many working families, the look and feel of Birch Hills Apartment Homes is market-rate quality with the added value of significant green space and exceptional amenities.”
Brea City Manager Tim O’Donnell pointed out that the City of Brea has been very supportive of Birch Hills Apartment Homes as a development partner to bring an attractive, energy-efficient and well-planned housing property to an important community development site. “It underscores the city’s commitment for quality and sustainability by integrating affordable housing throughout our community,” he said.
Birch Hills Apartment Homes is the second workforce housing development built by Jamboree in Brea. In November 2011, the company completed its Bonterra Apartment Homes featuring 94 garden-style apartments that also provide quality workforce housing for families who earn between 30% and 60% AMI.
With smart growth as one of its planning priorities, the City of Brea is committed to establishing a diversity of housing that is within proximity of employment, shopping, schools, parks and other community services, O’Donnell said. Since Birch Hills Apartment Homes is strategically located to major employment and retail centers as well as community services and facilities, he noted that residents have the advantage of a location that allows them to work, shop, and play close to where they live.
Some 41,000 people live in Brea while more than 120,000 visit Brea daily to work, shop and dine. An estimated 7,500 jobs are within 1.5 miles of the Birch Hills Apartment Homes. “The availability of quality workforce housing creates a better jobs-to-housing balance and serves as a positive lifestyle force for individuals and families,” said Mayor Garcia. “By facilitating shorter commutes, proximity housing provides more time for family and community involvement. Less commuting also increases a sense of well being and promotes healthy living by allowing more time for exercise, volunteering, socializing and relaxing – fitting perfectly with my mayoral theme this year of “Active Lives, Healthy City!”
One of the major challenges that Jamboree and the city had to overcome to build Birch Hills Apartment Homes was funding the multimillion-dollar project in the wake of redevelopment’s demise. Ultimately, financing for the $26.2 million development was achieved through a multi-layered structure built on a strong public/private foundation. Funding for Birch Hills Apartment Homes consists of $4.75 million in redevelopment funds that were previously earmarked and protected by the City of Brea prior to the termination of redevelopment agencies. Land for Birch Hills Apartment Homes was provided by Chevron Land and Development as part of the city’s inclusionary zoning requirements for La Floresta.
The County of Orange provided $2 million in HOME Funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and $11.15 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity was invested by Union Bank through the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC). Union Bank also provided $17.94 million in construction financing and $7.9 million in permanent financing.
In keeping with Jamboree’s commitment to sustainability, Birch Hills Apartment Homes is designed to achieve LEED for Homes Platinum certification – the highest LEED rating – that offers a significant level of energy efficiency and cost savings. The property’s advanced sustainable footprint includes a large bank of connected photovoltaic panels to power common areas and also heat water in common areas such as the pool and laundry. Other components include low-flow kitchen and bathroom faucets; dual-flush toilets; tankless water heaters; energy efficient lighting, and ENERGY STAR appliances in each apartment home, helping to reduce residents’ utility bills. The property also features efficient landscape irrigation and native, drought tolerant plantings.
Birch Hills Apartment Homes is the latest development that advances Brea’s sustainability initiative, which is highlighted by the city’s innovative solar and energy efficiency project.
Resident services provided by Jamboree’s Resident Services Group, Housing with Heart, will be specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of Birch Hills residents. Housing with Heart complements Jamboree’s belief in creating strong communities that provide opportunities and resources for residents to enrich the quality of family life. These programs include activities such as homework assistance and tutoring for young people, plus health and wellness programs and community-building activities for all residents. An onsite program coordinator will assist residents in accessing other local community services.
KTGY Group, Inc. of Irvine, CA is the architect of Jamboree’s newest community and Portrait Homes of Corona, CA is the general contractor. Property management is provided by The John Stewart Company.
A Birch Hills Property Fact Sheet is available upon request.