IRVINE, CA - Jamboree Housing Corporation, one of California’s largest affordable housing developers, announced today the grand opening of Courier Place Apartment Homes – along with Claremont Mayor Sam Pedroza, County of Los Angeles and Claremont city officials, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, U.S. Bank, and Jamboree Housing executives.
Laura Archuleta, Jamboree Housing President, says Courier Place represents a development milestone for the multi-family affordable housing development company. “I believe Courier Place initiates a new age of housing that is sustainable, affordable and multigenerational,” she says. “We salute the City of Claremont and all of our partners for helping to bring Courier Place to reality.”
Claremont, California Mayor Sam Pedroza welcomes the addition to the city’s housing mix, one that provides a much-needed affordable housing component to Claremont’s Village Expansion, a former industrial tract adjacent to the downtown area that has been transformed into a new shopping and entertainment district. “I look forward to showcasing Courier Place to other cities as a model of what can be done when working with an involved, thoughtful community and an experienced developer,” says Pedroza.
Courier Place is developed on a 3.4-acre infill site that is the former location of the Claremont Courier newspaper, a semi-weekly publication that has served the tight-knit community for more than five decades. While the Courier continues to publish in print and digitally at its new Claremont location under the leadership of Peter Weinberger, Courier Place now serves the Claremont community from the paper’s historic site in a new way. The new residential apartment community provides residents with high quality housing that is affordable and integrates seamlessly into the heart of the downtown Claremont Village.
A sustainable apartment community, Courier Place is also Jamboree Housing’s first affordable housing development in the City of Claremont. The three-story, garden-style community offers multigenerational apartments for lease that are designed for both working families and seniors. This affordably priced, transit-oriented development (TOD) is also Jamboree Housing’s first community designed and built to be LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) for Homes Platinum, the highest LEED rating.
Local leaders are especially pleased that the workforce housing apartments are offered on a priority basis to people who work in Claremont but live elsewhere, thus shortening the length of their commutes and helping the environment by reducing vehicular emissions. Courier Place already houses 21 residents who work in Claremont and some of them can now walk to work.
Claremont City Manager Tony Ramos points out that the City Council’s 5-0 approval of Courier Place in July 2009 underscores the value of a strong public/private partnership in the development of affordable housing, especially in an infill site surrounded by existing neighborhoods. “Jamboree Housing is an outstanding partner and went the extra mile in reaching out to our residents – a very active citizenry – listening intently to and aligning with the priorities of city staff and residents,” Ramos explains. “The company is very responsive. Jamboree Housing came to the city with the right project in the right place, and with a commitment to get the job done. We are very pleased with the result.”
Mayor Pedroza agrees. “I am proud to be part of a council that took such a bold position to support this multigenerational, affordable housing development,” he says. “I am also encouraged by the council’s effort to utilize creative ways to finance the project through grants, credits and other traditional and non-traditional funding sources in these challenging budgetary times. Now, more than ever, we truly appreciate our financial partners.”
Corde D. Carrillo, Director of Economic/Redevelopment for the Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles, lauded Courier Place as the type of innovative affordable housing the Commission will use as a case study for years to come. “The Community Development Commission is very proud of its participation in the development of this beautiful and forward-thinking development. It’s the first multigenerational project for the Commission and our first venture with Jamboree Housing.”
Funding for the property’s development consists of HOME/City of Industry Funds from the Commission as well as the City of Claremont, 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee purchased by WNC & Associates, the equity investor, and U. S. Bank. Jamboree Housing purchased the land from the Claremont Redevelopment Agency and Golden State Water Company.
Located at 111 South College Boulevard in Claremont, California, Courier Place is a transit-oriented residential housing development that is immediately south of the Claremont Transportation Center and less than one-quarter mile from the downtown Claremont Village and the Claremont Colleges. It is also within walking distance of a park, retail, school and community services. Along with the sustainable advantages of its pedestrian-friendly location, Courier Place is designed to be LEED certified, and offers a high level of energy efficiency and a healthy living environment as a result of its green design. This includes enhanced water efficiency, increased wall insulation, highly efficient windows and glass slider doors, energy-efficient lighting and ENERGY STAR appliances in each apartment home, helping to reduce resident utility bills. The property exceeds Title 24 energy-efficiency standards by more than 35% and 17% of the electricity for common areas is provided by solar energy via photovoltaic (solar) panels. Features of exceptional rating include its transit-oriented design and water efficiency. More than 350 bus or Metro Link rides are available daily to residents within ½ mile of the site. The site uses less than half the water of a traditional landscape – 66% of plants are drought tolerant – with a highly efficient drip irrigation system in 50% of plant beds. Underground, there’s an onsite storm water retention percolation system that significantly reduces water runoff.
The LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green residential buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. Courier Place also responds to California’s greenhouse gas law SB-375 that requires new residential development to be located near public transportation to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and carbon emissions, a primary ingredient in global warming.
As a multigenerational community, Courier Place is home to both seniors and working families who earn between 30% and 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). The seniors building features 38 one bedroom apartments for lease, an elevator, a third-floor deck patio and a two-story recreation space. The family apartments, spread across two buildings, consist of 36 two bedroom and three bedroom apartments for rent, each with two bathrooms. Oakmont Elementary School, El Roble Junior High and Claremont High School serve resident families with school-aged children.
Multigenerational living is an increasingly popular lifestyle concept based on the idea that the blending of families and seniors builds a stronger community and offers a lifestyle that enhances health and happiness. In a mature community such as Claremont, with thousands of long-term residents and a large, yearly influx of college students, the mix makes perfect sense. The average age of seniors currently living at Courier Place is 75 and the 36 families living there bring with them 66 children.
“Although multigenerational housing is not a new idea,” says Michael Massie, Jamboree’s Housing Development Director, “it is only recently that we have started to see these projects become more popular in California and only a few have been affordable. We are pleased to be the developer that introduces this concept to the City of Claremont and its residents.”
Designed by William Hezmalhalch Architects, Inc. of California, Courier Place also provides residents with convenient laundry facilities and a 3,000 square-foot recreation center with property management offices, a multipurpose room, kitchen, restrooms, and computer lab. Outdoor amenities include a swimming pool, patio dining area with barbecues, and a tot lot. The Advent Companies of California is the general contractor and The John Stewart Company provides onsite property management.
In its commitment to build healthy communities that provide opportunities and resources for residents to enhance their quality of life, Jamboree Housing’s Resident Services Group is providing free onsite resident services and programs tailored to meet the unique needs of Courier Place’s families and seniors. These programs are designed to foster learning, health, and community building to enrich daily living. Jamboree Housing’s resident services coordinator is already at work designing programs and activities that daily unite both generations – a true sense of family in a day when families are often geographically divided.
Perhaps Bill Diekman, a single father raising two young girls alone, says it best of their new home at Courier Place. “Life is full of severe ups and downs for all of us. And, it’s about second chances. Moving to Courier Place is the beginning of our second chance. Now, I walk three blocks to work every day. My daughters have a built-in herd of fantastic neighbor kids to play with here on the playground. All this and I can now afford our rent, our bills and can even consider going back to school (to further my career). Living here helps me show my girls that just because you’re down, doesn’t mean you’re out.”
Diekman also has a unique appreciation for the transit-oriented design of their new apartment home, saying that Thomas the Tank Engine has achieved super star status, coming by to say “hello” to them a few times a day at the adjacent Metro Link station.