Alexan Bellecour

Project Type: Mutli-Family, Town Homes, 1/2/3BR
Total Units: 131 Units, incl. 6 Affordable for 15 Years (4 Low, 2 Moderate)
Typical Unit Size: 718 sf -1400 sf
Site Size: 6 acres
Density: 22 du/ac
Developer: Trammel Crow
Regional Location: The subject site is located in the City of Lake Forest North of Interstate 5 and south of Hwy 241.
Location: The site is located at 21041 Osterman Rd.
Surrounding Land Uses: The immediate area is residential with typical commercial uses nearby near Lake Forest Drive.


Planning and Site Background: At the time of development of the property (2003), the City was faced with the challenge of not owning any land within the City to develop housing. For the first 10 years of city hood after incorporation in 1991, Lake Forest focused on the commercial build out of the City as a tool to bring jobs to the community. A large number of commercial office and industrial properties were constructed with the anticipation of creating local jobs for its residents. Approximately 4 million sq. ft. of office and industrial development space was completed during this time frame. This new construction attracted many new companies to move to Lake Forest and brought 19,000 jobs and employees just as had been desired. However, many of the new employees were from outside the area and wanted to move into the community to be close to their jobs. Since Lake Forest housing was primarily single family residential homes, there were not many housing opportunities to interest the new employees. The very jobs/housing balance that the City strove to achieve with the creation of new jobs was stymied by the lack of variety in housing stock and existing high housing prices. The need for an assortment of housing types and prices was a hot topic with prospective firms who considered the City’s prime business locations, and they immediately asked about housing opportunities for their employees.

Since at that time, the City did not own any land or property other than a few parks, the City/Redevelopment Agency sought out developers to partner with to provide affordable housing on remaining properties in the City. At this same time a new developer, Trammell Crow Residential had come to Lake Forest and purchased an old farm homestead on a piece of sloping property in the northeastern portion of the City. The site had been designated in the City’s Housing Element as one of three potential housing sites within the City that could accommodate the future residential development needed to meet the City’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment.

Product Design and Information: As the property was an old farm homestead on a piece of sloping property, the physical barriers of the steeply sloped site were addressed through a creative site plan and housing design. The project had to be constructed to take advantage of the steep slope of the property and it provided extensive views from the units on the uphill portion of the site. Two primary building styles were developed for the project that included an uphill, all town home-style building and flat single bedroom building, which incorporated a mix of town home-style units and single bedroom units. This design style was incorporated to address the existing site topography which naturally slopes approximately 12% required a terraced pad design. The rear wall of the garage acts as a retaining wall on the abasement level with two levels of living space above. The front door and patio of each unit opens to a greenbelt. This created a raised stoop entrance from the greenbelt creating a brownstone feel throughout the facility.

Common site amenities include a clubhouse/fitness center, business and computer center, social area, leasing offices, swimming pool and spa. The project is secured by an electronic gate entrance.

Approval Process: The City/Agency staff worked with Trammell Crow Residential in exploring various options to fund the proposed project, including the provision of a financial incentive to reduce development costs. After much financial analysis, a figure was established that would offset a portion of the cost to the developer for the loss in revenue attributed to the provision of six affordable units scattered throughout the 131-unit development. The incentive was funded by the Agency’s affordable Housing Set-Aside Funds and executed through an “Affordable Agreement” in June 2001. The Agreement secured the provisions of six affordable housing units for a period of 15 years. It was a win-win situation for both the City/Agency and Trammell Crow Residential.

Lessons Learned: This project demonstrates the City/Agency’s effort and commitment to expand housing in balance with location to jobs and to ensuring that adequate housing is developed to meet the existing and future need of Lake Forest residents, including the low and moderate-income residents. In 2004, the project was awarded the Helen Putnam Housing Programs & Innovations Award.


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