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April 11, 2006 > Irvington Village - a model concept

Irvington Village - a model concept

The addresses, 40800 and 40900 Grimmer Boulevard in Fremont have, in the past, been used to designate a sporting goods store, patio shop and a large parking lot. Now these numbers will become synonymous with an innovative concept, combining the advantages of low cost apartment living with home ownership at various price levels.

Irvington Village is about to become a reality within a large bloc of land located between Irvington Avenue and Bay Street on Grimmer Boulevard. The new development, located at the former Tri-City Sporting Goods and Patio World, will incorporate the expertise of Bridge Housing Corporation, a nonprofit developer recognized as a leader in affordable rental and ownership housing and another quality developer, Regis Homes of Northern California. These partners will build a residential community to serve a wide range of family incomes. Groundbreaking of Irvington Village will be held on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 at the site.

TCV asked Jeff Smith, Project Manager of Regis Homes for an update on this unique housing community, recently expanded with a second phase to include both the initial Patio World site and Irvington Village II at the Tri-City Sporting Goods site.

TCV: How will Irvington Village II integrate with the original plans?

Smith: The first phase is Irvington Village and the second is called Irvington Village, phase II. The key concept is that this intended to be an integrated village. The second phase helps to complete the overall plan. The entire site was rezoned by the city, so they started the process. When planning the first phase, we were always making sure that we had Phase II in mind including good connections, not only for roads - there are three different roads that connect the sites - but for landscaping, sidewalks and pedestrian pathways - two different pedestrian paths connect the sites.

TCV: Will Phase I and Phase II be built at the same time or one after another?

Smith: Bridge is building their apartments now and we have started work on the roads and foundations. It is very early in the process. The nice thing about getting approval for Phase II now is that we will not complete Phase I and then have to start the 'construction machine' again, extending the time of neighborhood disruption. We would like to start demolition (of Tri-City Sporting Goods) and site work at the end of the summer; buildings would begin next year.

TCV: When will phase I be sold? Will each phase be sold separately?

Smith: We will sell phase I starting in June/July of this year. It is anticipated that we will continue to sell phase I until sold out and then begin with Phase II.

TCV: What will the pricing be for Irvington Village housing?

Smith: Phase I has not been established yet, but the expected range is the mid $500,000s and into $600,000s.

TCV: Will Phase II be more expensive?

Smith: The time element and cost of construction is something to consider but another thing is the design of condominium flats on a podium structure which is typically a lower price, entry level product. So even though there is a time difference with construction increases, we are currently projecting that these will start at the low to mid $500,000s.

TCV: The Bridge apartment housing in Phase I will be on a podium, correct?

Smith: Yes, but Regis housing will all be at grade for Phase I, two to three story units.

TCV: Why are you using a podium for Phase II?

Smith: We wanted to bring a different product to Phase II. A major theme of this project is to create a mixed income community. Phase I includes Bridge apartments and Phase II incorporates low market rate, for-sale units. The condominium flats offer entry level and "move down" homes; then you get into townhouse-style and fee simple condos. The other thing about podium housing is it is a denser product allowing us to include a bit more open space including a community pool and park. These amenities are on the border with Phase I, so when the development is complete, all units will be able to benefit from these spaces.

TCV: Will there be parking below the podium?

Smith: For the condominiums on the podium, all the parking is below. The podium is about a half story above and half below ground level, very similar to what Bridge Housing is doing at the Phase I site. The remainder of Phase II will be townhomes with two garage spaces inside each unit.

TCV: Will some parking be "tandem" parking? What is this?

Smith: For the podium housing, yes. This is parking for two spaces front to back. You need to pull into the first space and then the second car pulls in right behind the first. This is a space saving/density measure. Parking for homes and guests is one of the biggest items that govern site planning.

TCV: There has been some discussion of parking on Irvington Avenue. Is this being included in required parking calculations?

Smith: There are approximately 20 spaces on Irvington Avenue but these are not recognized by the city as part of our parking requirement. They are considered "extra" parking. There are another 14 spaces along our driveways along Irvington Avenue, so many guests will be able to use those spaces. These are definitely a factor and allowed the council to accept a reduction in dedicated guest parking. Even though we were short by 13 guest parking spaces, there are almost three times that number of spaces that are available on the street or in driveways.

TCV: Does the Bridge Housing apartment complex reduce the need for below market rate housing in Phase II?

Smith: Regis and Bridge have partnered in the past on these co-developments. When we get a site that is suitable, we see this as a big advantage to team up with Bridge to bring an attractive plan to a city. We can triple the amount of affordable housing using this concept. Without Bridge in Phase I, we may have only brought to market 25 to 30 below market rate units. By bringing Bridge on, they brought 100 affordable units to the project. In Phase I, we are paying a subsidy to the city that helps fund the apartment unit. In Phase II, we are building 15 percent below market rate units. This means there will be 25 below market rate homes for sale throughout the site.

TCV: Is there a difference in unit size between Phase I and Phase II?

Smith: Yes, in Phase I, there are 115 units from approximately 1350 to 1600 square foot, 2 and 3 bedroom units. There are 168 units in Phase II and because of the podium condominium flats, they start out at about 1150 square feet and increase to 1750 square feet with 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units.

TCV: When both phases are completed, how will they connect?

Smith: There are three streets that connect the phases. There are two entrances to Grimmer Boulevard to Phase I, one at Davis Street with a traffic light and a second along the "spine" between the two phases. From Phase II, there will be two roads connecting with Irvington Avenue. We will install a traffic signal and pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Irvington Avenue and Grimmer Boulevard.

The Phase II site will soon be fenced for safety purposes since we just closed the purchase. We plan to go to the city with our permit package in May/June and obtain a demolition permit. The restaurant on the corner has a lease until 2007 so we will work around it. The first three parts of Phase II are on the Tri-City Sports building and will not include the restaurant.

TCV: Will there be any retail included in Irvington Village?

Smith: In Phase I, Bridge is putting a small amount of retail on the corner of their building. Otherwise, this will be a residential complex.

TCV: Any further comments?

Smith: The story here is of a mixed income community close to employment, transportation and services. That is the story of good infill development. We are excited to see the culmination of that vision with Phase II. We feel this will help revitalize Irvington by providing new residents for retail establishments and the improvements planned for Grimmer Boulevard and Irvington Avenue. We hope this spurs other developments on Grimmer and Bay Street and see this as a starting point of a very bright future for Irvington.

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