Santa Fe Springs Replaces Brownfield Site With Senior Housing
The City of Santa Fe Springs has converted a former brownfield site into a 4.6-acre affordable senior apartment community.
In the 1950s and early ’60s, refinery-related operations left the land contaminated. The city tested for and ultimately remediated the contamination problem to the satisfaction of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, allowing the city to build senior housing and occupy the land for the first time in more than 40 years. Using an “all hands” approach of inviting all interested parties to attend meetings, the city was able to ease concerns of regulatory agencies, lending institutions and the surrounding neighborhood, leading to a broad coalition of support for the project. As a result, the entire process, which included land acquisition, entitlements, funding, and finally, construction, took just four years.
Named “Little Lake Village,” the complex consists of 144 apartments for low and very-low income seniors of ages 62 or older. The community is made up of four three-story buildings, and is designed with special amenities unique to senior apartments.
Laundry rooms are located on the second floor instead of the ground floor so that residents don’t need to carry laundry more than one floor, up or down. In addition, every unit provides lower cabinets and countertops, wider hallway and doorway openings, and low-rise, step-in shower tubs for safer access.
In an effort to create a true community, each building has a hospitality area to encourage socializing among residents, and there is a centrally located 5,500 square-foot community room that contains a library, computer lab, and recreation space.
On the outside, Little Lake Village is an active senior community. A walkway encircles the entire complex, providing shaded seating areas throughout. Artwork pockets featuring prominent art pieces commissioned specifically for the project. A spa, gazebo and barbecue area accentuates the grounds, complimenting the park-like atmosphere.
From a safety standpoint, the village is full enclosed by a landscaped wall, and access to the community is restricted to a single, central gate.
The project cost $16 million and was financed through a combination of sources. Six million came from the city’s housing funds; the County of Los Angeles Community Development Commission provided $8 million. Tax credit bonds made up the other $2 million.
Little Lake Village has also won an award. The Gateway Cities Partnership recognized the complex as the “Best Affordable Housing Project” for 2004.