How to Design Walkable, Transit-Friendly Multifamily - Sachse Construction
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How to Design Walkable, Transit-Friendly Multifamily

Most developers of urban mixed-use multifamily target millennials, young tech professionals or downsizing baby boomers, but a new project in Pasadena is taking a broader approach. 3200 East Foothill, a 550-unit project from Trammell Crow Co.-affiliate High Street Residential, is creating a to attract residents looking for an active community with walkability, bike- and transit-friendly. Design firm Steinberg Hart is building the community to promote and encourage walking, biking and public transit.

“We are looking to capture the types of residents that embrace walking, biking and alternate modes of transportation,” Simon Ha, head of Steinberg Hart’s Urban Mixed-Use practice, tells “Whether it is tech or millennials, we are looking to attract people that are more conscious of being active and are placing less of an emphasis on cars. The design will attract those types of people. We will also have people there simply because they like the neighborhood.”

The main drive of the property will be the centerpiece for this lifestyle. Steinberg Hart extended Santa Paula Avenue and created a plaza that is friendly to all modes of transportation. “We are designing the main drive into the project, which is the Santa Paula extension, as a shared public plaza, not a traditional street or driveway. The idea of the shared street is to create an open space for pedestrians and bicyclists,” adds Ha. “Cars are invited into the space so they can all co-exist. That is an idea for the type of community that we are trying to create, and that is going to attract the type of people that embrace that lifestyle.”

East Pasadena is a growing market, but like Pasadena proper, there is strong demand for multifamily and forward-thinking communities. “Pasadena is a really nice city to live in, and this part of Pasadena has been more single-family oriented. Demand is very high for multifamily, and especially demand for this type of walkable, family-oriented and active community,” says Ha. “This area is going to be less expensive than the new apartments in Old Town. There is a little bit of distance that creates more affordability. The proximity to Old Town, however, will make it a good option and I think a lot of people will want to live near transit.”

The city also wants these kind of communities. In addition to walkability, the project also includes an affordable housing component. “Pasadena has an affordable housing linkage fee and you are required to provide affordable housing as part of an inclusionary requirement,” says Ha. “For this type of market-rate apartment, developers usually pay the fee rather than build on site; however, in an effort to be a good neighbor, Trammel Crow offered to include everything on site. That was one of the selling points to the city to approve this project.”

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