Irvine city council approved a deal on Tuesday with land giant Irvine Co. to add 4,536 apartments to the city – with 1,025 of them slated for affordable rents.
The 5-0 vote March 14 means planning efforts can proceed, ultimately helping the city meet its state-approved homebuilding goal of 23,600 new units by 2029. The plan includes roughly 15,000 affordable units for households earning less than local median wages.
The “memorandum of understanding” between the city and developer also calls for the Irvine Co. to pay a $14,500-per-unit fee or as much as $65 million for the city to use as it sees fit.
“We needed to be audacious,” said Tammy Kim, Irvine’s vice mayor, before the vote.
The new housing would go on six sites, with all but one near the Irvine Spectrum jobs hub.
This housing deal targets in-fill sites – small slices of Irvine Co. land that’s either underutilized or vacant.
Here’s a look at where these projects will be…
Discovery Park: The site would be home to 1,459 new rentals – 150 of them affordable to households making less than the median income. That would be on 29 vacant acres previously planned for commercial use near Discovery and Laguna Canyon.
Market Place: In-store shopping is on the decline, so Irvine Co. wants to turn part of its on Jamboree Road shopping center into 1,261 rental units –– 211 affordable. That would be built on 15 acres of what’s now 200,000 square feet of vacant shopping space.
Spectrum: In a neighborhood filled with offices, 896 units – 150 affordable – are proposed at two sites on 10 vacant acres near Gateway and Pacifica.
Los Olivos: Next to an existing Irvine Co. apartment complex, 600 units – with 150 of them deemed affordable – would go on 10 vacant acres near Gitano and Encanto. It was once a possible school location.
Technology Drive: Another vacant commercial lot on near the 133 toll road would house 320 affordable units on 4 acres.
Irvine Co. seeks to donate the land to the city, which would then find a partner for construction – typically a developer specializing in affordable housing. Irvine Co. has done such swaps before to help meet its affordable-housing mandates for market-rate housing it constructs in Irvine.
Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com