Ongoing mixed-use Whittier project

A group of developers known collectively as Uptown Community Partners has entered into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Whittier to develop eight city-owned parcels.
The group consists of Irvine-based City Ventures, Brentwood-based Thomas Safran & Associates, Montebello-based Gentefy and Santa Ana-based SVA Architects Inc., all of whom are teaming up to develop the 6.4-acre site north of Philadelphia Street. and west of Bright Avenue. It includes a former Alpha Beta grocery store.

The negotiation agreement between Uptown Community Partners and the city will be exclusive for a period of six months. Ryan Aeh, senior vice president of City Ventures, said construction on the project would begin in 2023 at the earliest.

“It was a really unique opportunity,” Aeh said. “Usually when a development opportunity arises, it’s a single plot and a single developer looking at one type of product. It was several packages. These are eight plots which are all in the town center of Whittier. It is a very interesting and walkable suburban downtown.

The site plans call for 229 units for sale and 115 low and very low income rental units.
There will also be 5,000 square feet of retail development and 251 parking spaces.
The units for sale will be created by City Ventures, which currently has more than 8,000 units in California in its portfolio.

Affordable housing will be developed by Thomas Safran & Associates. The company has developed over 6,000 rental units in Southern California.
“TSA currently owns and operates two affordable housing communities in Whittier,” Jordan Pynes, president of the company, said in a statement. “We are excited to continue this important work with the city and community to provide much needed affordable housing in Whittier.”

Gentefy, meanwhile, is working on the commercial space, which consists of seven micro kitchens for local businesses, a performance stage, a courtyard and more.
SVA Architects carries out the conceptual design of the project.

“One of the exciting opportunities for the development of Whittier – with multiple sites spread throughout the region – is the mission to create intentional spaces between buildings,” said Ernesto M. Vasquez, managing director of SVA Architects, in a communicated. “We can create pedestrian corridors and cohesion from the street level. Wide sidewalks will be enabled with public art, landscaping and gathering spaces, allowing Uptown to become a place of human connection where community is built. We envision the Uptown neighborhood as the crown jewel of Whittier.

Aeh said part of the reason so many developers are involved is that the team wanted to “think about what each package wants to be and what is the team that we need to assemble to program it and implement it. “.

“Any time there’s an opportunity to work on a multi-faceted project like this, you want to put together a top-notch team, so we were really looking for bands that perform at a high level,” he said. he adds.

The project, Aeh said, would be a welcome change for Whittier, which hasn’t seen as much development in recent years as other Los Angeles neighborhoods, such as Culver City and Hollywood.

“Taking some of the unused properties and surface parking lots and turning them into new housing, retail… is really going to be a game changer. It will be a boost to energize downtown Whittier,” he said.

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