Written by Morgan McLaughlin and Ed Carrasco.
Commissioner Travis Kiger was the lone opponent to the project, who expressed concern about the special treatment given to TRG Pacific Development and the concessions given to the developers to put the project forward for construction.
“This project comes through with some serious exemptions here,” he said. “I’m just concerned that this project has a high number exemptions like they’re playing a different set of rules. Then I look and I realize that this is a redevelopment project, which means it’s basically being partially funded by taxpayer subsidies.”
Kiger also relayed his concerns to residents who live near the development that would have to deal with a developer that doesn’t play by the rules, build a building that’s taller than similar projects before and pay for it through taxes.
His concerns did not bother the other commissioners, who expressed their support that the senior housing project is affordable and would help fill a much needed niche in the community.
TRG Pacific Development, LLC and Commonwealth Development, LLC have submitted a proposal to the Fullerton City Planning Commission for a new 6-story mixed-use development at 345 E. Commonwealth Ave. Residents familiar with the area will recall it as the longtime vacant lot located at the corner of Lemon St. (across from the Stages Theatre business complex). The Major Development Project calls for an underground basement parking garage, approximately 3,250 square feet of ground floor commercial space and 95 affordable apartments for seniors (ages 62 and above).
In more detail, The Alexander Senior Housing Project, allots for common activity areas such as a fitness center, library and club room, 91 parking spaces, 79 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom apartment units with 10% available to “very low income” and 90% to “lower income” residents. This income standard equates to between $35,868 and $57,388 annually according to current Area Median Income data in Orange County.
The development companies attempted to preemptively assuage concerns about traffic impact and flow by conducting a Parking and Traffic study outlining that “in general, senior housing generates less traffic than other types of residential development.”
Though the Planning Commission recommended the project be approved by the Redevelopment Agency, it should be noted that two proposals were previously approved for this specific site in years past, both for mixed-use commercial/resident projects, both never having been implemented or built.
This project will reach the height of the current Pinnacle Apartments, and according to the submitted plan documents will be constructed in similar form. The building will have a level for parking, and atop that a level for retail space lining the corner of the streets; followed after by common use areas and apartment units. It’s almost a copy and paste of the visual currently occupying the corner of Lemon St. and Commonwealth Ave.