Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
Edenglen's opening signifies big changes for Ontario, California
Traffic is strong at Edenglen, the first neighborhood in Ontario, California’s New Model Colony -- part of a 20-year plan to expand the city’s housing stock, retail and commercial space. Edenglen pays homage to old Ontario with a variety of housing types and architectural styles and a pedestrian-friendly land plan.
|An ambitious 20-year development plan for Ontario, Calif., lifts off with the opening of Edenglen, a neotraditional neighborhood with a mix of housing.|
As grazing cows give way to new homes, parks and tree-lined avenues, city planners in Ontario, Calif., are beginning to see the fruits of their labor pay off. One very important component of the city's growth plan: the New Model Colony, a master-planned community that will eventually comprise 31,000 new homes and several million square feet of retail and commercial space. It all got off to a rousing start when Edenglen, the first residential neighborhood in the New Model Colony, opened in April 2007.
Adrian Foley, president of Brookfield Homes Southland in Costa Mesa, Calif., says Edenglen is unique from a number of perspectives. "In the greater sense, it's a microcosm of the New Model Colony in that it has a variety of product types all contained within a master plan heavily oriented toward traditional neighborhood design," says Foley.
|The office is downstairs, away from the hubub.|
Edenglen occupies the site of a former dairy once owned by the Pinheiro family. The dairy was part of the San Bernardino Agricultural Preserve annexed by the city of Ontario in 1999 as part of its plans for the 8,200-acre New Model Colony. Recognized as one of the largest infill developments west of the Mississippi River, the New Model Colony is expected to add 120,000 residents to Ontario over the next two decades.
Edenglen itself will comprise 542 homes on 61 acres. To date, 58 homes have been released, with 28 sold. That's a respectable figure given today's market, Foley says, noting that the community is generating plenty of foot traffic. "Desire and appreciation for what we've done and love for the details has been very, very strong. Physical sales have been hampered by the challenges of the market — primarily due to buyers who have a home to sell."
Some buyers have objected to the lot sizes — not surprising because Ontario is traditionally a market of large-lot subdivisions. "We've dedicated surplus lot area to a common recreational facility," he says, "and we explain to buyers why spending the weekend maintaining your backyard isn't necessarily the best idea when you can instead be enjoying a multimillion-dollar recreational facility with your family."
|The eat-in kitchen of Portico Residence One is a generously sized space with French doors opening to a deck - just the setip for mixing and migling.|
Master-planned by a joint venture of Brookfield and Standard Pacific Homes of Irvine, Calif., Edenglen offers a range of housing, from entry-level, 1,100-square-foot condominiums to 4,000-square-foot-plus single-family homes. Housing types are intermixed within the community rather than segregated. Brookfield is building three product lines — Portico, Belcourt and Gatehouse — and Standard Pacific is building two: The Cottages and Veranda. All are single-family detached homes except for Portico, which consists of townhomes, and Belcourt, a condominium product.
The design team at Edenglen consists of JZMK Architects, Kip Klayton Architects, Robert Hidey Architects and William Hezmalhalch Architects.
Portico is based on an award-winning townhouse community called Treo at Woodbury, originally designed for Brookfield by Robert Hidey Architects. The buildings at Treo were triplexes, with a carriage unit over the back and two townhouse units in the front. Irvine, Calif.-based Kip Klayton Architects took the Treo plans, removed some features and added others. Italianate styling gave way to Portico's Spanish Colonial facades. Minor modifications were made to the floor plans to create more open living environments.
Kip Klayton says the modeling focus for Portico is unique. Each building has three plan variations, with Residence One aimed at singles ("the bachelor pad" as he calls it), Residence Two at young families and Residence Three at families with older children as well as empty nesters.
|Veranda by Standard Pacific Homes taps the move-up market at Edenglen.|
"As exciting as Residence One was at Treo, I think it's even better at Portico," says Klayton. "Residence One is a single-level plan, though most of the living area is on the second floor. That's where the real excitement is: when you approach the top of the stairs and it opens up to that great, wonderful living space."
Brookfield has approximately 10 percent of the land at the New Model Colony under contract and plans to build roughly 3,000 homes in addition to schools, retail space and parks. Currently on the drawing boards is a neighborhood called The Avenue that features a mix of townhomes, condominiums and small- and large-lot detached homes. The Avenue will also include a pedestrian-friendly shopping district.
"I don't think people truly realize how much the city is going to change in the next 10 years. The New Model Colony is going to be a pivotal part of its supply chain of housing," says Foley.
Dave Bartlett, Brookfield's vice president of land entitlement, adds, "The city of Ontario is a fantastic place for us to do business. They understand good planning and the value of density and what it takes to make a long-lasting community. That's the vision we share." As the cornerstone of the New Model Colony, Bartlett says, Edenglen will set the standard for what's to come.