A new 70-unit transit-oriented development is playing a critical role in Baldwin Park, Calif.

Metro Village helps fill the need for affordable housing by offering one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments affordable to families making no more than 60% of the Los Angeles County area median income. The development, which has 5,500 square feet of commerce retail space, is also a big step in redeveloping the city’s downtown.

The $27 million, four-story Metro Village brings new affordable homes and commercial space to downtown Baldwin Park, Calif.
Anthony Gomez The $27 million, four-story Metro Village brings new affordable homes and commercial space to downtown Baldwin Park, Calif.

Officials recently celebrated the community’s grand opening.

“The Metro Village represents the beginning of a new era in the history of Baldwin Park,” said Manuel Lozano, mayor of Baldwin Park. “It, along with the Metrolink station, will serve as the catalyst that will remake our downtown area into the vibrant and dynamic centerpiece to our city that we all envisioned it could be. The positive impacts of this project are already being felt, including the enticement of new businesses and developers seeking to establish other projects in this area.”

The $27 million Metro Village is the latest community by ROEM Development Corp., one of the state’s most active affordable and mixed-income housing developers.

ROEM teamed with Pacific Housing on the 9% low-income housing tax credit development, which received financial support from Citi Community Capital, Aegon USA Realty Advisors, and the city of Baldwin Park. This project also utilizes the federal HOME funds and a loan from the city. The architect is Withee Malcolm Architects, and the general contractor is ROEM Builders.

With its close proximity to the Cruz Baca Transit Center station, Metro Village residents can choose between riding the transit with the passes provided to each unit at Metro Village or bike to the station or downtown retail. Resident amenities include a community room with an entertainment and lounge area, a kitchenette, a computer room, a fitness room, a laundry room, a secure bike storage area, private patio space with a play area, and a barbeque area.

“As Los Angeles County continues growing its transit system, it’s critical that cities plan for new housing to be located near those transit stations,” said Alex Sanchez, ROEM executive vice president. “Many transit riders want easy access to public transportation near the place they call home. With Metro Village, the city of Baldwin Park has ensured they can.”

ROEM integrated sustainable building methods and materials in the development of Metro Village. These include energy conservation features such as water and energy-efficient appliances and fixtures. To save water, Metro Village has also used only drought-tolerant plants, used no turf, and installed low-flow drip sprinklers and water-saving fixtures. High-efficiency lighting and Energy Star appliances ensure less energy is used propertywide. In addition, a solar photovoltaic system converts energy from the sun to fulfill residents’ energy needs thereby reducing the property’s dependence on energy. To increase the air quality, Metro Village applied low-VOC paints and adhesives on the walls. With this focus on sustainability, Metro Village is pursuing U.S. Green Building Council LEED-H Gold certification.

“The solutions to providing high-quality affordable housing are as diverse as the communities they serve and Metro Village is an excellent example," said Dirk Thelen, principal at Withee Malcolm Architects. "The contemporary architecture coherently addresses the mix of uses—residential, retail, a public plaza, and connections to transit—and the urban context to support a welcoming, environmentally friendly neighborhood and to serve as an important catalyst for revitalization.”

“This mixed-use development will provide much needed affordable housing for families that would otherwise struggle with finding quality housing at affordable rental rates in Baldwin Park,” said Jay Abeywardena, director at Citi Community Capital. “Citi is committed to investing in quality affordable housing like Metro Village, and we will continue this effort to benefit those communities that desperately need the investment.”