Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.–Mirandela, a 34-residence affordable seniors housing apartment property, has opened its doors on a coveted hillside site overlooking downtown Los Angeles in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Neighbors were not initially receptive to the idea of affordable housing in their backyard, but the finished product has brought nothing but accolades.
Plans for the 2.9-acre site had gone through various incarnations with various developers until AMCAL Multi-Housing Inc. came along. The developer brought Withee Malcolm Architects onboard to design an aesthetically pleasing building that would complement the tony surroundings, a building that would bear no resemblance to neighbors’ ideas of what affordable housing looks like. “When people think of affordable housing, they think of the projects. This is not the projects,” Dan Withee, founding partner of Withee Malcolm, tells MHN.
In addition to the building’s visual impression, locals were also concerned about who would be living next door. “Everybody was afraid of the element an affordable housing project might attract, but we told them it would be rented to seniors who live in the area and want to stay in the area because they have children and friends there, and might otherwise have to leave the community for financial reasons.”
Withee makes his home in Rancho Palos Verdes, and on more than a few casual outings, he handily allayed the fears of neighbors who approached him with their concerns about the project. But what had been a long list of anxious individuals dwindled quickly. “As soon as the landscaping started going in, everyone started to breathe a sigh of relief,” he says. “Now it’s a non-issue. We promised a high-quality development that would fit in, and that is what we delivered. Everyone was worried about property values, but this is one of the nicest buildings in Palos Verdes right now.”
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