The following article appeared in the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership Blog.
The Future of Transit Oriented Development along the Gold Line Extension – San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership
By Nic Fetter
This coming September, The Foothill Construction Authority will hand the completed Metro Gold Line extension that runs from east Pasadena to Azusa over to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). Once Metro has control of the line, they will test the line for an additional six months. After testing is complete, the line will be open for business sometime in the first quarter of 2016.
It has been a long process for everyone involved in bringing this to fruition. The cities along the Pasadena to Azusa extension spent years putting advantageous planning policies in place, along with investing in infrastructure around their stations with the hope of creating development opportunities that will enhance their communities.
With the completion of the second phase to Azusa less than a year away, city projects and developments are positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that the Gold Line Extension will bring. Demand is high for development sites within a quarter mile of each station. One of the biggest challenges that businesses face is workforce housing. Companies have seen demand from their employees for projects that will allow them to work, live, and play in a much closer proximity. Development along the Gold Line is the perfect opportunity to begin to meet this demand and developers are planning multi-family projects along the line to help tackle this issue.
As businesses continue their drive to be as efficient as possible, their corporate real estate needs are changing. They are looking to reduce the amount of space they lease with higher density. One of the side effects is that parking is becoming tighter and more expensive. Most office buildings along the 210 corridor were planned around a parking ratio of 3.5 parking spaces for every 1000 square feet of space. In today’s office market, it is not uncommon to see a demand of 5 parking spaces for every 1000 square feet of space. One of the ways to alleviate this shortage is for businesses to locate themselves close to Transit. As efficiency continues to be a driving force behind corporate real estate decisions, buildings positioned near the Gold Line will be in high demand.
The five cities along the Gold Line Extension have put zoning in place and updated their general plans to take advantage of the opportunities at their respective stations. Arcadia’s station will have a 300 car parking structure and the city has implemented zoning to allow for some low to medium density development surrounding the station; as well as integrating shuttles and other transportation connections to major destinations within the city. The city of Monrovia has a specific plan in place for a 261 unit “class A” apartment complex adjacent to the station that is slated to break ground this coming September. Along with this project, the city has updated the zoning around the station to allow for market driven development. Currently a $12 million infrastructure project is underway to create a true multi-modal transportation environment around the station and 350 stall parking facility. Along with the activity around the station, Monrovia is home to a large regional maintenance and operation facility that will service the regions light rail cars and create 191 jobs.
In 2014, the city of Duarte adopted a specific plan that covers 19 acres surrounding the station area. The plan allows for up to 475 residential units, 400,000 square feet of office, 12,000 square feet of commercial, and 250 hotel rooms. A 150 stall parking facility is being built directly north of the station to serve the riders. Irwindale’s station will have parking for 350 cars and will serve the industrial community that is directly adjacent. The city of Azusa’s station will be home to the largest parking facility on the line and will have spaces for 550 cars. In addition, Azusa has development plans in place for residential and retail development along the north and south sides of the stations.
As the Gold Line Extension is completed in the coming months, there will be the opportunity to live and work along the line and get people out of their cars. The cities along the Gold Line Extension have put forth a tremendous effort to put into place development friendly zoning and guidelines that will allow developers and investors to create projects that will transform this region and make it not only a great place to live for its current residents but also attract new business and people to this great region.
Nic Fetter joined Samuelson & Fetter in 2006. As the Director of Marketing, he oversees the leasing of the company’s office portfolio, as well as being intimately involved in the planning of new developments in the San Gabriel Valley. For more information about Samuelson & Fetter LLC, visit www.samuelsonandfetter.com