Market Demand Strengthens; Community Design Comes to Fore
IRVINE, CA, February 9, 2012—While national property markets still struggle to recover, the slowdown in home-buying is bolstering demand for apartments—and creating more work for Irvine-based MVE & Partners, one of the nation’s premier residential and mixed-use architecture firms.
“Domestic real estate remains iffy, but there are pockets of recovery, including multi-family,” said Carl McLarand, AIA, chairman of MVE & Partners. “Of course, we have been designing apartments and community developments for nearly 40 years, so this is playing to one of our strengths.”
Recently, MVE & Partners has been engaged to design and master-plan seven apartment communities across California with a total of 3,269 units. The projects range from the 88-unit 8500 Burton Way luxury project near Beverly Hills for noted developer Rick Caruso, to the 40-acre, 1,750-unit Crescent Village mixed-use community in San Jose, CA, for long-time client and major developer The Irvine Company Apartment Communities.
Other ongoing California projects include the 457-unit Metropolis project in Irvine for Sares-Regis Group; the 141-unit Westgate Apartments transportation-oriented development (TOD) in Pasadena for Equity Residential; the 197-unit Elkhorn Court (formerly Polo Court) mixed-use project in San Mateo, as well as the 309-unit TOD West Dublin BART Apartments in Dublin, for Essex Properties; and 360 units in Mission Bay Blocks 5 and 11, two individual mixed-use developments in San Francisco for BRE Properties.
Of the new roster of projects, already capturing media and market notice is the eight-story 8500 Burton Way project, which boasts a sleek profile and such luxury amenities as floor-to-ceiling glass walls, outdoor balconies with unimpeded views, and abundant natural light in all units. Additionally, the streamlined tower, for which MVE & Partners is executive architect, will feature rooftop pool and spa, terraced gardens, clubroom, gym, ground-floor valet-parking and ground-level Trader Joe’s, the popular grocer.
Metropolis is another signal project and represents a new direction for the City of Irvine, where in the past city planners separated housing and commercial districts. For the first time, under the new Irvine Business Center planning code, housing will be constructed near an employment center, to further goals of a walkable Irvine community. MVE & Partners was selected to design two four-story contemporary structures that create a pedestrian-scaled character with stoops, entries and balconies addressing the community sidewalks and streets.
The Westgate Apartments, Crescent Village, Elkhorn Court, West Dublin BART Apartments and Mission Bay developments are also master-planned to include apartments that face common areas, green or recreational spaces and evocative, place-making signature towers and wayfinders. “Markets may come and go, but classic community-design elements are enduring,” said McLarand. “And well-planned neighborhoods—sometimes called urban villages—are more appealing to consumers.”
While MVE & Partners has an extremely diverse practice, it has won numerous awards and international recognition for master-planning and designing such landmark residential mixed-use communities as the 1,550-unit Village at Irvine Spectrum, Irvine, CA; the 1,978-unit Luxetown in Chengdu, China; and the 550-unit Avalon Walnut Creek transit-oriented development in Walnut Creek, CA. The firm has also designed major institutional residential projects, including the Camp Pendleton Bachelor Enlisted Quarters Packages 4 and 7 projects totaling 1,443 units in Oceanside, CA for the U.S. Marine Corps, and the 868-unit Poly Canyon Village at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA (designed by MVE & Partners’ affiliate MVE Institutional).
MVE & Partners recently introduced IDEA to the multi-family development community, an acronym that stands for “Innovative Density, Efficient Architecture.” IDEA design solutions allow multi-family developers to efficiently build higher-density projects adaptable to suburban and urban infill sites. The Type-V, wood-frame IDEA buildings achieve 35 to 40 units or more per acre and promote affordability, quality and community design.
MVE & Partners is a national architecture, planning and interiors firm with a portfolio spanning almost 40 years. MVE & Partners’ design and delivery services include the creation of residential, commercial, mixed-use, hospitality, retail, transit, interior and planning solutions from offices in Irvine and Oakland, CA, and in Honolulu, HI. Educational and civic projects are completed by MVE Institutional, an affiliated company. MVE & Partners bridges forward-thinking design initiatives, such as sustainability, smart-growth and urbanization to the timely completion of projects. While design diversity is the cornerstone of the firm, the defining approach is the creation of meaningful, attractive environments that enhance community and quality of life.