Urban Housing Communities LLC reports that construction has begun at The Crossings at Big Bear Lake, a 42-unit affordable housing community developed in collaboration with the city of Big Bear Lake�s Improvement Agency and Bank of America.

UHC Begins Construction of The Crossings at Big Bear Lake

Upon completion next summer, the $17-million community will offer healthy, supportive and eco-friendly apartment homes to local working families earning between 30 percent and 60 percent of San Bernardino County median income.

Architecture and planning firm KTGY Group, Inc. of Irvine is the architect on the project and Irvine-based SL Residential is the general contractor.

The Crossings at Big Bear Lake will offer 28 two-bedroom, two-story townhomes and 14 three-bedroom single-story flats averaging approximately 1,100 sq ft. Each apartment home will offer central heat, ceiling fans, a covered patio or balcony, energy-efficient kitchen appliances, washer/dryer hookups, high speed internet access and be wired for cable television. Rents are expected to range from $449 to $1,038 per month, based on family size and income level.

Located on 2.60 acres of land on Knickerbocker Road between Pennsylvania Avenue and Maryland Road south of Big Bear Boulevard (Highway 18), the community will feature a 2,500-sq-ft community room, a computer lab, a fully-equipped kitchen, a manager�s office, picnic and BBQ areas, a playground, laundry facilities and landscaped courtyard areas.

The community room will serve as the location of a supportive services program provided by UHC�s non-profit partner, Central Valley Coalition for Affordable Housing. Designed to meet residents� specific physical, educational, professional and social needs, CVCAH�s supportive services program will offer health clinics, after-school tutoring, budget planning, credit counseling, resume writing, computer training, fitness/nutrition classes, and targeted youth and senior activities.

The new affordable apartment community will be convenient to schools, public transportation, shopping, medical services, a public park and recreation areas, and is approximately a 10-minute walk from Big Bear Lake Village, the city�s shopping and entertainment district.

The Crossings at Big Bear Lake represents a milestone for the city, which is home to over 6,000 full-time residents. While the city does offer some affordable housing, its stock consists mainly of aging single-family homes and one affordable senior community. The Crossings at Big Bear Lake will be the city�s first affordable community targeted toward families.

�Most people know Big Bear Lake as a vacation destination, but it�s also a city that confronts the same issues of housing, healthcare and education as more urban areas,� says John Bigley, COO of Urban Housing Communities. �A certain level of affordability is required to sustain the local workforce that supports the city�s year-round recreation activities that entice vacationers to the area, such as skiing and snowboarding during the winter and boating and biking in the summer. We believe the quality affordable housing offered by The Crossings at Big Bear Lake will help the city achieve its long-term goals by attracting and retaining both businesses and employees.�

�We are so pleased and proud to welcome UHC and Bank of America to the community as our partners in developing high-quality, family-oriented affordable housing for our work force,� says Big Bear Lake�s City Manager Jeff Mathieu. �We expect this new, fully-appointed apartment community to be an asset for the city of Big Bear Lake by providing our workforce with the opportunity to enjoy the Big Bear lifestyle in a safe, clean and modern environment without the threat of fast rising rents in the future that will surely price them out of the market as soon as the economy recovers.�

Situated adjacent to a new neighborhood of single-family developments and across from Big Bear Elementary School, The Crossings at Big Bear Lake will improve vacant, untended property, according to the architect.

�The new residential apartment community was planned and designed to fit in with the image of the Big Bear Mountain community,� says KTGY�s Chris Texter, AIA, LEED AP and principal. �Heavy timber wood details can be seen in the corbels supporting the large roof overhangs that are common in Big Bear. The apartment homes are part of a redevelopment infill and include heavy timber gable end framing, stone veneer and siding. Each building is planned in such a way to respect and add to the current street scene, residences, trees and other site opportunities and are oriented around a central garden, tot lot and community center amenities for the families.�

Texter says KTGY is committed to Urban Housing Communities� mission to provide affordable housing within a community design that is contextual and well designed and meets the needs of its residents.

�We believe that The Crossings at Big Bear Lake achieves UHC�s vision with these beautiful new apartment homes and architecture that evokes a mountain community,� he says. �We are confident that families will appreciate the high quality and the outstanding amenities that The Crossings at Big Bear Lake has to offer.�

SL Residential plans to recycle at least 75% of construction waste. Other eco-friendly design features include solar panels for generating electricity to the community room and common areas; gas condensing tankless water heaters; Energy Star rated lighting, windows and gas appliances; �Dark Sky� compliant exterior lighting; water-saving fixtures in the kitchens and bathrooms; high-efficiency dual-flush toilets; flooring, railings, furniture, BBQs, and trash and recycling receptacles made from recycled content; zero-VOC interior paints and low-VOC interior finishes and adhesives; building materials that contain recycled content and do not emit harmful chemicals; and bike racks.

Early in the design process, UHC consulted an arborist in an effort to preserve some of the existing onsite trees.

UHC partnered with the city of Big Bear Lake�s Improvement Agency in 2009 to increase the city�s affordable housing stock in a manner consistent with the goals of the redevelopment plan. The Improvement Agency committed funding through a soft loan and UHC secured financing through the highly competitive 9% tax credit program. Additional financing for the project was provided by the Bank of America Community Development Corp. (BACDC), Bank of America, National Equity Fund (NEF) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).