POV: Point of View

Gillette Townhomes Introduces New Lower Density Residential Standards in the IBC

Mar. 2016

Adopted by the City Council in 2010, The Irvine Business Complex (IBC) Vision Plan expanded land use along the western edge of the City. Original plans included four zoning districts: mixed-use, multi-use, industrial and residential. The IBC Residential /Mixed-Use Vision was developed to facilitate the continued evolution of the IBC from solely office, industrial, and commercial uses into a fully mixed-use and residential community.

The earlier version of the zoning code required minimum densities of 30 units per acre in keeping with the more commercial/industrial sensibility of the district. Withee Malcolm’s first project in the IBC, 360 Fusion, a 280-unit apartment project now under construction, has a density of 78.7 units per acre.

Over time the transformation of the IBC into the envisioned mixed-use district has created market demand for lower densities that will introduce a greater variety of residential options including more family-oriented development.

The first development to receive approval under the new lower density standards—5-0 by the planning commission—is Gillette Townhomes, designed by Withee Malcom Architects for Greenlaw Partners, at 22.8 units per acre. The project, which is also the first townhome development to receive approval, will offer 137 units of attached single family homes. Plans feature two and three bedroom townhomes ranging in size from 1,300 to 2,000 square feet organized around three landscaped courtyards.

Gillette’s contemporary architecture reflects its Orange County context and meets the design standards of the IBC with its use of wood and stucco in soft earth tones. Roof decks, with their distinctive pergolas provide space for relaxing or entertaining while the the stair entrances to the rooftops create privacy. Small decks and courts, street-side entries and abundant landscaping contribute to the small community sense of scale.