the League of California Cities are working on proposals re- garding how to deal with the state’s housing crisis. “It has become so profoundly unavoidable in California and so critically important to deal with,” Preston said. “There’s a need to provide financial support to build affordable housing for low- and low-moderate income families and special needs groups, and there’s a need for housing for the middle class be- cause the number of options for housing are relatively limited.” Preston said that housing needs to be viewed similarly to transportation, in that providing multiple modal options has become a major push in many cities. He explained that many forms of housing options should be created, such as apart- ments and for-sale condominiums, single-family detached homes and townhomes. He said in his experience, a good mix of housing options leads to more diverse demographics and builds healthier communities. Communities such as San Gabriel and Long Beach have been built out since the 1950s, which makes new for-sale housing developments rare due to a lack of available land for such de- velopments in appropriate areas. In built-out cities such as these, Preston explained that infill developments that are built to a correct size and price level for the market allow for a new generation of homeowners, which encourages population growth. Seal Beach-based affordable urban housing developer The Olson Com- pany specializes in these type of for- sale housing developments. The company focuses on building transit- oriented housing, mixed-use and work- live projects, artist lofts, townhomes and neighborhood small lot detached developments that capture the essence of the already-existing neighborhoods. “I can certainly speak positively about our experience with The Olson Company. They have done a great job here,” Preston said. “Olson’s choice to move into a community like this is interesting because other home builders who would produce that type of product have mostly bypassed the city. Their interest has been significant; it’s been somewhat transfor- mative.” Preston explained that San Gabriel’s population has been fairly stable with little growth in recent years. With middle-class home developments, The Olson Company is helping to rebuild the city’s family population. Bruckner said that, during his time with the county, he worked with Olson on a number of projects, which he said re-energized neighborhoods by recycling underused or run-down parcels of land. He explained that not every infill site can handle projects any larger than an Olson project, so Olson is filling a necessary niche while remaining sensitive to the sur- rounding communities. Bruckner added that Olson projects provide en- vironmental benefits by utilizing green features and being adjacent to transit systems. John Reekstin, Senior Vice President of Development for The Olson Company, said. “So, even if there is not an affordable covenant against the property, we’re still a business model trying to provide housing that is attainable to as many people as possible in the area.” Olson’s primary busi- ness model is partnering with the cities in which it is building and often in- cludes a covenant ensur- ing homes remain affordable for a certain period of time. Reekstin explained that, combined with the lack of housing being built, homes avail- able for resale are not af- fordable to a vast number of people. With land in Southern California being scarce and therefore expensive, Reek- stin said thoughtfully in- creasing density is key to solving the housing crisis. He explained that cities examining increasing den- sity have received pushback from residents because of the belief that higher density equates to very-low income housing and other social impacts. “Educating those who already live in these neighborhoods, showing them the benefit of high quality new construction to their neighborhoods – and how these homes will complement their community and have ben- efited similar neighborhoods – is critical to change their mindset,” Reek- stin said. “One of the primary ways that we’re going to be able to provide more affordable housing throughout Southern California is to look at pro- viding more density – but in a very neighborhood sensitive, well-inte- grated manner.” ■ 19 Millennial homebuyers are looking for residences that include easy access to alternative transportation and connectivity to shopping, dining and entertainment. Los Angeles County 2nd District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is pictured with Olson Company President & CEO Scott Laurie at the future site of Magnolia Walk, which includes 94 single-family homes by Olson. “If we’re not providing affordable housing, then we are trying to provide housing that is at or below the median housing price for that particular area of Southern California.” John Reekstin Senior Vice President Development The Olson Company 2017_18Pages_OlsonCopy_PortAnniversary 12/22/17 11:30 AM Page 19