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La Mirada Works Deal With Brandywine To Bring 42 New Homes To Former Shopping Center


LA MIRADA – The city and Brandywine Homes have agreed to a development deal that will bring 42 new single-family homes to the four-acre site that used to house the former Alondra Center.

Irvine-based Brandywine Homes has agreed to pay nearly $5.9 million to the city’s redevelopment agency for the site of the Alondra Center, a former outdoor strip mall on Alondra Boulevard and Escalona Road that was demolished in 2008.

Under the agreement with Brandywine, the site will now become the $20-million Orchards housing development, which will feature two-story homes ranging in size from 1,300 square feet to 2,000 square feet, priced at about $500,000, officials said.

In addition, officials said, six homes will be underwritten by the city and priced as affordable for moderate-income buyers.

“There hasn’t been a new development like this, in this submarket area, in a number of years,” said Brandywine Homes Chairman Jim Barisic. “La Mirada is a very desirable residential community to live in, and we think there is a pent-up demand for homes such as these.”

Each Craftsman-style home will have three or four bedrooms apiece, as well as a two-car attached garage and architecture that complements the surrounding neighborhood.

If all goes as planned, Barisic said, it’s hoped that construction will be under way in August.

But the Orchards project might not have taken place without help from the redevelopment agency, which

is being targeted for elimination by top lawmakers – including Gov. Jerry Brown – as a means to balancing the state’s budget.

By 2007, La Mirada’s redevelopment agency had relocated all 22 businesses that had been housed at the 50-year-old Alondra Center, at a cost of about $5 million.

Then, the agency worked to demolish the site and clean up some of the soil because an auto repair shop and a dry cleaner were once on the property.

“This is a project that has been a number of years in the making, had some difficult twists in the road, but the city and redevelopment agency worked to overcome those obstacles,” said City Manager Tom Robinson.

Aside from an undetermined amount of property-tax revenue that will come from the sale of the new homes, it’s estimated the Orchards development could create as many as 800 new jobs.

“That ranges from the architects involved early in the process to the ones who dig the foundation and hammer the nails and install the dishwashers,” Robinson said. “Those aren’t all full-time jobs, but they’ll be pulling a paycheck out of Orchards for a time to come.

“And that’s the type of activity the redevelopment agency helps to stimulate,” he added. “Because if the agency had not been involved, (Alondra Center) would still be an aging commercial center with a variety of problematic businesses.”