Courtesy of ROEM Development Corporation
Courtesy of ROEM Development Corporation

In the case of the LINK apartments, a name means much more than just the building's sign.  

ROEM Development Corporation recently began construction on the new affordable housing community in the heart of Baldwin Park, located near Los Angeles. The $27 million development will feature 70 units, more than 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and is being built to LEED Gold standards.

More importantly, the development seeks to infuse a renewed urban vibe within Baldwin Park’s downtown center. The transit-oriented development—built, ironically, on the site of an under-utilized parking lot—is adjacent to the Baldwin Park Metrolink station (a mere 15-minute ride from downtown L.A.), and flanked by bus routes. The property does not include any on-site parking, though ROEM has reserved one space per unit for tenants in a parking structure next to the site.  

ROEM plans to donate a portion of the completed project to the city as a new public plaza, in a move to reconnect City Hall with the heart of downtown Baldwin Park and the Ramona Boulevard retail district. 
“It’s really this element of linking different uses and different objectives together that the project is fulfilling, that’s where the name LINK came from,” says Derek Allen, vice president of operations at ROEM Corporation. “Affordable housing is a primary objective, but it’s about so much more than that. It was a mechanism by which we could introduce a public plaza, we improve civic space, add new retail to their downtown area, and improve the architectural character of the street-scape experience while connecting their bus, car, bike, and transit options downtown with a single project.”

The mixed-use development will unite many aspects of a live-work-play urban lifestyle for L.A. residents.  A fitness center and computer lab (with an integrated library) are just some of the amenities relatively uncommon to affordable housing developments.

“You are in a place that’s a destination, so there’s really a benefit to make the community a place where you’re going to spend a lot of time,” Allen says.
As an affordable housing development, the LINK community is specifically targeted to households who make between 30% and 60% of the Area Median Income. With a mix of one- two- and three-bedroom options, the units serve both families and young professionals who qualify at those income levels. 

Like all post-2008 ROEM Corporation projects, LINK is being built to a LEED standard. Some of the green building components include sustainable materials such as sustainable woods, low-VOC components, and LED light fixtures.

“In terms of selecting a sustainable site for development, this is as sustainable as it gets,” says Allen, citing the walkable and bike-friendly aspects of the site. Ideally, residents won’t even need access to a car.

LINK originally began as a LEED Silver standard development, but the company found creative ways to elevate the property to Gold, a process that Allen says he often sees on projects like this.

“I think that by being an early adopter in residential space, we’ve gained a certain amount of expertise in how to do that efficiently, both from a cost perspective and by focusing on those elements that reduce operating costs later on,” says Allen.  

For the city of Baldwin Park, LINK will be a step in revitalizing the district.

“This is a project that’s not just an affordable housing project, but it’s really a mix-used residential development that is a catalyst for general development in the area of downtown Baldwin Park,” says Allen.  “That’s something that’s very exciting to be a part of.”