A new high-density luxury apartment community in Anaheim, Calif., slated for LEED-Silver, taps into renters’ desire for sustainable, healthy living and walkable access to public transportation.

At first glance, the Crossing at Anaheim’s industrial park setting might seem an unlikely one for a boutique hotel-style apartment complex, but it has captured the attention of commute-weary renters, and architect David Senden says more upscale development is expected soon.

“This is an exciting location, especially for commuters, as the Crossing is situated next to the Metrolink/Amtrak station with convenient access to all the area’s major freeways and shopping, dining, entertainment and employment,” says Senden, a principal with KTGY Architects and lead designer on the project. “This new development will spur the area’s conversion to quality residential.”

While the 5.2-acre site was chosen for its accessibility to highway and rail transit, apartment interiors shy away from it. Units, ranging from lofts to two-bedroom, are focused inward on themed courtyards oriented away from the neighborhood, freeways, and rail line. Underground and ground-level parking for 600 cars—two from each unit—acknowledges that not all residents will rely solely on public transportation.

“The hope is that the community was put in a spot that in time can function without residents having to drive everywhere,” Senden says, adding that preferred parking is offered for fuel-efficient vehicles.

The complex boasts eco-friendly features such as dedicated parking for more than 120 bicycles, cool roofs from IB Roof Systems, and state-mandated stormwater runoff capturing and cleaning. Each unit is outfitted with a Broan SmartSense ventilation system, water-saving fixtures including dual-flush toilets, Energy Star-rated appliances, and efficient compact fluorescent lights. For healthy indoor air quality, designers speced low-VOC paint and adhesives and Green Label Plus-certified carpets from Mohawk made from 100% post-recycled content.
To help rack up LEED points, Irvine, Calif.-based developer Sares-Regis achieved a 94% landfill diversion rate during demolition of the site’s existing warehouse and a 75% recycling rate during construction.

In addition, the entire community is non-smoking, including inside private apartments. “That’s pretty unique for a project this size,” Senden says, adding that market demand for healthy multifamily living dictated the ban on smoking. “It was a simple decision, since in Southern California more people would like to live in a place that is smoke free.”

For all its green features, it’s the high-density nature of the 312-unit project that is of overarching importance, Senden notes.

“It’s on a rail line that reduces the need for car trips, and there are more people on a smaller piece of land,” he says.

With rents comparable to other nearby complexes with no sustainable features, the Crossing is attracting eco-minded tenants made up of young professionals and empty nesters, Senden says. The first phase of the project, open since December, is 90% leased. Rents run from $1,320 to approximately $2,165 per month.

“More and more people are asking questions about sustainability when renting apartments,” he says. “They might not want to pay more rent for it but if it’s a choice between a complex that has LEED certification and one that doesn’t and they’re comparably priced, consumers lean toward the certified choice.”

Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor Online for EcoHome.