From correctional facility to housing complex: 750-unit Whittier project breaks ground

Brookfield Residential and Lennar will develop project on campus of former reform school

Rendering of The Groves (Credit: Brookfield Residential)
Rendering of The Groves (Credit: Brookfield Residential)

Here’s a unique take on adaptive reuse.

A Brookfield Residential and Lennar Corp. joint venture will break ground on a 75-acre mixed-use development in Whittier, which will take shape on the site of a former correctional facility for juveniles.

The 126-year-old development will be restored and transformed into 750 residences. There will be 561 for-sale homes and 189 apartments, with 150,000 square feet of retail space, according to a company statement. Out of the 189 apartments, 60 will be targeted for seniors.

Groundbreaking was scheduled for Wednesday and construction was expected to be completed in Spring 2020, according to a news release.

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Dubbed “The Groves in Whittier,” the project will also include neighborhood parks, a “Heritage Trail” featuring a 10-foot wide walkway, clubhouse, pool area and dog park.

The four existing buildings, located at 11850 Whittier Boulevard in west Whittier, had been used to house juvenile delinquents from 1891 until the reform school closed in 2004. The property had alson once featured a major agriculture farm, filled with rows of citrus fruit, a vegetable garden and a 350-tree orchard.

Brookfield Residential, the homebuilding arm of Brookfield Asset Management, is also a major developer in Playa Vista, where it has built 30 single-family homes. Named Marlowe, the community features some of the priciest homes in the oceanside city, with three-story townhomes costing over $3 million, or $960 per square foot.

Its partner, Miami-based Lennar, specializes in single-family homes in planned communities. It became the largest U.S. homebuilder in October when it agreed to purchase CalAtlantic Group in a cash and stock deal worth $9.3 billion.