Renderings courtesy of Urban Pacific. Above: a five-bedroom unit UTH began construction on this month on Golden Ave. in DTLB.
Scott Choppin is frustrated with housing—and it has been the focus of his career for decades—but what he is frustrated most about is what he calls “the missing middle”: units with four or five bedrooms that cater to multiple-generational families with multiple incomes.
For Choppin, founder and CEO of Urban Pacific Group of Cos., it’s not sexy nor is it glamorous—but it’s creative.
“We’re at the point in the crisis where we need to be inventive,” Choppin said. “There’s never enough money to meet the supply for affordable housing—I’ve been doing it for years. We need to do things that aren’t being done.”
And that’s why Choppin is skipping past state-funded subsidized housing and luxury high rises to find small lots that can accommodate his privately financed endeavor: a mix of market-rate and affordable, large units that hold multi-generational families that are made on smaller plots of land that are either in a neighborhood not fit for larger projects or in desperate need to denser homes while all being near transit to accommodate the needs of those that don’t drive in the household. (Hey there, Grandma and teenagers.)
In other words, the housing that is being pushed out on one side by purely subsidized housing—too competitive for struggling multi-generational households—and luxury housing on the other—flat-out too expensive—is the housing Choppin wants to create for both those that can afford it and, more importantly, those that can’t.
“I figured there has to be something we could do differently than everyone else,” Choppin said. “So we started looking at smaller infill apartments, in neighborhoods that weren’t highly competitive.”
At 325 Daisy, he’s already completed two five-bedroom units that are already rented out; one affordable, one market-rate. At 1719 Cedar Ave., just south of PCH, he started construction this month on four five-bedroom units. The same goes for 538 Golden Ave., where three five-bedroom units with the layout broken down below and pictured at the top.
It would make sense given, under KB Homes, the man oversaw the acquisition, entitlement, syndication, and development of over 1,900 affordable units across the Southland.
And the tenants Choppin is searching for are just that: homes where multiple generations mingle, co-exist, and do the best they can to make ends comfortably meet. Long before America marveled at mocking the young adults who never moved beyond the nest, the vast majority of the country lived in houses with multiple generations and multiple income earners. That is, until the almighty Nuclear Family, paired with subdivision development that ushered in suburban living, came to rule the day.
“Workforce housing is now becoming one of the fastest growing needs in all major urban, US markets—and we have to address that need,” Choppin said. “You’re looking at a household that has two to four wage earners, three to four kids—who wants to commute from East LA to work at the Port of Long Beach?”
This type of catering that Choppin does… The future of it? Well, he is eying over 500 lots across SoCal to continue his endeavor of filling the missing middle.