featured graphic for Melia Homes residential project during COVID-19

Melia Homes residential project approved by Cypress City Council

At the regular meeting of the Cypress City Council held on May 10, 2021, the Council approved a proposal from Melia Homes to build 135 multi-family homes on a portion of unused parking lot at Los Alamitos Race Course (LARC).

The location of the now-approved proposal is northeast of the site of the Shea commercial project fronting on Katella Avenue. The Shea Homes project site has already been fenced off. According to a spokesman from Melia Homes, their worksite will also be fenced off once the sale of the property has been completed. He expects fencing to take place by mid July. Once fencing is in place, drivers seeking a quick shortcut across the Race Course parking lot to or from Costco will be forced to use Winners Circle, Katella Avenue, or Walker Street.

A new multi-family residential project was approved by the Cypress City Council on May 10, 2021. An aerial view of the project (outlined in blue) site proivded by development company Melia Homes.
A new multi-family residential project was approved by the Cypress City Council on May 10, 2021. An aerial view of the project (outlined in blue) site provided by development company Melia Homes.

In the photo above, Costco is south of the bounding box. Office buildings separate the job site from Walker Street. The Race Course Grand Stand, race track, and infield are to the northwest. Just to the west is overflow parking for the Race Course.

As can be seen from the photo, the project does not stretch as far as Winners Circle or Siboney Street (the entrance to the Race Course). Once the site is developed, residents and guests will enter on the north side from an extension to Vessels Circle.

Melia Homes aim for demolition and grading of the site to begin in Fall 2021. They foresee completion within two years, with units selling at market rate at that time.

What the completed project will look like

The project will be laid out in a square, with entrance from Vessels Circle at the middle of the north side.

Landscape schematic for the new Cypress Town Center residential development on former parking lot at Los Alamitos Race Course. Entrance is at the top, on Vessels Circle. Graphic courtesy of Melia Homes.
Landscape schematic for the new Cypress Town Center residential development on former parking lot at Los Alamitos Race Course. Entrance is at the top, on Vessels Circle. Graphic courtesy of Melia Homes.

As is shown in the landscape schematic above, interior access is provided off of Vessels Circle, with contiguous circulation around the development. A single layer of residences forms a perimeter with garages opening to the interior street. The balance of residences are at the center in four U-shaped blocks. Ground-floor garages open onto the inside of the U-shaped blocks.

The buildings are of two heights, and quite handsome, as shown in the graphic below.

An artist's conception of the central paseo within Melia Homes Cypress Town Center residential project, showing the two types of buildings plus open space. Graphic courtesy of Melia Homes.
An artist’s conception of the central paseo within Melia Homes Cypress Town Center residential project, showing the two types of buildings plus open space. Graphic courtesy of Melia Homes.

The Melia Homes spokesman stressed that the company wants the project to be well-accepted by the Cypress community. “We take the responsibility as the first development on Race Course property seriously and intend to set a standard of design quality that will influence future development on LARC.” The company wants to set a high bar also for security, privacy, and connectivity for the development’s residents.

Those wanting more information should visit Melia Homes and look for active development sites. Although information is not yet published, it will be soon.

A note about development and population

The City of Cypress continues its transformation from largely rural at the time of its incorporation to an almost entirely developed suburb with a large area of commercial and light industrial components, especially along the so-called Katella Avenue Corridor.

The hopes of city planners, both within the City government and among prominent business owners, to further enhance the commercial base within the City along Lincoln Avenue have largely been frustrated. Original property owners, hoping for a big paycheck from sale of their property, have individually turned to infill residential property developers rather than continuing to hold out for consolidation into larger commercial projects. This has resulted in a number of disconnected infill multi-family residential projects that provide more housing units while irritating residents in nearby single-family residences. Interestingly, despite this increase in housing units, the California Department of Finance estimates that the population of Cypress has decreased from 49,055 in 2020 to 48,531 in 2021 (-1.07%). The City’s population in 2010 was 47,802, an increase of 1.5%.

2 Comments

  1. What a wonderful addition to your affluent community. It will raise property values while the need for affordable housing units goes unfilled. The NIMBY’s will be happy while the homeless continue to be swept under the rug. I was in Costco just down the road last week when I observed a homeless man being rejected from the food court. When I brought him back and bought him food to eat, I was admonished by staff that that behavior on my part would not be tolerated again. So happy day to the Cypress city council, their architects, and mayor. You’ve managed to keep your town looking spiffy, and increase your tax revenues. Be sure to put some of that money in the offering plate when you attend your church this Sunday. Oh… and don’t forget, May is mental health month. Good Job!

    1. Author

      Mr. Farell,

      Thank you for reading Orange County Breeze and for taking the time to comment on this article.

      Approving a new housing development and trying to help the homeless within the boundaries of the City of Cypress are not mutually exclusive.

      The challenges of serving the homeless has been and continues to be wrestled with by the Cypress City Council, by City staff, by members of the Cypress Police Department who are specially trained for outreach to the homeless, and by CityNet, which is contracted by the City to reach out to the homeless and attempt to assist them.

      When that assistance is accepted, help is given — including transportation to a homeless shelter.

      When that assistance is refused, help is not imposed but laws are enforced.

      Regarding your encounter at Costco — that is private property with a semi-public use. The management is not part of the government of the City of Cypress although the business is located within the City of Cypress and is obliged to obey local laws, as is the homeless person who was fortunate in finding someone to feed him.

      But hanging around the food court at Costco is not the only source of food within the boundaries of the City of Cypress, or just outside it. For example, St. Irenaeus Catholic Church, Grateful Hearts, and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Anaheim-Cypress each operate a food bank. If the person you bought food for has had any interaction at all with the Cypress Police Department or CityNet, the person has been told about such resources.

      Affordable housing units have been built over the last handful of years within the boundary of the City of Cypress. For instance, several new developments within the Lincoln Corridor have included affordable housing. However, the cost of acquiring land, meeting regulatory requirements, and construction make it difficult for developers to build housing that can be offered at a below-market price.

      Building affordable housing units and building market-rate housing are not mutually exclusive.

      Again, thank you for reading Orange County Breeze.

      Shelley Henderson
      editor, Orange County Breeze

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