Del Mar Station is an exemplary transit oriented development that seamlessly integrates the buildings and public spaces with the rail station and the train itself. The project is situated at a Metro rail stop on the Gold Line, connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena, and is located at the southern edge of downtown Pasadena.
The project serves as a gateway to the city with 347 apartments, out of which 15% are affordable units. Approximately 20,000 square feet of retail is linked with a network of public plazas, paseos and private courtyards. The 3.4-acre, $77 million project sits above a 1,200-car multi-level subterranean parking garage, with 600 spaces dedicated to transit. The light rail right of way, detailed as a public street, bisects the site.
The Del Mar Station project meets the TOD Elements for Certification, receiving a 3-Star Award of Excellence top rating Certification. The project reaches a relatively high density without compromising pedestrian-friendliness or human-scale. According to the architect, the "blended density of 100 units per acre," not exceeding 8 stories, allows the Del Mar Station project to remain, "consistent with the height and mass of the surrounding buildings."
The project comprises four separate buildings which vary typologically, stylistically and in their individual details, such as exterior cladding, windows and doors, balcony types, building color, roof materials, landscape, and exterior lighting fixtures. The historic Santa Fe train depot, a central feature of the site, was rehabilitated and now houses a popular restaurant.
The project flawlessly connects people and transit. As you exit the train, you step directly into an open air courtyard, in the center of this vibrant mixed-use community. The attention to creating quality public spaces surrounded by human-scale, attractive architecture combine to create great placemaking.
CERTIFICATION CRITERIA REVIEW
The Del Mar Station project meets the TOD Elements for Certification, receiving a 3 Star top rating, for the following reasons:
Close Proximity to a Rail Station: This project completely surrounds the Del Mar light rail station, with the light rail right of way, detailed as a public street, bisecting the center of the site. The porous nature of the project, due to the network of plazas, paseos, and courtyards, offers a variety of entry points that gives pedestrians incredible ease of access to and from the station.
Well Defined Public Spaces – Outdoor Rooms: The buildings are designed and arranged on the site to create a wonderful network of well defined public spaces large and small. One of the residential buildings spans up and over the rail tracks, creating a complete sense of enclosure for the large central courtyard. This well-defined "outdoor living room" for the development is where the train arrives. There is a hierarchy of courtyards and passageways throughout the project that encourage locals and visitors to interact, relax, and recreate. A remarkably high density is achieved while maintaining a human-scale, and the rich architecture reflects a blend of traditional yet contemporary style.
Mix of Uses – Lively Vibrant Places:The 3.4-acre site includes 347 residential apartments (15% affordable units), approximately 20,000 square feet of retail, and a 1,200-car multi-level subterranean parking garage, with 600 spaces dedicated to transit. This project redefines vibrancy through architecture and urban design with the creative use of building types, styles, and detailing. With variations in building height, balcony types, building colors, roof materials, landscaping, and exterior fixtures, there is a great diversity of visual components that still maintain a cohesive fabric.
Pedestrian Scale –Comfortable, Safe, Enjoyable: The pedestrian amenities such as the courtyards, paseos, and passageways encourages walkability and accessibility throughout the site. A lot of attention was paid to creating a high quality pedestrian environment, which elevates the vibrancy and livability of the project. The project has a variety of amenities within walking distance.
Active Ground Floor Retail: While the project emphasizes residential uses, there is a moderate mix of retail uses mostly focused around the central plaza, including several restaurants, bars, and other services.
Sidewalk Cafes: There is small variety of sidewalk cafes and outdoor seating in and around the central plaza of the project. There is a popular restaurant residing within the historic Santa Fe train depot at the center of the site with outdoor seating adding life to the plaza. However, the project lacks an overall abundance of sidewalk cafes, which reduces the vibrancy of the outdoor spaces.
Tree Lined Streets: The Del Mar Station project has an extensive variety of tree types lining the streets surrounding and within the project. The diversity of landscaping and tree types mirrors the creative mix of architectural styles, adding a serene natural environment for the community to enjoy. The trees add life and beauty helping define the public spaces.
Reduced and Hidden Parking: A single, hidden parking garage underneath the project is shared among all the buildings. Half of the total spaces are dedicated to transit parking, which helps increase rail ridership in the area. The garage entrance is creatively hidden on an exterior street at the edge of the project, maintaining the integrity of the interior space for pedestrian uses.
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