El Paisano

Former Whittier Correctional Facility to Become Housing Development

Brookfield+Residential+and+Lennar+are+set+to+break+ground+on+%22The+Groves+in+Whittier.%22+The+mixed-use+development+is+scheduled+to+open+in+Spring+2020.
Brookfield Residential and Lennar are set to break ground on

Brookfield Residential and Lennar are set to break ground on "The Groves in Whittier." The mixed-use development is scheduled to open in Spring 2020.

Courtesy of Brookfield Residential/Lennar

Courtesy of Brookfield Residential/Lennar

Brookfield Residential and Lennar are set to break ground on "The Groves in Whittier." The mixed-use development is scheduled to open in Spring 2020.

Michael Khuraibet, Digital Editor-in-Chief

Last Wednesday, Whittier City Council Members joined employees of Brookfield Residential to break ground on a new housing development. Known as “The Groves in Whittier,” the complex will take the place of the defunct Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility. The facility, which closed in 2004, has sat on 75 acres of unused land. Only recently has Brookfield, in association with Lennar Corp. of Miami, been granted permission to develop over it.

According to Urbanize.LA, The Groves will include 750 total homes and apartments, with 60 units assigned for senior living. In addition, the complex will save 150,000 square feet — nearly 3.5 acres — for retail and restaurant space. There have also been proposals for recreational amenities, including parks and a swimming pool.

The facility opened in 1891 as the Whittier State Reformatory for Boys and Girls. In 1912, businessman Fred Nelles took over as superintendent, where he made certain reforms including the disuse of metal anklets. In 1941, the facility was renamed in Nelles’ honor, eventually converting to a prison-style complex. Many California leaders, including Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, refused to reopen the facility. It wasn’t until June 2011 when the California Public Works Board approved the sale of the land to Brookfield.

“This was the second state school in California,” said Whittier Mayor Joe Vinatieri. ““It was brought in by the founders of the new Quaker colony. The school brought in jobs, all the way until 2002. In 2004, this bad boy school was shut down and became a blighted eyesore.”

According to Bisnow, Brookfield first bid to redevelop the land shortly after the facility’s closing. David Bartlett, vice president of land entitlements for Brookfield, confirmed that escrow of the $42.5 million sale is expected to close near the end of April. The project will cost between $400-500 million.

The development has hit many speed bumps since its first bid. In 2012, California stopped funding developers that would give Brookfield a $20 million tax credit to build affordable housing. Bartlett said this forced the company to adjust its plans. After approval by the city in 2015, the Whittier Conservancy raised two lawsuits to protect many of the structures. An $850,000 settlement was reached in October 2017.

According to the Whittier Daily News, Brookfield will adapt and reuse many of its existing structures. Plans have been proposed to transform the former Commissary and Chapel into a recreational center. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Bartlett said, “Today, we’re rebreaking the ground, blending the old with the new, and the past with the future.”

The company is excited, if anxious, to finally make use of its land. Adrian Foley, president and COO of Brookfield expressed that the development was long overdue. “Quite frankly, it shouldn’t take us 13 years to reposition an underutilized piece of real estate and produce a phenomenal asset for the city of Whittier,” said Foley. “We should have been here 10 years ago. We should have been here five years ago. We certainly should have been here three years ago.”

The Groves are expected to open Spring 2020.

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Leave a Comment

All comments are subject to review.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Former Whittier Correctional Facility to Become Housing Development

    News

    LA County Sheriffs and Operation Healthy Hearts Provide Showers and More for Homeless

  • Former Whittier Correctional Facility to Become Housing Development

    News

    Campus Incident *update*

  • Former Whittier Correctional Facility to Become Housing Development

    News

    “AMLO” New Elected Mexican President

  • Former Whittier Correctional Facility to Become Housing Development

    News

    Whittier man is among last survivors of famed all-Japanese World War II combat team

  • Former Whittier Correctional Facility to Become Housing Development

    News

    The Exceptional Cruelty of a No-Hugging Policy

Rio Hondo College Newspaper
Former Whittier Correctional Facility to Become Housing Development