Belvedere, California

Architect: Sutton Suzuki Architects, Francis Gough Architect
Landscape Architect: The Guzzardo Partnership

Originally constructed as summer residences in 1951, the 22 units that compose Mallard Pointe are among the most expensive rental housing available in Marin County due to their highly desirable location on the Belvedere Lagoon. However, over the past 70 years, these units have had limited upgrades and are antiquated in terms of livability and facing functional obsolescence. Further, Mallard Pointe’s location in a FEMA flood zone requires that this housing be raised and effectively rebuilt if the required major improvements are pursued on this property.

To respond to this issue, the principals of Thompson | Dorfman have led an effort to re-envision Mallard Pointe and create a property that better addresses the needs of the surrounding community and market. A new housing plan was created based on over 100 meetings with residents, neighbors, elected and appointed officials, and City staff, among others. The new plan with 39 units (and three accessory dwelling units) creates sustainable residences to prepare for the next 70 years. In keeping with the character of Belvedere, the project is thoughtfully designed to blend into and complement the neighborhood. It reflects the existing development pattern with single family homes and duplexes on the Lagoon and an apartment building on the inner part of the site, which is also adjacent to the Belvedere City Hall and Community Center and public park. The proposed project provides a net increase of 20 housing units, of which 12 are affordable as deeded BMRs, ADUs, or are affordable by design, although there is no affordable housing requirement in the City.

A major objective of the re-envisioned plan is the creation of housing options for the local workforce, young families, retirees, and children of Belvedere residents. The proposed residences will include a wide variety of rental apartments, duplexes, and for-sale single-family homes designed to accommodate a range of household sizes and living styles. The apartment building is designed to include single-level floor plans in a walkable location and will offer a new local option for empty nesters seeking to downsize while staying in the community.

As noted, Mallard Pointe is being redesigned to account for rising sea levels and will be FEMA compliant. The residences will also achieve water conservation through drip irrigation, drought-tolerant landscaping, and water-efficient fixtures, as well as energy-efficient design that incorporates solar panels with storage batteries and Energy Star appliances, heating units, lighting, and other building systems. In addition, significant community benefits will be provided, including offsite pedestrian enhancements and traffic-calming features.

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