The Thousand Oaks City Council has unanimously approved the nearly 12-acre Thousand Oaks Ranch development project, marking a historic development for the city..
“The TO Ranch will be the largest apartment project in the city regarding the number of units constructed,” Haider Alawami, Thousand Oaks’ economic development manager, said about the development, adding that the size of the project is not common in the city.
The development, located at 325 and 391 Hampshire Road, will feature 420 apartments and townhomes, 50 of which will be designated as low-income housing and four of which will be designated as moderate-income units. Most of the apartment homes will be one-bedroom units, while the townhomes will primarily consist of three-bedroom residences.
Apartment units will be housed across two mixed-use buildings that will include subterranean parking garages. The townhomes will be spread across 13 buildings and have two enclosed parking spaces for each unit.
Public and private amenities within the development include a commitment to green space and recreation, and nearly 25% of the area will be dedicated to publicly accessible open spaces. Amenities will include parks, entertainment spaces with barbecues, a heated pool with a spa, a meditation lawn and a dog park, among other features.
Rounding out the development will be 15,000 square feet of retail space consisting of shops and restaurants. The development also will include a learning and tutoring center for use by residents’ children; Westlake Elementary School and Westlake Montessori School are located nearby.
The applicant that pushed for the approval of the development, which took place in June, was IMT Capital V Hampshire, a Sherman Oaks-based real estate investment firm that is an offshoot of 30-year-old apartment operator IMT Residential.
The project design team for Thousand Oaks Ranch will consist of IMT Residential, Irvine architecture firm KTGY, Van Nuys civil engineer Stantec Consulting Services and landscape architect Duane Border Design in Los Angeles.
KTGY has been involved with several projects in Thousand Oaks, according to Alawami.
“They’ve worked on 1710 on The Boulevard, which is 36 units. They’ve done another one for Latigo Group at 299 Thousand Oaks Blvd., and that’s 142 units,” he said. “They are also the architect for another standalone residential complex with 73 units.”
On the other side of the design team, the Thousand Oaks Ranch plan is IMT’s first project in the city. The apartment operator has more than 500 associates and a portfolio of more than 17,000 homes nationwide.
Alawami said that in the last few years, supply chain issues have delayed projects, but that the bigger challenge for developments now may be inflation.
However, Alawami added, IMT might be able to handle the issue.
“With the big groups like IMT, they’re well-funded, so it’s going to hurt the smaller guys much more than the bigger guys because of differences in capital,” he said. “IMT has a lot of money, so they can weather the storm in my opinion. However, this just got approved a couple of weeks ago, so we’ll see if inflation is going to play a part in the project or not.”
According to ITM’s LinkedIn page, the firm manages the capital of leading U.S. institutions alongside its own private capital, and, since 1922, has made investments in excess of $7.4 billion.
Another potential hurdle for the development was brought up by Councilmember Kevin McNamee at the June 14 city council hearing. He inquired about the water usage of the development in a state facing drought conditions.
A member of the city’s traffic team said that the development would be much more efficient than the local housing stock constructed from the 1950s through the 1970s, which uses approximately two times the amount of water that a development such as the Thousand Oaks Ranch would.
Thousand Oaks is currently at Level 4 water conservation measures, which includes no watering of lawns from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. among several other restrictions.
Past and future
The plot of land needed for IMT’s development was once home to a Kmart commercial shopping center that has been a nearly two-decade long eyesore for nearby residents, as it has been vacant since 2004. The area features a 103,670-square-foot commercial building, a 2,600-square-foot fast food drive-thru restaurant, a parking lot and existing landscaping. The drive-thru restaurant closed in 2021.
The Thousand Oaks Ranch development was proposed more than two years ago, and between its pre-screening and final city council hearing, changes were made to the original plans that gained approval from council members and residents alike. The modifications included reducing the number of units from 459 to 420, increasing affordable units from 41 to 54, lowering the height of the project and introducing seven live/work units.
Referencing a lack of affordable housing in Thousand Oaks, a decrease in the city’s population, drops in school enrollment numbers and other local concerns, Councilmember Al Adam expressed support for the development during the organization’s meeting.
“I think this is good,” he said. “I think people are starting to take a shift in attitudes about where this city needs to go and TO Ranch is right at the crux of that and I think it solves a lot of the problems we are facing now and will face in the future.”
Now, with the upcoming development, the area will go from a vacant lot to a sprawling area of the city which will ease the demand for housing and contribute to the local economy, proponents argue.
“There are a lot of local companies who submitted letters supporting the project because they say they need that type of housing to recruit more employees, so that’s where the demand comes in,” Alawami said. He noted that the affordable units also help with the housing crisis impacting the local region.
The burgeoning biotech industry in Thousand Oaks is one of the more prominent sectors looking for more employees — a point made by Adam Haverstock, director of government affairs and tourism at the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“The City of Thousand Oaks is working to expand the footprint of its biotechnology corridor,” Haverstock said. “The thing is, you can’t expand biotech without also expanding housing. They are one and the same. One cannot be done without the other.”