As one who is very much interested in seeing Costa Mesa's Westside improved, and who was involved in the formulation of the Westside Plans, I'm pleased to see that the Jim Righeimer City Council has been implementing those plans, by methodically putting the pieces in place.
Not everyone is aware of what the Righeimer council has done, or is doing, or how the seemingly small pieces all fit together as a whole. Some might think that fixing streets, medians and sidewalks and putting in a fancy sign at the entrance of West 19th Street are of little consequence.
They'd be mistaken. These things are the prerequisites to bigger improvements, and these seemingly minor fixes, coupled with a new tone that encourages improvement, has caused some small-lot developers to take risks in building upscale homes on the Westside. These homes will attract an upwardly mobile population with disposable income, and they in turn will attract quality retailers who will attract more upscale residents who in turn will attract more quality retailers. This is what an upward spiral in a community looks like.
The census tract bounded by 19th to the north, Placentia Avenue to the west, Anaheim and Superior avenues on the east and Industrial Way to the south contains Trader Joe's and the Shalimar neighborhood.
The Righeimer council has approved or is about to approve for this census tract three new residential projects totaling about 290 new detached homes. There will be roughly 1.9 residents per household.
Not one of these 290 new households will have less than a $100,000 household income, because it will take that much to qualify for a loan, unless lower-income buyers pay with cash or use unconventional financing. Some of the incomes there will be much higher.
Currently, that census tract has 1,393 households, but only 150 have an income of at least $100,000. That's only 10.86%.
With the 290 new households, the number of households with $100,000-plus incomes in that census tract will increase by an astounding 193%, but the number of households will increase by only 20.9%.
It's like cold fusion. Put in a little energy in the front of the machine and you get much more energy out.
A little math shows how the Righeimer council is helping make the Westside the best side:
Only 150 households in that census tract have $100,000-plus incomes.
Add the 290 new homes, each with $100,000-plus incomes, and you get 440 homes with $100,000-plus incomes and 1,683 households total in that census tract.
Homes with more than a $100,000 household income after the 290 homes are built out and sold will have increased to 26%.
And almost 100% of this is being done with private-sector money.
Site selectors for national or regional tenants are now going to start taking a look at this area because of the major increase in spendable income.
The Westside plans were just a dream. It is the Righeimer council that is making them a reality.
M.H. Millard
Costa Mesa