Developer Legacy Partners could replace a small church near the South Coast Plaza shopping mall with a multifamily residential complex, according to a presentation to the Santa Ana Planning Commission.

The project, slated for a 3.59-acre property at 651 West Sunflower Street, calls for razing the nearly 10,000-square-foot church to make way for the construction of a five-story, 226-unit apartment building wrapping around a six-level parking structure.  The Legacy Sunflower development would offer a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom dwellings, served by 452 parking stalls - or approximately two spaces per residential unit.

A rendering depicts a contemporary design for the project, with proposed finishes including metal panels, stone veneer, and brick veneer.  The proposed building would incorporate on-site amenities such as a dog park, a swimming pool, and multiple courtyards.

Construction of Legacy Sunflower is expected to occur over approximately 24 months.  An exact timeline has not been announced.

According to a staff report to the Planning Commission, the Sunflower property is located in an area which is already developed with multifamily buildings that are "more intense" than the proposed project.  It does not abut single-family dwellings, and includes transitional height on its eastern elevation, which faces a neighborhood of duplexes.

The proposed development requires a general plan amendment, and must maintain an access easement to an adjacent school after completion.  The staff report recommended that the project should be approved.

The existing Sound Four Square Church, citing decreased attendance in recent years, initiated contact with Legacy Partners regarding a potential development of its existing site.  The sale agreement for the property includes ownership rights for church administration, and assistance for relocation in Santa Ana - preferably near the city's Downtown area.