SummerHill Apartment Communities to Celebrate Completion of New 300-unit Transit-Oriented Luxury Residential Rental Community in Walnut Creek with Public Art Unveiling


Renowned Contemporary Artist Phillip K. Smith III’s 32 Ft. Tall “Gradient Column” Sculpture Creates Optic Sensation at Brio

OAKLAND, Calif. – November 17, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — Award-winning national architecture and planning firm KTGY Group, Inc. and SummerHill Apartment Communities, a division of SummerHill Housing Group and a leader in providing quality, smart growth, multi-family rental housing and mixed-use developments, announce the completion of Brio, a new 300-unit luxury residential rental community in Contra Costa County situated four blocks from a BART light rail station in Walnut Creek, Calif. The completion of Brio will be celebrated with a public art unveiling on Tuesday, November 18th.

The property, located at 161 North Civic Drive, steps from downtown Walnut Creek, epitomizes smart infill development by replacing a vacant, functionally-obsolete office building and parking lot with a beautiful state-of-the-art energy-efficient residential community, said Walnut Creek Mayor Kristina D. Lawson.

“These are exciting times for Walnut Creek. People want to live here and be part of all the city has to offer. The Brio project is a perfect fit for our vibrant downtown, offering people a place to live that is close to public transit, shopping, dining and the arts,” said  Lawson. “In addition, project developers provided traffic and pedestrian improvements that will benefit the entire community.”

According to Robert Freed, CEO of SummerHill Housing Group, Brio appeals to residents who value the highest quality finishes and want to be close to downtown and transit such as young professionals, empty-nesters and those who have relocated or moved down and want to rent. BRIO offers one- and two-bedroom apartment homes ranging in size from 667 to 1,051 square feet. The apartment homes are energy- and water-efficient and include a gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances and European-style cabinetry, luxurious oversized soaking tubs, walk-in closets, in-unit full-size washers and dryers, sizable linen closets and balconies or patios.

Brio’s community amenities include a central courtyard that features a large resort-inspired pool and spa with an extensive sundeck, five outdoor kitchens with dining areas, outdoor lounge with a fireplace, and an outdoor ping-pong table and a natural lawn. The clubhouse features a 24-hour fitness studio, sports lounge with gaming center, iCafe with Coffee Bar, resident lounge with pool table and flat-screen TVs, BRIO Wine Lounge with private wine lockers, and a large full-service kitchen. There is a rooftop outdoor terrace with sweeping views of Mt. Diablo, picnic pavilions and green space. Residents can also enjoy complimentary common area WiFi and concierge conveniences including dry cleaning, grocery delivery, pet sitting, and housekeeping will be added in the future.

Brio’s alternative transportation amenities include bicycle storage and electric vehicle charging stations.  The apartment community’s garage is CALGreen certified and includes a 46.5KW system of solar panels on the roof of the garage, motion sensor lighting controls, and two dual electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to accommodate four cars and up to 21 EV charging stations in the future. The apartment community building exceeds California’s Title 24 requirements by 15% and includes low VOC finish products and recycled content.

At the new signalized intersection of North Civic Drive and Brio Drive, in front of Brio’s entrance will be renowned contemporary artist Phillip K. Smith III’s “Gradient Column,” a 32′ tall static sculpture. As either cars drive by or people approach the soaring totemic sculpture, colors will appear to shift whether you are approaching from the north or the south. And the movement of the sun will create a varied experience from dawn until dusk.  At night, five in-grade well-lights provide a memorable dance of color and shadow. An adjacent concrete bench and the feeling of space that the plaza creates allows for a more engaging experience with pedestrians.

“After reviewing over 20 artists and interviewing three, the development and design team was unanimous in selecting Phillip,” said Freed. “His work is striking and very contemporary, which was something envisioned for this project by both SummerHill and the city, given the site’s proximity to downtown, which is becoming more and more cosmopolitan. Phillip is excellent to work with and very accustomed to working in a collaborative manner with architects, developers and other stakeholders. We are thrilled with the results and hope that the community and our residents will enjoy it for a very long time. I also think with Phillip’s international following, we will get a lot of visitors coming to the city to view the sculpture.”

KTGY is the architect of record for Brio and provided design development, construction document and construction administration services. Chek Tang and Chris Roberts of Studio T-Sq of Oakland, Calif., provided the concept.

KTGY Principal David Senden said that SummerHill Apartment Communities is also celebrating the completion of The Lane on the Boulevard, a new 141-unit luxury KTGY-designed residential rental community in Redwood City, Calif., on Tuesday, November 18th. Last month, SummerHill Apartment Communities broke ground on the Villas on the Boulevard, a new KTGY-designed 186-unit luxury residential rental community in the City of Santa Clara, Calif., also on El Camino Real.

For more information about Brio, see

About Phillip K. Smith III
A Rhode Island School of Design graduate and resident of the Palm Springs area, Phillip K. Smith, III, has been commissioned to create over a dozen monumental works across the United States. Smith rose to international acclaim with his project “Lucid Stead” that amalgamated a 70-year-old homesteader shack with mirror, LED lighting, and custom electronics to create a 24-hour experience in the isolation of Joshua Tree, CA.  “Lucid Stead” inspired an escalation in scale and focused attention on color in his installation “Reflection Field.” Smith was honored as the 2010 Artist in Residence at the Palm Springs Art Museum and was included in the exhibition, Smooth Operations: Substance and Surface in Southern California Art, alongside artists such as Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, DeWain Valentine, and Craig Kauffman at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster CA.  The Los Angeles Times named Smith as one of the three Faces to Watch in 2014 in Art alongside the Hammer Museum’s senior curator, Ann Ellegood, and multiple Venice Biennale participant, artist Gabriel Kuri. He was later featured on the cover of the arts and culture section of the same paper, with not only a front page image, but a full-page article that covered his career and practice. Smith is scheduled for a solo show at Dartmouth University in spring of 2015. Phillip K Smith, III is represented by Royale Projects: Contemporary Art in Palm Desert, CA. See

About SummerHill Housing Group
SummerHill Housing Group combines the expertise and market strength of the highly respected development firms San Ramon, Calif.-based SummerHill Homes and SummerHill Apartment Communities. SummerHill Homes specializes in mid- to high-end homes, and is nationally recognized for customizing development plans to accommodate a site’s special characteristics. SummerHill Apartment Communities has a long track record of developing award-winning apartment and mixed-use infill rental housing communities. Both firms specialize in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. See

About KTGY Group
Celebrating 23 years, KTGY Group, Inc., Architecture + Planning, is a national award-winning firm providing comprehensive planning and award-winning architectural design services for residential communities, retail, hospitality, mixed-use and related specialty developments. KTGY delivers innovative solutions that reflect clear understanding of development, market and consumer trends, and financial performance. KTGY serves clients worldwide from offices in Irvine, Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif., Denver, Colo., and Tysons, Va. See

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