By Biko Nicholas Poindexter-HodgeSentinel Intern
On June 23, Thomas Safran and Associates (TSA) celebrated the opening of the newly developed, affordable Rittenhouse Square on 1100 E. 33rd St. and South Central Ave. District 9 Councilwoman Jan Perry and TSA were present to unveil the impressive apartment complex at an open house ceremony.
The Rittenhouse Square features 100 one-bedroom units, amenity-rich common areas and 4,000 square feet of retail space. The complex is constructed to foster community-building activities and has extraordinary enhancements for senior residents.
The Sentinel recently spoke with Andrew David Gross, Vice President of Development about Rittenhouse Square.
Sentinel: "What made you want to design and remodel Rittenhouse Square, thus in the final process doing a phenomenal job?"
Mr. Gross: "Well our companies credo is to enhance the world that which we live, to enrich the lives of people who are not in their building. So that's our mission and about 5 years ago we were approached by Cassie Godfrey and at that rate developmentally to look for potential sites in a non-area specifically the development project area for a nine. See if we could find some sites that we could make some affordable housing on Rittenhouse Square. We actually had an open house like the one we'll have tomorrow. Five years ago in downtown Los Angeles it was called Skyline Village. Now Jenny Guriger said could we come to this open house, and like what she saw and called me set up some time to tour and took me around the 89 Project Area which is around the south-east corner of 33rd & Central. We bought escrow from another buyer and we got buyers to buy it from other buyers."
Sentinel: "Wow, that's amazing, so approximately how long did it take you guys to develop Rittenhouse Square?"
Mr. Gross: "Well, approximately that property was included in the purchasing in 2006. So, it took a good 4 years to get the name titled, since it was initially commercial property. And secondly this alley that is re-entering into the property, we had to vacate the alley. After that we had to redo the front. The Los Angeles Housing Department created new buildings. The Affordable Housing Program and the Home Sustaining Program as well as tax credits from the Federal Government. So as you can see there are a lot of layers of financing come together to put this together to raise those funds."
Sentinel: "I see from the paper that I got, that you have a community area with a 74" flat-screen television, player piano, library, full kitchen, waterfall, BBQ, and picnic area, exercise room, billiards, high quality pool table and furnishings and an on-site resident activities that include monthly birthday, parties, bingo, movie nights, is that all provided for just in that area or is that just for the event?"
Mr. Gross: "No that is all provided in this building and again what we do is to raise the bar for what is possible. Not only for affordable housing but also for all housing. Again it goes towards our mission to provide better living for residents."
Sentinel: "That's phenomenal, if a person wanted to move in or live in the resident area, how much would it cost to move in?"
Mr. Gross: "They are all rental, it's rental housing. You qualify based on your income level, and rent range, which is depending on your income level from approximately $400 to $800 a month."
Sentinel: "Wow, that's a really good deal!"
Mr. Gross: "Specifically, for one bedroom initial rent $426 to $825 a month an this is specifically. And for a one-person household you have to make less than $34,000 a year. And for a two-person household you have to make less than $39,780 per year. So if you make less than that amount of money per year, than you qualify for rent."
Sentinel: " I understand that council woman, Jan Perry worked with you guys?"
Mr. Gross: "She was instrumental."
Sentinel: "I am profoundly impressed by the picture that you sent us of newly developed Rittenhouse Square!"
Mr. Croy: "Well, Thank you, it is something special to experience, as I said it is modeled after the Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. We looked at the area and said, " Well what type of building are we going to put in this area? And when we thought about it; there wasn't any type of architecture theme that we could really find. So we said, lets take an area, and it's a very elegant and upscale area, so we took Town Square. And that's that area we choose, so we modeled after the Town Square in Philadelphia."
Sentinel: "So on the day of the event, can people move in on that same day as the event or could move in the day after the event?"
Mr. Gross: "Actually, the building is already 100% leased, and people already live there. The reason we're having an open house celebration because were having it after the people moved in. That's what we need to do is really create an environment for people to live in that feel safe and secure."
For more information on Rittenhouse Square or to contact Thomas Safran & Associates you may call (310) 820-4888 or visit at /www.tsahousing.com/.