Infrastructure improvements, transit-oriented developments receive allocations
While the California State Legislature passed its budget by raiding funds from local governments and redevelopment agencies, the City of Los Angeles' remarkable success in securing $118 million in Proposition 1C funds will help move major revitalization efforts forward throughout the City.
California voters passed Proposition 1C, which created The Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund of 2006. The bonds deposited in the fund are aimed at supporting affordable housing and economic development through transit oriented developments and infill infrastructure.
"Building affordable housing along public transit corridors and close to job centers is a cornerstone of our plan to preserve homes for working people," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "The Prop 1C funds will greatly aid the development of transit-oriented and environmentally-friendly neighborhoods which means shorter commutes for workers, less pollution from cars stuck in traffic, and a higher quality of life for Angelenos."
In Los Angeles, Prop 1C funds were awarded to three transit oriented developments (TOD) and 15 infill infrastructure projects. The three TODs awarded received $31,086,325. The Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) partnered with Meta Housing on two of the TODs receiving awards--Chinatown Metro and 5555 Hollywood Blvd.
The Chinatown Metro project will involve the adaptive reuse and redevelopment of vacant and obsolete office buildings at 808 - 810 North Spring Street. The improvements will result in 123 new, affordable, residential units for very low, low and moderate income households. The development will also have approximately 3,000 square feet of community meeting space for special events and wellness, education, creativity/arts, community building, intergenerational programs, and similar services.
When completed, the Hollywood TOD at 5555 Hollywood Blvd. will be a mixed-use development of up to 120 affordable residential units for seniors and 6,000 square feet of neighborhood-oriented retail such as small drugstores, flower shops, and independent bookstores. The new development will have on-site parking on a 1.1 acre site at the northwest corner of North Garfield Place and Hollywood Blvd.
"We are very pleased we were able to secure the Prop 1C funding from the State which will allow us to continue to work with the CRA/LA on multiple projects that will create jobs and provide affordable housing in the City of Los Angeles," said Kasey M. Burke, Vice President, Meta Housing Corporation.
The Clarette Group received a TOD award and an infill infrastructure grant for 6200 Hollywood Blvd. The project is 535 units of rental housing with 20 percent (108 units) set-aside for affordable housing and nearly 75,000 square feet of retail on three acres directly across from the Hollywood and Vine Street Metro station. The residential mix will include studios, one bedroom, and two bedroom apartments.
The infill infrastructure grants total $87,835,930 and will help support major housing developments and street enhancements. All but $15 million of these awards are located within CRA/LA Redevelopment Project Areas.
AMCAL was awarded four infill infrastructure grants. One of AMCAL'S awards, Mosaic Apartments, is in the Pico Union 1 Redevelopment Project Area. AMCAL has purchased and will demolish a 37,500 square feet storage space at 1521 W. Pico Blvd and build a 56-unit, three-story, wood-framed residential development with a bungalow court design, on-site parking, community room, office space and two retail spaces that front Pico Blvd. There will also be a landscaped courtyard and tot lot on the first residential floor.
"AMCAL is very pleased with the results of the recent Prop 1C allocations. All four of the projects that AMCAL submitted in response to the State's RFP were funded, including three projects where the CRA/LA was the co-sponsor (Mosaic, Sunrise and Broadway Villas). The state allocations came at a perfect time to enable these AMCAL projects to be more competitive in the only 2009 Tax Credit round," said Percy Vaz, President and CEO of AMCAL.
CRA/LA could be forced to pay the State of California nearly $85 million this year as a result of the State take of redevelopment funds which will stall and in some cases completely eliminate new development projects and programs. The Prop 1C funds are vital to keeping existing redevelopment projects moving forward.
"We worked early with our housing and community partners to ensure that we put forth competitive proposals," said Cecilia V. Estolano. "Securing non-traditional and outside revenue is a goal of our five- year strategic plan. The State's raid on redevelopment funds has made this an even higher priority," Estolano added.
In addition to TODs and infill infrastructure as City-wide housing priorities, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also directed CRA/LA and all city housing departments to increase the production of permanent supportive housing throughout the City of Los Angeles. As a result, over 700 units of permanent supportive housing have been built or are in the pipeline. Permanent supportive housing provides not only quality housing for extremely low income, formerly homeless individuals and families, it also offers a variety of social, health, and life skills services.
Villas at Gower is one such development which has received $1,810,000 in Prop 1C funds. The development will be located at 1720-1736 North Gower Street in Hollywood. A Community of Friends and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) are developing the 70-unit housing complex targeting homeless families, transitional youth and special needs individuals. CRA/LA purchased the site in 2006 with the intent of creating supportive housing and now with the award of Prop 1 C funds, this housing will be available for those in greatest need.
"This award supports the City's permanent supportive housing mission to invest in models that work by linking housing with necessary social services to support long term success," Mayor Villaraigosa said.
In addition to partnering with developers on other projects, CRA/LA also applied for and was awarded Prop 1C funds for major infrastructure improvements on the Crenshaw Corridor.
The Mid-City Crenshaw Vision + Implementation Plan (Crenshaw Vision Plan) is a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional research, analysis and planning effort to economically and physically revitalize Crenshaw Boulevard from the Rosa Parks Freeway to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. This community driven project received $14.7 million.
The improvements planned for the Crenshaw Corridor include green infrastructure improvements such as solar powered irrigation for parkways, storm water management, increasing the capacity of existing storm sewers, and a wide range of shade trees. Extensive street and sidewalk lighting improvements will be constructed. Streetscape improvements and street furniture will also be installed, including bus shelters, bike racks, street benches and trash receptacles.
"Realizing the Mid-City Crenshaw Vision Plan is one of our highest priorities in South Los Angeles," said Cecilia V. Estolano, CRA/LA Chief Executive Officer. "We are laying the ground work for future growth and development by upgrading the infrastructure and simplifying the entitlement process to attract developers along the new Expo and Crenshaw transit lines," she said.
In addition to the Prop 1C funding, CRA/LA is being recommended to receive an award of $16,525,736 by MTA staff for 2009 Call for Projects. The MTA Board is expected to vote on this matter at its September 24 meeting.