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Low-Income Housing Project Slated for Pico Neighborhood Subject of Meeting Tuesday

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Jorge Casuso

May 20, 2019 -- A 55-unit low-income housing project in the Pico Neighborhood estimated to cost nearly $42 million -- or more than $750,000 per unit -- will be the subject of the first of two community meetings Tuesday.

The Design Input meeting for the proposed Community Corporation project at 1834, 1840, 1844, & 1848 14th Street takes place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Thelma Terry Building at Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Avenue.

The proposed development will target extremely low- to low-income large families and small families and individuals and includes one two-bedroom on-site manager’s residence, according to a loan request with the City.

The anticipated permanent loan from the City's Housing Trust Fund is $14,831,767 or $269,668 per residence, according to the Merits for a Loan Application Approval with the City.

"This loan commitment funds only acquisition and predevelopment activities, involving acquisition of the property, as well as design, engineering and site work," the document said.

"Once the proposed development obtains the necessary entitlement approvals, the Developer will submit a loan application for additional City housing trust funds needed," the loan document said.

The estimated total development cost is $41,895,497 or $761,736 per unit.

A report by the Government Accountability Office issued last September, found that it can cost as much as $750,000 to build an affordable housing unit in California.

Housing Trust Funds come primarily from redevelopment loan repayments and the stream of ongoing revenue provided by Measures GS/GSH approved by Santa Monica voters in 2016, according to the City's website.

The proposed development across Pico Boulevard from Woodlawn Cemetery is the second Community Corporation project on the block funded by the City's Housing Trust Fund.

A proposed project on the adjacent properties at 1820-1826 14th Street would create 38 affordable housing residences targeted to seniors and an additional unit for an onsite manger.

The project, according to the loan document, "will increase affordable housing opportunities for seniors in Santa Monica -- a vulnerable population generally on fixed incomes who experience great difficulty finding affordable housing."

Santa Monica's senior housing developments have long waiting lists, the document said.

When the City's Housing Authority’s waiting list opened in January 2017, 362 seniors who live or work in Santa Monica applied.

A permanent $10,570,940 loan from the City, or $271,050 per residence, "funds only acquisition and predevelopment activities," according to the document.

As with the adjacent property, another City loan is expected to fill any funding gap for the development, the document said.

Both projects are in the Pico Neighborhood, which activists have long complained has carried an unfair share of low-income projects and social services.

The loan document cites overriding considerations for granting the funds.

"The proposed development is located in the Pico neighborhood which has historically been served by affordable housing developments.

"However, given the proximity to transit (both the Expo Line and bus routes) and services, the proposed development provides the increased opportunities . . . while providing access to transit, and services."

The same conclusion is made in the Merits for a Loan Application Approval for the adjacent project that will be discussed at Tuesday night's meeting.

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