AMCAL Newsletter

December 2011 Amcal Times Vol.8, No. 4

Partnership for HOPE

AMCAL provided a $25,000 matching grant to endow the inaugural “Partnership for HOPE” fund, which helped to leverage an additional $90,000 in donations from the company’s business partners. The fund will be managed by LifeSTEPS, which is AMCAL’s social services provider at 40 communities throughout the state, and help needy families and seniors during the difficult economic recession.

Councilman Ed Reyes joined the community fair and celebration at the Andalucia Heights apartments in Los Angeles on Sept. 10, and dozens of residents and neighbors attended, enjoying a Mexican folkloric dance show, hot dogs, tamales, face-painting and a photo booth, along with community services groups on-hand. Former Dodger Al “The Bull” Ferrera, who played on three World Series teams during the 1960s, attended and recalled that he lived at the nearby Mayfair Hotel during his first years in town. Reyes helped obtain city funding for the Andalucia apartments, which are part of the greater revitalization of the historic Westlake/MacArthur Park neighborhood.

Scholarships were awarded to three residents. Pascual Sebastian Gaspor will study psychology at Cal State. Kathia Garcia is a single mother, who will attend community college and is interested in working in politics to improve the lives of her family and neighbors. Mara Lopez is a single mother who helps her children with homework until late hours and must then wake up early to work.

“Our prayer is that this one day in September will give rise to a lifetime of hope for the people we serve daily,” said Beth Southorn, Executive Director. “Not only were the spirits of our residents lifted, but I heard time and time again how each person present was deeply touched by the outpouring of support made achievable by our incredible partnership.”

100% of all donations to “Partnership for H.O.P.E.” (Housing Opportunities and Personal Empowerment) directly benefit the 6,500 tenants in our 23 partner communities, including educational (college scholarships, textbooks), economic stabilization (rental assistance, financial counseling), and special programs (medical bills, social services). None of the donations will fund administrative costs.

“AMCAL makes the dream of affordable housing possible, and LifeSTEPS sustains that dream by empowering individuals and communities to thrive. Together, we create HOPE,” AMCAL CEO Percy Vaz said.

Mission Villas groundbreaking

SAN DIEGO – Mission Villas is a new transit-oriented apartment next to a trolley station near Lindbergh Airport. The 85-unit family apartment replaces a 1.5-ac. parking lot, and the urban infill project (56 dua) is designed to achieve LEED Gold designation.

Mission Villas received an allocation of $9,049,000 in 4% tax credits in 2011, which is AMCAL’s 45th award since 1996. The RDA and Housing Authority provided $12,000,000 in funding.

Mission Villas is AMCAL’s 2nd community in San Diego, following “Los Vientos,” which won the San Diego Housing Federation’s “Project of the Year” in 2010.

Mission Villas is located near a San Diego Transit bus stop, UCSD medical clinic, Presidio Park, Grant School (a top-performing school in San Diego), Mission Hills Library, market and pharmacy. Project amenities include a community room with computer lab and media room, children’s playground and barbecue area in a large courtyard. An all-wood structural design eliminated the need for a expensive concrete podium and reduced construction costs.

Withee Malcolm (Torrance) designed a modern/urban building with a sidewalk entrances to units along the Hancock Street frontage. Non-profit partner is Las Palmas Foundation (Encinitas). LifeSTEPs will provide supportive services for residents.

Project cost is $26,638,000. Financial partners include Bank of America for equity ($8,958,000) and construction bridge loan ($1,344,000). California Community Reinvestment Corp. will provide permanent loan ($5,400,000). Construction is scheduled for completion in late 2012.

Hillcrest groundbreaking

VICTORVILLE – Renovations are underway to transform the rundown Hillcrest apartments into a new affordable community. Along with better construction, residents will have new social services and classes.

The City selected AMCAL and GC partner Sun Country Builders as part of an RFP, and the County of San Bernardino provided $6,700,000 in funding via the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Upgrades include structural reinforcement, pool renovation, stucco repair, new HVAC systems, nicer fixtures and appliances, new doors and windows, and better insulation.


Company News

New Hires

Stephen Clarke - Project Manager (Finance).
Laurie Laredo - Project Accountant.
Monica Gaitan - Administrative Assistant, Asset Management and Market-Rate Housing.
Dave Anderson - General Superintendent (Construction).


The Mirandela senior apartments in Rancho Palos Verdes won the SAGE award for "Project of the Year," which is presented by the 55+ Housing Council of the Building Industry Association of Southern California.

Mirandela is the first large affordable apartment in the upscale city of Rancho Palos Verdes. It was quickly 100% leased to local residents who were downsizing their houses or living on fixed incomes, and wanted to remain in their hometown near families and friends.

AMCAL won an RFP to develop affordable housing on the site in 2009, after several other developer proposals had failed during the past decade. Along with its non-profit partner Las Palmas, AMCAL received a tax credit allocation on its first submittal in 2009.

The construction team did extensive grading to remove 15,000 cy of unstable fill, and completed a difficult hillside construction with retaining walls in only 12 months.

AMCAL collaborated with the community to create an attractive Spanish-Mediterranean design with many architectural details and articulation.


"Supporting LIHTCs" - Journal of Tax Credits (May 2011):
CEO Percival Vaz and President Arjun Nagarkatti explained that support from elected officials for continued federal tax credit funding can be garnered by including them in the development process. Many are impressed by the attractive designs, quality construction and new homes for their constituents who had previously lived in substandard housing.

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