AMCAL News Articles

January 28, 2009

Affordable Housing Flourishes in Economic Slowdown

By Joyce Malicse, Builder and Developer

Sommerset Place in Sacramento Marks AMCAL Multi-Housing’s First of Many Northern California Developments

As one of California’s leading builders of affordable and low-income housing, AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc. is known throughout the industry for building high quality affordable homes. Following recent grand openings in Southern California and the Central Valley, AMCAL continues its statewide expansion with the opening of Sommerset Place, its first development in Sacramento.

Located at 6100 48th Avenue in the southeast part of the city, Sommerset Place is a 96-unit family affordable apartment development featuring a community clubhouse, pool and children’s play area. Situated on a 5.7 acre site, Sommerset Place is located within one mile of several public elementary schools and one middle school. In addition, the development is minutes from Molina Medical Center and less than a quarter-mile away from a Sacramento Regional Transit bus stop.

“Working families in Sacramento are in need of affordable homes that are located close to public schools and transportation,” said Percival Vaz, president and CEO of AMCAL. “Developments like AMCAL’s Sommerset Place meets these needs, while also revitalizing the community, building stronger neighborhoods and promoting economic development.”

In partnership with LifeSTEPS, a non-profit provider of social services, AMCAL provides Sommerset Place residents with free programs, including dial-a-ride, computer educations classes, after-school tutoring and arts programs, and job search and resume building for adults.

“Our residents are very impressed with the close-knit feeling of this community, and utilize the support services and nurturing environment that are available to them,” said Sheila Wilson, property manager of the community.

Financed with $10.9 million in 9 percent low-income housing tax credits, Sommerset Place cost over $16.3 million to build. Construction, permanent, and bridge loans totaling $18.6 million by AIG SunAmerica Affordable Housing Partners, Hanmi Bank, and California Community Reinvestment Corporation allowed AMCAL and its non-profit partner Las Palmas Foundation to build Sommerset Place .

As a 100 percent affordable development, Sommerset Place features 64 two-bedroom units and 32 three-bedroom units. Twenty-seven units are dedicated to households that earn 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI), while 47 units are reserved for 50 percent AMI, 10 units are reserved for 40 percent AMI, 10 units are reserved for 30 percent AMI, and two units are reserved for onsite managers. Depending on household income, approximate monthly rent ranges from $415-$894 for a two-bedroom unit and $472-$997 for a three-bedroom unit.

To help lower living costs for residents, Sommerset Place exceeds California’s Energy Efficient Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings by 15 percent and uses “Energy Star” rated appliances. To improve indoor air quality, AMCAL used interior paint with no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In addition, AMCAL used the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label low-VOC carpet and pad, which helps to reduce VOCs and emissions while also contributing to the growing use of recycled content for building materials. Construction was completed on schedule by AMCAL General Contractors, Inc. and led by Tom Blankenship, director of construction.

Designed by award-winning Fresno, California based architect R.L. Davidson, Inc. AMCAL’s new development consists of eight Spanish-style residential building reflective of early California missions.

“Sommerset Place will set a precedent for design within the community,” said Robert L. Davidson, managing principal of R.L. Davidson, Inc. “Many of the buildings in the surrounding area are older, so a new development like Sommerset Place will play an important role in the community’s future design.”

Sommerset Place is just one of a number of communities that AMCAL is currently developing. The company most recently broke ground on a development in Oakland. Transforming a 1.6-acre lot at 555 98th Avenue, the development, dubbed Brookfield Place, is a collection of 58 affordable family rental units and AMCAL’s first community in California’s Bay Area. To support its growth throughout the state, AMCAL expanded its acquisitions team to focus on the Central Valley and Northern California. The company also opened satellite offices in Fresno and Orange County to manage development in those key areas.

Based in Agoura Hills, CA AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc. has developed quality housing throughout California since 1978. In recent years, AMCAL has focused on the affordable housing sector, including family and senior apartments, as well as for-sale housing in emerging urban neighborhoods. Nationally recognized for its expertise in affordable housing, AMCAL has received honors from leading magazines and associations including Multifamily Executive for Editors’ Choice and Project of the Year – Best Mixed-Income, as well as NAHB for Innovation in Workforce Housing. In addition, PercivalVaz was honored with the “Outstanding Corporate Citizen Award” by the West Angeles Community Development Corp., a Los Angeles- faith-based non-profit, for his role in building quality housing for low-income families in California.

“As the cost of living continues to rise, affordable housing plays an even more important role in the development of communities throughout California, “said Percival Vaz. “Sommerset Place will help alleviate the financial stress of housing for many Sacramento families. We are happy to open our first completed Northern California development and look forward to bringing affordable housing to more communities throughout the region.”

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