By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer
Agoura Hills, Calif.-Late April witnessed the grand opening of Sunrise Villas, a 100 percent affordable senior housing community in South Los Angeles. The grand opening festivities were attended by a number of dignitaries, including Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, Ninth District, who has actively championed the development since its earliest planning stages.
Developed by Agoura Hills, Calif.-based AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc., Sunrise Villas will give seniors with household incomes between 30 and 60 percent of Area Median Income high-quality residences in a convenient setting. They will also enjoy outstanding amenities and access to free social services, including computer training, legal referrals, tax preparation referrals and health and nutrition programs.
The development features 46 one- and two-bedroom apartments, along with a community room with kitchenette and lounge, central laundry facilities, and landscaped common areas featuring fountain and barbecue grills.
Sunrise Villas earned LEED Gold certification, in part by incorporating water conservation, waste reduction and improved indoor air quality in its design. The community’s landscaping helps conserve water through use of drought-tolerant and native plants. High-efficiency, low-flow toilets and faucets and Energy Star appliances were installed in every apartment.
“As an added benefit to the community, the Sunrise site is next door to a church that had owned the land,” AMCAL president Arjun Nagarkatti tells MHN.
“The church was able to use the funds raised by selling the site to AMCAL to continue and enhance programs for its congregation and the surrounding community. [That made] Sunrise a win for the church, the council office, the developer and for the community.”
Getting the development built required hurdling a number of financing obstacles, Nagarkatti adds. AMCAL secured funding from the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Housing Department.
The addition of funding from the California Department of Housing and Community Development Infill Infrastructure Grant and the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles enabled AMCAL to assemble a total of $6.5 million to build Sunrise Villas. Equity was provided by Hudson Housing Capital, and the construction and permanent financing lender is Citibank, N.A.
“[For] a lot of affordable housing developments, and development in general, the current economic landscape has presented great challenges to developers,” Nagarkatti says. “Multi-layered financing, including threatened state and local funding sources, presented challenges in budgeting and securing the appropriate funds to construct Sunrise to the quality level upon which AMCAL prides itself.”
Torrance-based Withee Malcolm Architects designed the Craftsman architecture for Sunrise Villas with the goal of blending its appearance with the look of historic housing nearby. “Sunrise was a fantastic opportunity to create new, affordable housing opportunities in a neighborhood that hasn’t seen any investment for decades,” reports Withee Malcolm partner Dan Withee. “The design concept, with its articulation of materials and colors, was meant to have a positive impact on the neighborhood, and to be the new, fresh face on Main Street.”
Sunrise Villas will mean much to the South Los Angeles community, AMCAL officials report. “With an increasing aging population, there is a strong need for housing that is within reach for seniors on fixed incomes,” Nagarkatti says.
“This is particularly true in South Los Angeles, where there is a tremendous need for subsidized rental rates, due to [the fact] average household incomes are far lower than the city’s median income.”
AMCAL is looking forward to spearheading additional affordable developments.
“AMCAL is pleased to be able to continue to work with cities throughout California to bring quality affordable housing to families across our state,” Nagarkatti says. “Because of those relationships, MacArthur, Portola Terrace and Park Place will bring 176 units of new housing to those most in need.”