For another view on affordable housing, we spoke with Arjun Nagarkatti, president of AMCAL Multi-Housing, which uses federal tax credits to fund its projects. He tells us that regardless of what happens with RDAs, affordable housing developers are facing tremendous pressures these days. State and federal monies are being depleted due to budget crises-if the RDAs close down, that’s going to worsen the pressure. He sees cities requiring developers to do more work than they otherwise would have themselves. Arjun also hopes agencies relax some of their requirements to help developers reduce costs and get more units funded. With greater availability of dollars, he says, they’ve put more and more conditions on projects, such as distance to amenities or green features.
Not scary enough for ya? AMCAL plans to renovate Boyle Heights’ long-vacant, reputedly haunted historic landmark, Linda Vista Community Hospital (as seen on Ghost Adventures and other paranormal TV shows), for a $37M, 100-unit seniors housing project. (Are there any abandoned hospitals that don’t have skeletons rattling around in them?) Construction on Phase 1 begins next month. Despite all the pressures, the company had a busy 2011, ramping up staff by 20%, and looks to have another full plate in 2012. On Dec. 30, AMCAL broke ground on another seniors complex in Fresno, and earlier that month opened Mosiac, a 56-unit affordable project in the Pico-Union District. Arjun says the company aims to develop the same number of units this year but is looking at each individual cost, building smaller projects, which are easier to fund, and doing more cost-containment to produce the same amount of housing.