The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) together with Abode Communities and Mercy Housing California held a groundbreaking ceremony for Vista del Mar & Camino del Mar, 176 affordable family homes located in Wilmington, Los Angeles.
Councilman Joe Buscaino, HACLA President and CEO Douglas Guthrie, HACLA Commissioner Lucelia Hooper were present along with community members and Abode and Mercy representatives.
“HACLA is pleased to fulfill the 15-year vision for the redevelopment of a 20.7-acre post-war distressed public housing site,” said HACLA President and CEO Douglas Guthrie. “The last phase of 176 new units is the largest production of affordable units in the City this year. This accomplishment during a time when building new affordable units is such a challenge is a great win for all those involved.”
HACLA selected Mercy Housing and Abode Communities for the development of Phase IV. Extensive community outreach was conducted to understand community concerns and needs, and feedback received from numerous stakeholders were incorporated into the planning for 176 service-enhanced, affordable homes, including 25,000 square feet of open and recreational space, that complement Phases I through III. As in the previous phases, the fourth and final phase will incorporate amenities for socializing, learning and staying active, creating not only stability and opportunity for residents but also a valuable asset that contributes to revitalization of the surrounding community.
“The continued need for affordable housing in Wilmington is dire. With median income around $41,500 for a family of four, 75% of families living within the area cannot afford market rents and are forced to live in overcrowded conditions, or worse, face homelessness,” said Robin Hughes, President & CEO of Abode Communities. “Vista del Mar & Camino del Mar will address this community’s need by increasing Wilmington’s new affordable stock by 52%.”
Mercy Housing and Abode Communities will build and manage the housing on the site, through two separate sub-phases known as Camino del Mar and Vista del Mar, each comprising 88 units. The construction on both phases is expected to begin in September 2016 and completion is anticipated by January 2018. The $72-million development cost for Camino del Mar and Vista del Mar will be financed through a variety of private and public funding sources, including private equity provided by U.S. Bank through the syndication of Low Income Housing Tax Credits; construction and permanent financing from Citi Community Capital; and tax-exempt bonds issued by the City of Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department. The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles is a major underwriter of the developments, providing 174 Project-Based Section 8 Choice Vouchers and a 67-year capitalized ground lease loan.
About New Dana Strand Village
New Dana Strand Village is a multi-phase redevelopment of a public housing site in the Wilmington neighborhood owned by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA). The site’s 384 original units, distributed in 68 buildings, were built in 1942 as housing for shipyard workers supporting the war effort. After the war, HACLA operated the site as veteran housing and eventually acquired the site in 1954 for public housing. However, by the 1990s, Dana Strand Village showed significant signs of deterioration, while the original site and building design created an environment of crime and gang activity.
With neighborhood improvements occurring in the surrounding community, HACLA decided to take steps towards revitalizing Dana Strand. HACLA carried out feasibility analyses and preliminary site planning and worked with the community to build consensus for demolishing the existing buildings and embark upon revitalizing this property. With the enthusiastic support of the residents, in 2001, HACLA successfully applied for a HOPE VI Demolition Grant and was awarded $3.3 million by HUD. As part of the demolition plan, HACLA prepared and implemented a relocation plan for the residents, under which all 384 dwelling units and non-dwelling buildings were demolished and all residents were successfully relocated via Section 8 Vouchers. Under the plan, buildings were demolished as they became vacant and it was determined that they did not pose a danger to nearby occupied buildings. The entire site was cleared and appropriately graded. As of December 2003, relocation and demolition activities were complete.
The original master plan consisted of 411 units of mixed-income housing to be constructed in four phases.
· 120 affordable rental units in Phase I (Harbor View)
· 116 affordable rental units in Phase II (Wilmington Townhomes)
· 100 Senior units in Phase III (New Dana Strand Senior Housing)
· 77 for-sale homes in Phase IV
· Childcare center, Lifelong Learning Center, pocket parks, open space, and management and maintenance facilities.
The first three phases of the Dana Strand Village redevelopment were completed between 2007 and 2011, resulting in 336 affordable rental units for families and seniors, in addition to amenities including community centers, computer learning rooms, and playgrounds and other open space.