BROADWAY — An old nursing home that’s been put out of commission sits quietly on a corner here, mostly shielded from the public’s eye through a chain-link fence that’s covered in a green mesh canvas.
Some might view the former facility as an eyesore, with boarded up windows and outdated white awnings, but the corner of 26th Street and Broadway will someday be home to one of 11 new affordable housing projects that are expected to come online in the city within the next few years.
The projects together involve about 286 units, roughly 115 of which will be constructed through new developments and with the remaining being directly impacted through various rehabilitation projects of existing apartments that have been acquired over the past year by Community Corporation of Santa Monica.
The majority of the projects will receive some sort of financing from City Hall and the Redevelopment Agency, which in 2008 negotiated a line of credit up to $75 million with Bank of America to accelerate such development, helping city officials realize goals of preserving and increasing the local affordable housing stock in an area with a high cost of living.
“I think most Santa Monicans share the goal of maintaining our diversity and affordable housing goes a long way toward doing that,” Mayor Ken Genser said. “We have a very active program of assisting with financing of affordable housing projects and each one of these makes it possible for more families, more individuals and families to live in safe and decent housing in a wonderful community.”
More than half of the projects involve rehabilitation of properties recently purchased by CCSM, the largest local developer of affordable housing that just recently celebrated the grand opening of 47 new family units at Berkeley Place.
The rehab developments will be located at 1513 Centinela Ave., 750-752 Marine St., 844 Lincoln Blvd., 1438 25th St., 914 Fourth St., and 2029-2031 20th St.
They range in cost from $3.1 million to $6.4 million for rehabilitation and site acquisition, the most expensive being a 16-unit apartment building at 914 Fourth St., which will receive a new roof, windows, and electrical and plumbing upgrades. The units for the rehabbed buildings will be available for prospective tenants whose income eligibility is at or below 80 percent of area median income, which is about $62,000 for a family of four, while the rents will range from $628 to $897 a month.
The projects will give a preference to local residents and workers.
Joan Ling, the executive director of CCSM, said the rehab projects represent a shift in focus for the nonprofit developer away from new construction toward purchasing and sprucing up old buildings that are more easily purchasable in the current economy.
“We buy these buildings and a lot of them have a fair amount of deferred maintenance and we fix them up and then it’s good for another 50 years,” Ling said.
She said the projects come with a lot of green measures, including zeroscape landscaping and solar panels.
“We buy them to fix them up as part of sustainability efforts,” she said.
All rehabbed units will be completed over the next year. The developer is allowing all tenants who lived in the buildings prior to acquisition to remain.
The 11 projects, which include improvements to the city-owned Mountain View Mobile Home Park and a 20-unit senior housing development currently under construction at 14th Street and Broadway, are distributed throughout the city, with only a few clusters east of Cloverfield Boulevard where there are about five planned.
“We do try to spread our acquisitions across all the multi-family neighborhoods in the city,” Ling said. “If you look at all the addresses, we have accomplished that.”
About 95 large family units will be created through three new developments with CCSM. The total development cost for the projects, which are located at 2802 Pico Blvd., 2602 Broadway and 430 Pico, have yet to be determined but they received a combined $18.4 million loan through City Hall for site acquisition. The income eligibility will be targeted toward low and very-low income households.
Kate Vernez, the assistant to the city manager for government relations, said the line of credit with Bank of America was well timed in advance of the tightening of the credit market.
“The current loans are for affordable housing throughout the city, which reflects our commitment to geographic diversity within the city,” she said.
City Hall is also currently working on a loan for locally-based F.A.M.E. Redevelopment.
A couple of the projects are well underway, including a series of improvements at the Mountain View Mobile Home Park on Stewart Street. The park, which was built in the late 1940s, consists of 105 residential mobile home spaces spread over about 5 acres. City Hall purchased the park and about 36 mobile home units in December 2000 as part of a settlement with the previous owner to keep the location for affordable housing, a 2008 staff report stated.
The project includes various infrastructure improvements, including new electrical power lines, water and drain pipes and the installation of natural gas lines. Nearly all of the units at the park are currently serviced with propane.
About 78 of the units are occupied.
“The idea is to complete the infrastructure improvements and then look at a longer-term vision of any kind of renewal or replacement of some units because some out there are travel trailers,” Jim Kemper, the housing administrator with City Hall, said. “We’re not sure if they were intended for occupancy.”
Construction, which is about halfway complete, is estimated to cost more than $6 million.
MacFarlane CostaHousing Partners and LINC Housing are currently building affordable units for senior citizens at 1458 14th St. The units will be targeted for low-income seniors. The estimated $11 million project is scheduled to be completed at the end of this year.
Ling said that the round of rehab projects is CCSM’s first concerted effort toward greening its older buildings. Many of its newer developments were constructed with sustainability in mind.
“If you look at new construction, in any given year we may be building enough housing to replace 1 percent of the existing housing stock,” she said. “If you only focus on doing sustainable projects for new construction, it would take 100 years to make all the units sustainable.”