City, Apartment Owner Negotiate Over Future of North Lake Avenue Apartment Block

Published : Monday, October 28, 2019 | 4:36 AM

The Pasadena Department of Housing is set to finalize an Affordable Housing Loan Agreement with CNS La Villa Lake, LLC, for the rehabilitation of the La Villa Lake Apartments affordable housing project at 1070 N. Lake Avenue in Pasadena, which would effectively lead to capital and accessibility improvements on the site, and preserve at least 114 units of senior housing for people age 55 and older.

The proposed agreement will be presented Monday to the Pasadena City Council for approval of its key business terms, which includes a budget amendment appropriating $580,000 from the Inclusionary Housing Trust Fund, under the department’s fiscal year 2020 Operating Budget, to be used for the La Villa Lake Rehabilitation Project.

According to a project schedule included in the Housing Department report, the owner of the property, shall transfer the project to a new limited partnership, to be called CNS La Villa Lake LP, by December, granting the agreement is approved.

Work on the rehabilitation is expected to take up to four months, the report said. In the new CNS La Villa Lake limited partnership, the developer, Affordable Housing Access (AHA), Inc., will be the General Managing Partner.

The Housing Department said AHA Inc. is a Newport Beach-based nonprofit founded in 1999 with a mission to “create and preserve quality affordable housing and empower economically challenged individuals and neighborhoods through social services and community building.” The nonprofit owns up to 145 affordable housing communities totaling nearly 19,000 units, most of these in California.

In August, AHA, on behalf of CNS La Villa Lake LLC, submitted to the City a proposal which includes renovating or rehabilitating the La Villa Apartments project to be funded with the recommended City loan assistance of $580,000. CNS La Villa Lake LLC will contribute equity in the amount of $105,320.

The proposal also includes refinancing and restructuring La Villa Lake as a low·income housing tax credit project. The limited partnership that will be formed by December would apply to the state for tax credits and bond financing in 2024, which is the earliest this can occur because of a “10-year ownership rule” under tax credit regulations.

The Housing Department said they have evaluated the proposal and determined it is a cost-effective way to both resolve an outstanding senior use restriction issue, which CNS said would make it financially infeasible to operate the property as senior housing, and to preserve the City’s affordable housing stock.

The Department said aside from preserving 114 units of high-quality senior housing for persons age 55 and older, implementing the proposal would also ensure long-term affordability with restricted rents for the next 55 years, and create an opportunity for housing stability for current and future senior residents.

The proposal has also been reviewed by the Internal Housing Loan Committee – comprised of staff in the City Manager, Housing, Human Services, and Public Works departments – whose functions include the review of department modifications to City homebuyer loans, and the review of recommendations which require City Manager or City Council approval, including housing loan transactions.

In the report, the Housing Department said the proposal was also brought to the Northwest Commission for consideration during a regular meeting on October 8, 2019. The Commission recommended approval, with the condition that all 114 units at La Villa Lake be restricted with a mix of very low- and low-income units, at 50 percent and 80 percent Area Median Income, respectively.

Under the staff recommendation, all project units would be restricted at the low-income level, the Housing Department report said.

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