The Michaels Organization Sets Next Milestone in Transformation of South Los Angeles Public Housing

LOS ANGELES, CA - The Michaels Organization announced a financial closing for Phase 1B of the redevelopment of Jordan Downs, a public housing community in South Los Angeles first built in the 1940s, which is now in the midst of a comprehensive revitalization led by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) and its private sector partners.

“The Michaels Organization is committed to bringing comprehensive solutions to the Watts community that offer high-quality, sustainable affordable housing and that also jump-start jobs, education and community prosperity,” said John J. O’Donnell, president of The Michaels Organization. “We are grateful to the Housing Authority and the entire Watts neighborhood for their support in transforming their vision for Jordan Downs into reality."

Phase 1B involves the construction of 135 new apartment homes in a combination of three-story flats and walk-up town homes. The buildings will be designed with stucco exteriors reflecting a “Modern Mediterranean” style.

Apartments will be available in layouts ranging from one bedroom to five bedrooms, with 10 percent of the units fully accessible to persons with disabilities and an additional four percent accessible to people with visual and hearing impairments.

Of the 135 new apartment homes in Phase 1B, 85 are designated as replacement units for families who currently live in the Jordan Downs community. All apartment homes in this phase will serve residents earning up to 50 percent of the area’s median income.

Each apartment will offer central air, blinds, carpeting, abundant closet space, energy-efficient appliances, including washers and dryers, and either a patio or balcony. The development will be designed to receive LEED green building certification. Site amenities will include landscaped outdoor gathering spaces, surface parking courts, security cameras and an on-site management office.

Jordan Downs Phase 1B is part of the initial phase of the redevelopment of the existing 700-unit Jordan Downs public housing community, which will ultimately result in the complete demolition and replacement of the public housing units within a redesigned mixed-income, mixed-use urban village. The master plan currently calls for approximately 1,400 affordable and market-rate rental apartments as well as home ownership units. There will also be a new neighborhood retail center anchored by a grocery store, nine acres of public open space and a 50,000-square-foot community center.

Residents will also have access to a wide variety of services focused on educational success, economic stability, health and wellness and community empowerment.

In addition, the street network is being reconfigured for better connections to the surrounding community, including an extension through the site of Century Boulevard, which currently terminates at the western edge of Jordan Downs.

The demolition and rebuilding of Jordan Downs is being accomplished in phases to eliminate the need for off-site relocation and to minimize inconvenience to existing residents. Phase 1A, developed by Bridge Housing, broke ground last June, and features 115 apartment homes. Construction is now set to start on Phase 1B, which is being built on vacant land on East Century Boulevard.

Financing for the $73 million Phase 1B development includes more than $25 million in private equity raised through the sale of federal low-income housing tax credits and $32 million in construction financing provided through the sale of tax-exempt bonds.

The tax credits were syndicated by Riverside Capital. Bank of America purchased the tax credits and provided additional construction financing. Berkadia is providing a permanent mortgage through the Fannie Mae M.TEB program. The State of California provided $9.9 million in permanent funds through its Affordable Housing & Sustainable Communities program. The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles provided both a long-term ground lease and permanent debt financing, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provided the project-based housing vouchers.

A ceremonial groundbreaking is being planned for later this summer.

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