City Staff Looks to Open Negotiations re: 186 W. Highland

Item 3 on Tuesday night’s City Council agenda is a request by staff to have the CRA Board authorize staff to enter into negotiations regarding development of low to moderate income housing at the former YAC and Church site on Highland Ave.  Previously, the Board had appropriated $25,000 to hire a consultant to assist with development and evaluation of Requests for Proposals for the site.

The Citypurchased the property and designated it as a site for low/moderate income housing, and included it as such in the City’s recently completed Housing Element, which is to be filed with the state and incorporated into the General Plan Update currently underway. 

By authorizing staff to enter negotiations, the RFP process would be put on hold.  Should negotiations stall or the two parties fail to come to terms, the RFP process could be re-initiated.

Staff wants to negotiate with Heritage Housing Partners, a Pasadena based firm which, according to the staff report, “specializes in creating affordable housing through the preservation of existing historic/older structures.”  According to the company’s website, Heritage Housing Partners (HHP) was incorporated in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit.  The website states that “Our mission is to promote long-term affordable homeownership. HHP works for neighborhood revitalization through the preservation of existing historic homes and the construction of new, contextual single-family residences. We believe that we encourage neighborhood revitalization by providing low-, moderate-, and workforce-income first-time homebuyers with affordable homeownership opportunities. HHP endeavors to develop homes that instill our buyers with pride, the pride of homeownership and pride in their neighborhoods and communities. This engenders community and community activism.”

A review of the projects completed on the company website turns up eight projects, most of them one or two unit projects.  Projects underway that are listed on their site include a 6-unit bungalow project, a 57-unit project in Glendale, a 3-unit project, and a 41-unit project that combines mostly low-moderate housing with market rate housing and one commercial building.  The staff report includes an article about a homeownership financing method that was used on that project, and that article describes the same project as a 44-unit project with the rehabilitation of nine historic homes and construction of 35 condominiums.

The Board will have the option of taking no action ($25,000 is still spent to develop and evaluate the RFP), or instructing staff to enter into negotiations (the negotiating team could include members of the City Council/CRA Board).

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