LOS ANGELES - Hart Village marks the sixth affordable development that Los Angeles Community Design Center (LACDC) has built that includes an early childhood education center. The fact that the property incorporates sophisticated green elements makes it even more impressive.
“We’re into building communities, not just a nice affordable development,” said Robin Hughes, president and CEO of LACDC, a nonprofit housing developer that’s celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. “To the extent that we have physical space on a site, we like to bring in other community facilities.”
The 47-unit affordable development is located in the Canoga Park neighborhood, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. One unit is reserved for an apartment manager, while the remaining are reserved for households earning between 30 percent and 50 percent of the area median income. The development consists of 20 two-bedroom and 27 three-bedroom units. The project stands where three single-family homes once stood contaminated with asbestos and lead.
“The city of Los Angeles supported the redevelopment of the site,” said Hughes. “The redevelopment agency wanted more density.”
Hart Village also fills the desperate need for affordable homes in the neighborhood. Residential vacancy rates ranged from 0 to 3 percent, while more than 100 households languished on waiting lists for affordable housing options.
The development includes a 3,800-square-foot early childhood education center that serves 3- to 5-yearolds. Hughes estimated about half of the children at the property are served by the center, which is also open to the public.
The bungalow-inspired design features set it apart, said Hughes, as did its large unit sizes: Two-bedroom apartments are 800 square feet each and three-bedroom units are 1,000 square feet each. Three units are designed to be adaptable to those with disabilities, while three more are accessible to those persons. All common areas of Hart Village are accessible to those with disabilities.
The most positive elements of Hart Village are the green ones. A photovoltaic energy system offsets 50 percent of the energy costs for all common areas. Lighting fixtures and appliances in all units are Energy Star qualified. An irrigation system is used, as well as a catch basin and filtration system for rainwater runoff. The project was awarded federal energy tax credits equaling 30 percent of the net cost of the photovoltaic system.
LACDC removed several mature trees to allow for the widening of the adjacent street. It replaced the trees at a 2-to-1 ratio. “So when we say the project is green, it literally is more green,” said Hughes.
MMA Financial provided a limitedpartner contribution of $12.5 million. Citi Community Capital provided $1.4 million in low-income housing tax credit equity. The project also received funds from the city’s affordable housing trust fund and the Community Redevelopment Authority of Los Angeles.