Escondido, Calif. – A crime-ridden, rundown trailer park here presented Trinity Housing Group, Wakeland Housing and Development Corp., and the city with a chance to implement a social-engineering design that had never been tried in San Diego County.

The five-acre parcel was subdivided into two lots, and on one of the lots sits Via Roble Apartments, a $15.4 million, 72-unit rental project. On the other lot, there are 10 market-rate homes and nine live/work shopkeeper units. The development also includes a 25,000-square-foot community center and a central park. This design encourages the homeowners to interact with the renters daily at the park.

“There’s no wall or isolation” between them, said Stephen Kuptz, Trinity president. Since its completion in May, all units have been leased or sold.

The new apartments are all affordable to tenants earning between 50% and 80% of the area median income. The one- to three-bedroom units range in size from 560 square feet to 1,080 square feet.

During pre-development, Trinity received a $1.2 million loan at 8% from the Low Income Investment Fund to acquire the trailer park.

GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp. provided $9.2 million in construction financing, which was backed by tax-exempt bonds allocated by the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee (CDLAC). For the permanent financing period, GMAC’s Affordable Housing Finance Division then placed the bonds with Fannie Mae. Newman Financial, a GMAC affiliate, underwrote the transactions.

Additional financing included $4.2 million from a city of Escondido residual receipts loan and $2.8 million in 4% low-income housing tax credit equity from Paramount Financial Group, another GMAC affiliate. Trinity deferred $500,000 in developer fees as gap equity.

A $1.5 million loan came from the California Housing Finance Agency’s Housing Enabled by Local Partnerships program.

Via Roble was one of the highest scoring bond applicants in CDLAC’s 2003 competitive round. Kuptz attributed its high score to the fact that the project is located in the lowest income tract in the city. It is also in a designated redevelopment area and is adjacent to a retail center and within walking distance of a school.

The park is dedicated to the memory of Capt. Richard Gannon, a local father of four who was killed in Iraq at the age of 41. His mother is a member of the city’s building department and played an important role in the processing and approval of Via Roble, said Kuptz.

Via Roble Apartments

Developers: Trinity Housing Group and Wakeland Housing and Development Corp.

Number of units: 72

Number of affordable units: 72

Unique feature: This mixed-use, mixed-income community implements social-engineering design never tried here before.

Key sources of financing

Combined construction and permanent financing from 30-year, variable-rate tax-exempt bonds underwritten and sold to GMAC Commercial Mortgage Co. and Fannie Mae: $6.33 million

Low-income housing tax credit equity from Paramount Financial Group: $2.84 million

55-year city of Escondido residual receipts loan at 3%: $4.2 million

55-year California Housing Finance Agency Housing Enabled by Local Partnerships loan at 3%: $1.5 million

Deferred developer fees: $500,000

Total Sources: $15.4 million