Sage Park Apartments is helping meet the affordable housing needs of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) employees.

Built on underutilized school property on the Gardena High School campus, the project is the result of a unique partnership between LAUSD and developer BRIDGE Housing.

“The school district recognized they had a housing crisis for their employees,” says Anna Slaby, senior project manager at BRIDGE. “Identifying a parcel that was underutilized and turning it into a benefit for staff was tremendous.”

LAUSD provided a long-term ground lease for the property, allowing BRIDGE to build a development with 89 affordable apartments plus a manager’s unit. Through an amendment to the city’s Consolidated Plan, the property gives preference to LAUSD employees working within a three-mile radius and district employees outside of the area. In addition, the project was marketed to the general public, including those with disabilities.

Featuring one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, the south L.A. development serves residents earning 30% to 60% of the area median income.

BRIDGE leaders say the guiding principle used in developing the site plan was to create a sustainable “living-learning” community.

On an adjacent parcel, the partners developed additional community amenities, including a joint-use facility consisting of almost 4,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and over 16,000 square feet of outdoor patio and garden areas. A community room is available for use by local groups. In addition, an obstacle training course used by the Los Angeles Police Department for its Juvenile Impact Training program was developed.

A $28 million development, Sage Park is financed by several funding sources, including 9% low-income housing tax credits that raised approximately $20 million in equity from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Built to LEED Silver standards, the development also makes use of energy credits.

Almost 1,200 applications were received for the apartments.