CARLSBAD — Affordable housing is a challenge for many cities as the housing crisis rages statewide.
But the Carlsbad City Council chipped away at its state-mandated affordable housing requirements by approving 70 units for very-low to low-income households during its Aug. 31 meeting.
Additionally, the council approved a $3.1 million loan as requested by Bridge Housing, which partnered with Summerhill Apartment Communities, to develop the Aviara Apartments.
The loan will allow Bridge Housing to cement its application for state and federal tax credits to help fund its affordable portion of the 329-unit project on Aviara Parkway just south of Palomar Airport Road, according to Mandy Mills, Carlsbad’s director of housing and homeless services.
The Aviara East Apartments, where the 70 units will reside east of Aviara Parkway and north of Laurel Tree Road, make up the bulk of the affordable units for the project.
In total, 81 units, or 25% of the total project, will be affordable units, Mills added.
The cost for the entire project, which rests on lots east and west of Aviara Parkway, is estimated at $30.9 million, Mills said.
“The project started the process in 2017 (with design and environmental reviews) before the Planning Commission approved it in December 2020,” Mills said. “Bridge will submit tax credit and bond allocation requests next month … and construction is expected to start in summer 2022.”
Rent will run between $600 and $1,700 depending on area median income (AMI) of each resident. Mills said seven units each are allocated for 30% and 50% of AMI and 55 residences for 60%.
Summerhill will manage the market-rate units, while Bridge Housing will operate the affordable units, she explained.
Jeff Williams, of Bridge Housing, said his company has two other developments the company manages in Carlsbad.
Bridge Housing owns the 334-unit Villa Loma project and 92 units at Poinsettia Station Apartments.
Bridge Housing intends to secure tax-exempt bonds and tax credit equity to finance the majority of the project’s cost to improve its competitiveness for bond and tax credit financing, according to the staff report.
Per the estimates, state and federal tax credits would account for $15.3 million along with a permanent loan of $7 million for the bulk of the funding.
The $3.1 million, though, will come from the Housing Trust Fund, which has a current balance of $13.6 million.
“Our mission is to provide housing, services and opportunities for residents of all income levels,” Williams said. “We do that by building on our record.”
The average cost per unit, though, is about $442,000, while city staff cited a Terner Center Report of the cost-per-unit for affordable units in the state is at $480,000, an increase of nearly $70,000 since 2008.
Another benefit of the 81 units is pushing the city closer toward its required affordable housing allotment under the Regional Housing Needs Assessment.
The RHNA numbers set by the county is 3,873 units for Carlsbad and more than 2,000 must meet very low to low-income residences.
This RHNA cycle runs from 2021 through 2029.