The Coast News Group
Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News

SM gives OK to affordable housing project

SAN MARCOS — The San Marcos City Council approved two preliminary agreements that pave the way for further revitalization efforts in the city’s Richmar neighborhood.

The first agreement calls for the city to loan $392,000 in low- and moderate-income housing fund to a partnership composed of Hitzke Development and National Community Renaissance of Rancho Cucamonga, also known as National CORE, to pay for predevelopment activities associated with a proposed 120-unit affordable senior housing complex on West Mission Road and Pico Avenue.

Multiple groups currently own land at the proposed 4.5-acre site, including the city and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which has a post on the property.

According to a city staff report, the project will be built in up to three phases due to a lack of funding in the post-redevelopment era, but the development team plans on applying for low-income tax credits as early as 2016.

The second agreement is tied to the proposed demolition and reconstruction of the Villa Serena complex on Marcos Street and Richmar Avenue.

National CORE purchased the 132-unit complex the late 1990s and converted to affordable housing. According to a staff report, the developer said the apartments are aging and reaching the point where a rehabilitation or reconstruction would be necessary in the near future.

National CORE, according to the staff report, said demolition would be the least expensive option, and requested a $777,000 loan from the city’s redevelopment successor agency to move the project through the design and entitlement phase. City staff said the loan, however, would be cost neutral because it would come from funds associated with the current Villa Serena project — essentially, National CORE would be loaning itself the money.

The new development would consist of 136 to 145 affordable units and include a community center and social program from CORE’s sister program, Hope from Housing.

As with the first development, CORE said funding limitations will require the project to be phased.

Since the completion of the landmark Paseo Del Oro housing complex, the Richmar area has experienced a renaissance that includes the development of three additional housing complexes, two parks and the promise of one more on the way. In the process the development has transformed the area from one of the city’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods to one a family-friendly one.

Do you want to buy a house?