Getting Ahead of the TOD Train

Forward-thinking developers are excellent customers. An article in Monday’s Los Angeles Times highlighted NMS Properties’ purchase of the Denny’s restaurant site at Colorado and Lincoln in Santa Monica, and how the property is near the expected end of the Metro Rail to the beach. The train won’t be running for at least four years (and could be more), but NMS will be well positioned with 250 apartments close to the coming station and in a newly zoned commercial corridor along Lincoln Blvd (per Santa Monica Patch).

Porposed light rail, from Santa Monica LUCE Study

from Santa Monica LUCE study

Our second deal with NMS, Century provided a $9 million acquisition loan, giving them the time to get their proposed development through the city’s approval process. While the price of $300 per foot is close to peak prices from five years ago, the value is generated by the allowable density in the corridor, with residential buildings permitted to have at least one extra floor. More apartments means more residents means more vibrancy on the street, the key amenity for a walkable, sustainable neighborhood, especially when transit is added to the mix. Read more

New Loan Closing in Koreatown

Harvard Heights

Harvard Heights, Century's first deal with American Communities

Century is pleased to announce our 8th acquisition loan  with American Communities (The Gordon closed in late October), this time for The Serrano, which will provide 44 apartments for very-low income families in Koreatown. The $1.9 million loan for The Serrano and the $1.55 million loan for The Gordon both needed to close by year-end to meet the property seller’s deadlines. American Communities has already secured tax credit awards for both developments, so construction should be starting in early 2012, creating more than 130 new construction jobs.

Serrano apartment building

One of the classic apartment buildings on South Serrano Ave.

The development will be across the street from Hobart Blvd. Elementary School, and just two blocks from the first development American Communities and Century worked on, Harvard Heights Apartments. With The Serrano, American Communities will be adding to one of the most attractive blocks in Koreatown.

Innovative Financing in Pasadena

Century is pleased to announce the closing of a $1,000,000 acquisition and predevelopment loan for Bridge Housing‘s Heritage Square, 70 apartments for very low income seniors in Pasadena. Century’s loan helped the LA County Housing Innovation Fund live up to its name, as the closing deadline outpaced the completion of the land lease, so Century’s loan had to be closed without real estate collateral, substituting a letter of credit.

Heritage Square

Read more

NorCal, Here We Come!!!

Century Housing is ecstatic to announce that we’ve closed our first two loans in San Jose! The two site acquisition loans totaling $4,555,000, allowed ROEM Development to close on two large, vacant parcels at 1st and Rosemary Streets, near San Jose International Airport. ROEM will be developing the property with two large developments – 184 apartments for low-income families and 104 apartments for low-income seniors.

The San Jose Redevelopment Agency has committed more than $9.9 million to the two developments, and HCD will invest $12.4 million in two Infill Infrastructure grants. The bulk of the development financing will be provided by Citibank, using tax exempt bonds, and more than $28 million in tax credit equity. The two projects, which should be under construction by the summer of 2012, will create more than 400 construction jobs.

New Loan Closing in Hollywood

Century is happy to announce the renewal of our relationship with American Communities with the closing of a $1,071,000 acquisition loan for a site in Hollywood where American Communities will build The Gordon, 21 new apartments for very low-income families. Century and American Communities worked together on six developments in Koreatown and Westlake between 2003 and 2007, helping them get almost 300 affordable apartments under construction. Those six developments have been completed and are operating successfully, and now AC is getting started on a new series of projects, starting with The Gordon.

Century Backs CRA/LA in Sylmar

Sylmar Court RenderingNew state legislation, and a resulting court challenge, affected redevelopment agencies statewide and could have derailed a high-impact affordable housing development in Sylmar. But a smart partnership and timely bridge financing between Century Housing, developer DDCM and the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles has kept the project on track.

CRA/LA approved purchase of a Sylmar development site in August, planning to lease it to DDCM to build Sylmar Court, a project with 150 units of senior affordable housing plus ground-floor retail. But the California Supreme Court put the deal on hold when it issued a stay while it reviewed new redevelopment legislation. CRA/LA faced losing the property when sellers declined to extend an option on the lot beyond September 30th.

On September 1st, CRA/LA contacted Century to arrange a $3.1 million bridge loan for the Sylmar property. Century was able to underwrite, approve and close the loan in 29 days, thanks to close cooperation with CRA/LA’s East Valley Region staff and DDCM President Kurken Alyanakian.

Read more

New Apartments for Familes to Go Up in Oxnard

Colonial House

Century Housing is pleased to announce the August 18th closing of a $2.5 million land acquisiton loan to Pacific West Communities, one of the largest affordable housing developers in California and throughout the western US. PWC will develop the 2.1 acre site in Oxnard with Colonial House, 44 apartments for very-low income families, with construction planned to start in 2012. Read more

Affordable Apartments on the Westside?

Del Rey Groundbreaking

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, and Century Housing staff joined developer Tom Safran to celebrate the groundbreaking for Del Rey Square Senior Housing on July 14, where 124 low-income senior citizens will soon be living later next year. Del Rey Square is the first affordable apartment development on the Westside to go up in more than ten years, providing high-quality housing options for a very needy population. The project will improve a vacant lot on Culver Blvd, which has been empty for many years.

The 124-apartment project is a joint venture of Thomas Safran & Associates and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, where HACLA will manage 30 of the apartments and rent them to public housing tenants, and TSA will manage the remaining 94 apartments, as well as providing quality-of-life programs for the residents. Century’s CEO, Ron Griffith, was excited to see that Thomas Safran is continuing to bring their high standard of development to West Los Angeles: “The Westside is in desperate need of affordable senior apartments, and Century is pleased to be a part of this effort,” said Mr. Griffith.

Century’s provided the initial financing with a $9,475,500 land acquisition loan in January 2009, funded through the New Generation Fund, to get the project rolling less than three years ago, and Del Rey Square will open its doors to local seniors in Winter 2012.

Related Links:

The Argonaut (

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (

Photo Credit: Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles

AMCAL: Taking the LEED in the North Valley

Montecito TerracesOne of Century’s largest customers, AMCAL Multi-Housing, was recently featured in Multi-Housing News for its first LEED Silver-certified development, Montecito Terraces in Panorama City, where 98 very-low income seniors will have new affordable apartments. The sustainable “green” systems AMCAL is using in the project are not necessarily the most visible, but they are among the most cost-effective: diverting waste from landfills and recycling building materials; low-water use systems (irrigation and personal use); low-VOC paints; and high-rated HVAC filters. It’s clear that environmentally-sustainable development is not all about solar panels and wind turbines, attractive though they may be; good insulation and water-use management are just as important.

“Developers were very much concerned about the added costs to affordable housing with sustainable building, but … they realize the added benefits in the long haul, including keeping operating expenses low,” Arjun Nagarkatti, president of AMCAL, tells MHN.  “From that standpoint, it’s a good thing to do, and it’s a good practice for protecting the environment.”

Century provided the first investment in this project with a $3.7 million acquisition loan in 2007. Montecito Terraces will be welcoming its first residents later this summer.

A Smashing Good Time with Tom Safran

Dennis Zine Ron Griffith Canby Woods
Century President Ron Griffith with LA City Councilman Dennis Zine

In a twist on the traditional turn-a-shovel-of-dirt groundbreaking ceremony, on July 28th affordable housing developer Tom Safran invited friends and supporters to help tear down the improvements on the site of the future Canby Woods Senior Apartments in Reseda.  He even supplied the sledghammers, work glove, hard hats, and eye protection, and Caterpillar 973C. Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine and Century President & CEO Ron Griffith put on their hardhats and got right to work, punching holes in walls and tearing down the roof.

Councilman Zine complimented Mr. Safran for working to revitalize Reseda by redeveloping the blighted property, replacing it with high-quality affordable senior apartments.

Century provided a $3.8 million acquisition loan for the property in 2008, allowing Thomas Safran & Assoc. to begin the process of securing development financing from CRA/LA, LAHD, Wells Fargo Bank, CCRC, and National Equity Fund. Century and TSA have worked together for more than 10 years, starting with Skyline Village, and we have invested more than $30 million in seven developments that have created almost 600 affordable apartments for families and seniors, including the 98 to be built at Canby Woods.