What to Do with The Empty Corners?

We all drive past empty corners every day.  They used to be service stations (yes, Virginia, there was “service” once upon a time–uniformed men would wash your windscreen, check your tire pressure (and fill them up with air for free!), check your oil and coolant levels, and offer to top them off if they were low, and actually pump the fuel into your car for you, all without extra remuneration or expectation of a tip, and often they would give you some useful gift if you filled your tank–amazing to think about nowadays).

Now, these lots sit vacant, perhaps with some odd looking barrels and pipes and maybe some pumps to suck the polluted groundwater up into filters and storage tanks.  Most of us wonder, “Why can’t something be done to use that site?  It would be great for. . . .”  And that is when we realize that these odd shaped, small lots on the corners of our streets, big boulevards and neighborhood lanes alike, don’t seem to have much commercial value.  They are too small for most uses, and the location on corners, which was an advantage for service stations, creates traffic conflict issues for other uses. Read more

Century celebrates with clients at the Hotel Wilshire

This past Wednesday, December 14th, Century celebrated the spirit of the season with Los Angeles based clients and partners at the Hotel Wilshire in Mid-City’s Miracle Mile neighborhood.  Reveling in 2011’s achievements and awaiting the upcoming year’s infinite possibilities, attendees enjoyed 360-degree views spanning the L.A. skyline and Hollywood Hills while feasting on the innovative cuisine of Chef Eric Greenspan.

Photos from the event after the jump!
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Boyle Hotel Renovation

Boyle Hotel Before RenovationEast Los Angeles Community Corporation held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $24.6 million renovation of the historic Boyle Hotel on December 9th. Also known as the Mariachi Hotel for its role in housing mariachi players and their families, the Boyle Hotel is adjacent to the famous Mariachi Plaza and the new Eastside Gold Line station. Built in 1899, the historic hotel will be redeveloped into 20 affordable apartments, with an additional 31 apartments and parking built immediately to the east of the Hotel along 1st Street. The reborn Boyle Hotel will also provide new commercial space to add to the burgeoning Arts District along First Street, as noted by Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar in his remarks at the groundbreaking.

Century provided ELACC with more than $4.4 million to purchase the hotel and adjacent properties in 2006 and 2007 when another developer had planned to acquire and demolish the historic building. The Boyle Hotel is a gateway to the Boyle Heights community and a symbol of the impact of Mexican immigrants. This development will balance the Boyle Heights neighborhood’s need for new affordable homes and commercial development with the need to respect and preserve its history.

Boyle Heights Youth Program to Expand

Progress PlaceA $930,500 construction loan to Progress Place I and II, LP will provide financing to rehabilitate 8 apartments in 2 buildings in Boyle Heights into supportive housing for at-risk youth. The developer is Jovenes, a social service provider on the Eastside with a 20-year track record of helping homeless and at-risk youth, especially those in the difficult transition from youth-oriented to adult-oriented programs, such as exiting the foster care system. The development at Progress Place, a cul-de-sac street, will provide a continuum of care environment similar to Century Villages at Cabrillo (though on a much smaller scale), as Jovenes already owns two other buildings and runs programs on the street.

Century has some history with this development: we provided a $742,000 acquisition loan to Jovenes to acquire these properties in 2007. Since repaying that loan in 2008, Jovenes has worked mightily and successfully to secure $3.6 million in permanent financing from the LA County Housing Authority, HCD, and the LA County Dept of Mental Health for the development.

Compton Developer Receives Funding for Rehabilitation

Century closed a $1,000,000 line of credit to ANR Compton NSP, LLC, to acquire and rehab foreclosed homes in Compton. ANR Industries, a general contractor, has been working with several cities to deploy federal funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in neighborhoods especially hard-hit by foreclosures in the past few years. ANR and Century are already working together in Santa Ana, with Century providing a $2,000,000 credit line to fund acquisitions along with funds from the City of Santa Ana, and with this new loan closing, ANR closed on the first three homes in Compton. The NSP program requires that the homes are resold to moderate-income families, with some or all of the NSP funds remaining invested to lower the purchase price for the new owners. Santa Ana has been one of the most successful cities with their NSP funds, and we expect Compton will do well, with a quality partner like ANR.

Congratulations to Skid Row Housing!

New Carver Apartments developed by Skid Row HousingWe are happy to report that New Carver Apartments, the visually striking downtown building developed by Skid Row Housing, has won the 2011 American Institute of Architects / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing Design. The New Carver Apartments and the City of Los Angeles were also awarded the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Door Knocker Award for outstanding work in producing affordable housing. Century Housing invested $3.62 million at the earliest stage to build these 102 apartments for formerly homeless men and women. Monument Magazine recently profiled the development—you can learn more about the development, it’s transformative effect on the community, and Skid Row Housing by visiting their site at skidrow.org.

Oxnard Gains Eight Affordable Homes

Century’s $760,000 acquisition loan to 110 North D Street, LLC, will launch the development of eight affordable apartments for emancipated youth in Oxnard. The developer, Many Mansions, is the main affordable housing creator for special needs populations in Ventura County, and young adults who age out of the foster care system are often very vulnerable and need assistance to get their lives on track. This development, like so many for special-needs residents, has a large menu of funders, including the Prop 63 Mental Health Services Housing Program, HUD’s Shelter+Care, Homeless Youth funding from HCD, HOME funds from the City of Oxnard, and an AHP loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. This was Century’s second loan to Many Mansions.

Century Housing: Newest Member of FHLBank San Francisco

Hudson Oaks RenderingCentury Housing announced today that it has been approved as a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. Century, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), is the FHLBank’s first nonprofit, nondepository CDFI member in California. Membership offers Century access to innovative, competitively priced products and a variety of low-cost funding solutions. “Century Housing and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco share mutual goals of extending affordable housing and economic development financing to underserved communities where our members do business,” said Dean Schultz, President and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. Read the full press release

Long Beach Senior Arts Colony Breaks Ground

Hudson Oaks RenderingCentury Housing proudly joined Mayor Bob Foster and the Long Beach Housing Development Company in breaking ground on Long Beach Senior Arts Colony, a 200 unit senior residential community designed for citizens 55 years and above and earning 30%-60% of the Area Median Income. The Colony will offer on-site amenities such as community rooms, a theater, art rooms, community gardens, a residential library, BBQ areas and a spa, and was described as an “innovative approach to senior residential living which will support and encourage our seniors to live a healthy, active and independent lifestyle,” by Councilmember Robert Garcia. The project benefitted from a $9,700,000 acquisition loan provided by Century Housing to Meta Housing, one of Southern California’s most experienced and trusted developers of affordable housing.

San Fernando Community Housing Brought by Aszkenazy

We are proud to announce Century’s $650,000 predevelopment loan to Aszkenazy Development for San Fernando Community Housing, 97 apartments for low-income families, including special needs households, to be developed in the City of San Fernando. This is Century’s second loan using the LA County Housing Innovation Fund (LACHIF), and it required a healthy dose of creative action, along with the hard work of Century loan officers and staff determined to close the loan within the short time frame (about a month) required by Aszkenazy Development and the LA County staff.