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The Real Deal Los Angeles

VA taps development team for planned housing community

The group will build at least 900 units of supportive housing for military veterans
By Dennis Lynch | November 20, 2018 10:30AM

The Department of Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Medical Center

The federal government has picked the team that will build at least 900 units of supportive housing for veterans at the Veteran Administration’s West Los Angeles Campus.

The Department of Veterans Affairs made the announcement Monday, selecting Thomas Safran, along with Century Housing Corporation and U.S. VETS. The project could see up to 1,200 units of housing built in total.

The campus is located between Brentwood and Westwood, near Interstate 405.

The VA will lease land to the group for 75 years, and the team will “finance, design, construct, renovate, operate, and maintain” the housing units and services. The decision comes after the government announced it was seeking a developer for the project in April.

The work includes building new housing from the ground up, as well as renovating existing buildings on the campus. It will start with a 51,000-square-foot existing building to be used for homeless and at-risk homeless veterans. Work will start on that immediately, alongside preliminary planning for the wider project, according to U.S. VETS, a nonprofit organization serving veterans.

All three companies are based in the L.A. area. Thomas Safran has affordable projects in the pipeline around the city, and has worked with local governments. Recently, the firm filed plans to develop a 154-unit project on city-owned land in Hollywood, with 36 affordable units and commercial space. The firm was one of four tapped by the city in 2016 to develop supportive housing for the homeless.

Century Housing also has experience working with government entities. In August, L.A. selected the firm as part of a team with The Richman Group and National CORE to redevelop the Rancho San Pedro public housing complex with 1,627 units of new housing.

There were about 58,000 homeless people in L.A. as of last year, including many veterans.

The city has implemented measures to help get people off the streets, including plans to build temporary shelters, which have proven unpopular in some areas like Venice  and Koreatown. It has also looked to move some people into motels and hotels around the city.