As LA’s homeless population climbs, affordable developer plans 81-unit complex in Echo Park

SRO Housing Corp. is working on a new project, in addition to the larger one it’s planning in Westlake

Aug.August 28, 2019 10:00 AM
SRO Housing Corporation CEO Anita U. Nelson, the development site, and a rendering of the project
SRO Housing Corporation CEO Anita U. Nelson, the development site, and a rendering of the project

An affordable developer wants to build an 81-unit permanent supportive housing complex in Echo Park, at a time when Los Angeles is struggling to address its rising homeless population.

SRO Housing Corporation filed plans for the city’s Transit-Oriented Communities project across a series of lots at the corner of North Alvarado Street and West Kent Street, county records show. The development, which would be called Alvarado Kent Apartments, would replace low-rise commercial buildings and a parking lot.

It is eligible for TOC benefits because of its proximity to bus lines in the area.

The program provides density bonuses and other incentives to developers if they include affordable units in properties near mass transit. Many of L.A.’s most active affordable developers have used the program to boost units at supportive and affordable housing developments.

The Downtown-based SRO Housing Corp. is planning all of the units as studio apartments.

The firm picked up the development site in May 2018 for $6.5 million from Axiom Real Estate Investments. Axiom entitled the site for a 67-unit building that it wanted to call Echo Heights, but that project never moved ahead.

SRO Housing looks to house chronically homeless individuals with mental illnesses as well as homeless veterans, but anyone with an income below 60 percent of area median income is eligible to live in the complex.

Amenities include a computer room, community kitchen, and a laundry room. Supportive services will be available on-site in a dedicated office.

SRO Housing Corporation is pursuing a similar 120-unit supportive housing project not far away in Westlake. In July the county approved $5.5 million in debt financing for the project.

The developer wants to fast-track that project through a state law enacted called SB 35. The program went into effect early last year and requires cities fast-track affordable projects to help address the housing crisis. It’s not clear if SRO Housing wants to do the same for the Alvarado Kent Apartments.

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