Montebello approves 132-unit affordable complex on Whittier Boulevard
Third time charm on development of 1.5-acre property in Montebello
The Montebello City Council has approved plans for a 132-unit affordable housing complex on a 1.5-acre stretch along Whittier Boulevard.
The council unanimously approved the proposal from Cesar Chavez Foundation, according to the Whittier Daily News.
Along with housing, the proposal calls for 10,100 square feet of commercial space. The project is planned in two phases. The second phase requires additional approvals from the city.
The first includes 63 affordable units between three- and four-story buildings. Phase Two consists of 69 residential units, including some market-rate units, and the commercial element.
The proposal calls for 152 parking spots, which city staff deemed to be sufficient.
“Given the proximity to public transit and the provision of parking spaces in excess of the state’s minimum requirements, staff can support the lower requirement of parking,” City Manager Rene Bobadilla wrote in a staff report.
The approval tentatively concludes a drawn-out ordeal over developing the property dating back to 2008.
That year, developer Ku and Associates, received a $1.3 million federal grant to build a mixed-use affordable project on the site.
The firm never built the complex, but told the federal government that it did, prompting investigations from agencies including the FBI and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Walnut-based firm ultimately paid back the grant after the city sued the company.
In 2016, the Montebello City Council approved the sale of more land to Ku and Associates for a proposed mixed-use project including a 130-key hotel, 45 condominium units, and 8,500 square feet of retail space.
That project fell through as well, leading Cesar Chavez Foundation to buy the property from Ku and Associates.
Cesar Chavez Foundation has closed on one property for the project and is in the process of buying a handful of others from Ku and Associates. The firm is also set to buy a city-owned property for the project.
[Whittier Daily News] — Dennis Lynch