Affordable housing developer SoLA Impact has received a $25-million investment from PayPal to build low-rent apartments in Los Angeles.
The Palo Alto-based fintech firm pledged the money to SoLa’s Black Impact Fund, created to spur development of affordable housing in Black and Latino communities, according to Bisnow..
The Watts-based developer established the two-part Black Impact Fund to invest in federally designated opportunity zones as well as surrounding areas. PayPal invested in the latter.
PayPal said its investment is part of the company’s focus on “sustained engagement and progress in economic equality and social justice.”
“Affordable housing is key to building financial health and we are committed to doing our part to break the cycle of inequality by partnering with SoLa Impact,” Senior Vice President Aaron Anderson said.
In June 2020, the company committed $535 million toward projects, funds and organizations.
As of last June, it had committed $510 million.
SoLa Impact was founded in 2015 by Martin Muoto and Gray Lusk, and now has more than 1,500 affordable apartments in greater South Los Angeles, with another 1,500 units in its pipeline. It claims to be the biggest Section 8 landlord in Los Angeles.
The company started with “2 guys in a garage,” according to its website, and now has more than 100 employees.
The funds from PayPal are earmarked for projects in Southern California, Bisnow reported. They will also move the developer closer to its goal of building 4,000 additional affordable units throughout the state over the next two years.
The Black Impact Fund has raised more than $250 million and has a cap of $300 million, said Muoto, a harsh critic of investors who have sidestepped disenfranchised communities.
SoLa Impact also operates a $115 million Opportunity Zone fund that focuses on affordable housing and commercial centers in Compton, Watts and South L.A. The federal Opportunity Zone program provides tax incentives to developers who build in distressed neighborhoods.
In September, SoLa Impact filed plans for a 195-unit apartment complex in Park Mesa Heights on a property it bought for $11 million. It also filed plans to build an 84-unit affordable complex in Westmont, a 84-unit building in South L.A., and a 68-unit project in Vermont Square.
[Bisnow] – Dana Bartholomew