LA County provides nonprofit builder land, $72M for affordable housing project

Bridge Housing plans 180 units on 4.2 acres where swap meet burned in 1992 riots

Rendering for mixed-use project at Vermont and Manchester Avenues (TCA Architects)
Rendering for mixed-use project at Vermont and Manchester Avenues (TCA Architects)

Nonprofit developer Bridge Housing Corp. has received $72.4 million in bond financing to build an affordable housing complex on a long-blighted lot in South Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the funds to construct 180-unit apartment buildings on 4.2 acres owned by the county at Vermont and Manchester avenues, Urbanize Los Angeles reported.

One complex called “The Family Building” would contain 118 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for families who earn between 30 and 80 percent of the median income in Los Angeles.

A second building called “The Senior Project” would contain 62 one-bedroom apartments for older residents who earn less than 30 percent of the median income in the area.

The supervisors approved $46.3 million for the family development, and $26.1 million for the senior project at 8400-8500 South Vermont Avenue. They also approved revised terms of the project’s ground lease and developer agreement.

Bridge Housing was selected to build the apartments in 2018. The nonprofit developer has built more than 18,000 homes in California, Oregon and Washington at a cost of more than $3 billion, according to its website. It also manages 12,500 apartments, and has $3.8 billion in projects in its development pipeline.

Downtown-based TCA Architects is designing the development, which will also include a public boarding school, SEED LA, which is being built separately from the apartments.

It wasn’t clear what will happen to other plans announced for the county lot. The development was to include affordable housing, commercial space, a public boarding school, a transit plaza and bus transfer center.

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Initial plans also called for 50,000 square feet of street-level retail space, which could potentially include a grocery store, restaurant, retail shops and an occupational training center run by Metro.

The proposed boarding school was slated for the north side of the property, with plans calling for a six-story building featuring 20 faculty apartments and 200 dorm rooms.

A transit plaza – framed by the school and the housing complex – would sit at the center of the property, providing 52,000 square feet of open space for bus transfers and recreation.

Construction of the new affordable housing comes more than four years after Los Angeles County bought the Vermont-Manchester site, which had been vacant since its swap meet burned to the ground in the 1992 uprising after the Rodney King verdict.

The South L.A. neighborhood festered in urban decay — destitute of shopping options, including grocery stores and other basics.

The land had been owned by Eli Sasson, who for decades had promised to develop the property with a high-end shopping complex, but never delivered after a ceremonial groundbreaking.

In November, Bridge Housing filed plans to build a six-story, 95-unit homeless and affordable housing development in Koreatown.

[Urbanize Los Angeles] – Dana Bartholomew

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