Housing complex downtown moves forward

DOWNEY - The City Council on Tuesday gave its blessing on design plans for a six-story, 50-unit affordable housing project downtown that could break ground as early as September 2011.The complex, at 8314 2nd St., has been given the working name of The View and is a key component in the city's plan to stimulate the downtown district. The $21.9 million project will offer 35 two-bedroom units ranging from 795 to 863 square feet, and 15 three-bedroom units measuring 1,002 square feet. Typical leases will range from 3-4 years, Alfredo Izmajtovich, vice president of acquisitions at National Community Renaissance, told the planning commission two weeks ago. The View will be built where the Verizon telecommunications building currently stands on Second Street, half a block east of Downey Avenue. The city of Downey purchased the land in June 2008 using federal housing grant funds, so a portion of the property must be dedicated to affordable housing. "The residential units at The View will generally be rented to families having household sizes from four to six people," community development director Brian Saeki wrote in a report to the City Council. "The bulk of the units (37) will be rented to households making between $40,000 and $60,000 per year." National Community Renaissance - also known as National Core - will operate as property manager and conduct background checks and certify the household incomes of applicants. Residents will be recertified on a yearly basis, city officials said. When the units become available for rental, possibly in 2013, Downey residents will be given priority "to the extent allowable by law." Although National Core can not legally turn away eligible outside applicants, marketing will be targeted at Downey residents, Izmajtovich said. Five rental applications are expected for every available unit, according to economic development director John Perfitt. Council members on Tuesday raised concerns over the amount of parking at the residential complex. Plans call for 100 parking spaces, including 25 stalls for guests. The parking garage will be located underground and the guest parking lot will be street level. "My concern is whether we have enough parking," Councilman Mario Guerra, a member of the city's downtown subcommittee, along with Councilman Roger Brossmer, said. "We had over 5,000 people at Porto's Bakery this week." Perfitt said a parking study was performed by National Core and was optimistic that 100 stalls would be sufficient, but acknowledged that overflow parking from The View could spill over into public parking lots downtown. "There may come a time where we will have to consider further parking options downtown," Perfitt said. The View will also include a 1,500 sq. ft. community room for residents, a second-level courtyard and rooftop garden. Each housing unit will also come with a private patio.

********** Published: November 11, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 30