Officials mull housing options downtown

DOWNEY - A subcommittee composed of Mayor Mario Guerra and Councilman Roger Brossmer put off a decision Tuesday on whether proposed downtown housing should be made 100 percent affordable.Approximately 50 units will be built at the city-owned Avenue Theatre and Verizon building, city officials said. It's now up to the city to decide whether 70 or 100 percent of the units will be made available for affordable housing. Because the city purchased the properties with funds made specific for affordable housing, any units not meeting that criteria would need to be subsidized by the city. According to statistics presented by city officials and Alfredo Izmatjtovich, a representative from developer National Core, a tenant's household income could not exceed approximately $40,000. A 2-bedroom unit would rent for about $1,022 per month, below the market rate of $1,400 per month, officials said. A similar complex in Bell Gardens yielded 1,200 applications for 73 units, according to Izmatjtovich. The units sometimes serve as stepping stones for young families who eventually move into homeownership, he said. Brossmer, however, expressed skepticism that a family living on $40,000 a year - and paying $1,000 in rent each month - would have enough disposable income to adequately support downtown businesses. Brossmer and Guerra requested more information and will make their recommendation at a later time. Under a "best-case scenario," construction on the units could begin in early 2010. Construction would take approximately 14 months to complete, officials said. The downtown subcommittee meets on an as-needed basis inside a third-floor conference room at City Hall.

********** Published: July 10, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 12