(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Elected officials, community leaders and local residents gathered as San Bernardino City 1st Ward Councilmember Virginia Marquez and the San Bernardino Housing and Community Development staff, held an informational meeting regarding the acquisition and rehabilitation proposed for the Lugo Apartments, located at 839 Lugo Avenue.
“Tonight our focus is you, the community,” said councilmember Marquez. “I urge everyone to be engaged and to ask questions. It is important for you to tell us what is wanted and what is important to you. This is our neighborhood.”
Scheduled for presentation during the San Bernardino City Council December 6 meeting, the project has been proposed as an affordable senior living housing complex. Held at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, the gathering gave attendees a chance to share their thoughts and concerns, as they discussed the development, cost and management of this project.
According to the City’s 2010 Consolidated Plan, San Bernardino has approximately 7,100 vacant dwelling units, which includes a mix of single family, three and four-plex properties, as well as larger scale multi-plex properties. In addition, a study conducted in 2008 revealed the city is approximately 1,000 units below what is needed for an aging population in the form of affordable senior housing.
“I think tonight was very informative and step in right direction,” said San Bernardino Police Officer Aaron Jones, who patrols the Lugo Apartment neighborhood. “If everything falls in place, as explained, this should make the community a much safer place.”
Currently 120 units, the Lugo Apartments has fallen victim to urban blight and increased criminal activity. Centrally located, the proposed project is seen as playing a key role in reducing many of the problems in the neighborhood and will go a long way in bringing the City in line with the projected need for affordable senior housing as well.
“Ultimately, our plan is to transformed the property into a 119-unit senior-only complex, with a community clubhouse,” said Carey Jenkins, San Bernardino Housing and Community Development director. “It sits on approximately 3 acres and once transformed, this project will go a long way in providing enhanced amenities for our growing population of seniors.
Carrying a total development cost of $18.5 million, the San Bernardino Economic Development Agency will look to partner with Meta Housing Corporation to develop and manage the complex. The San Bernardino Economic Development Agency’s agreed upon subsidy for the project is set at $6.5 million. Funding will subsidize a portion of the site acquisition, assist with tenant relocation and pay for pre-development cost.
Meta Housing Corporations is a Los Angeles-based firm specializing in the development and financing of affordable and market-rate apartment communities for families and seniors, has been proposed as the developer on this project, based on their expertise in acquiring and rehabilitating existing residential units to suit senior living.
“I think this is a great idea,” said local resident Lillice Andreson. “Normally I am very leery about this type of thing, where people can potentially loose their homes, but this is nothing like that. This neighborhood desperately needs an affordable senior facility.”
Meta Housing Corporation has built a reputation of offering amenities and programs that help senior residents embrace the full potential of a high quality lifestyle. Once completed, the complex will feature new interior flooring, paint, energy efficient light and heating, new faucets and toilets in the bathrooms, and new kitchen countertops, appliances and cabinets.
The exterior will offer new property line perimeter wall, landscaping, wheelchair accessible ramps, reconstruction of carports, dual glazed energy efficient windows, new roof, new paint, new asphalt parking and driveway areas, as well as elevators and bridges between buildings for handicapped access.
Plans for a community clubhouse have been developed, designed to create a social gathering space. The clubhouse will offer a fully equipped library, computer room, guest parking and security access gate. There will also be on-site tenant services that include health and wellness classes, lifelong learning and creative arts programs.
“I thought the reaction from the attendees has been very positive and there seems to be support for this,” said Jenkins. “This is the first step, it is a process and we are here to make sure we listen to the community and address any concerns they may have.”
For more information on this project call Carey Jenkins at the City of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency at (909) 663-1044.