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Loan OKd to Build Low-Income Housing in Sun Valley

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved a $5-million loan to a developer who plans to build a large Sun Valley apartment project for low- and moderate-income renters.

The plan to build the 257-unit complex is backed by community leaders, who say it would revitalize a run-down plot of land. The project is to provide 128 apartments for low-income families, with the remainder going to moderate-income tenants, Community Redevelopment Agency officials said.

Perla Eston, the agency’s housing director, said the project will be among the largest CRA-financed low-income housing developments in the San Fernando Valley. She said the largest now is a complex in Lake View Terrace, also containing 257 units.

A two-bedroom apartment in the new project would rent for about $359 a month to a low-income family of four that earns less than $19,000 a year. A moderate-income family of four that earns between $30,000 and $40,000 a year would pay about $684 a month for the same unit, according to CRA figures.

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In addition to the CRA loan, developer Thomas Safran is receiving a $10-million loan from federal housing funds. Safran plans to secure another $6 million in private financing to build the $21-million complex on a nine-acre site between Strathern and Lorne streets near Tujunga Avenue.

“This is quite significant,” Eston said. “It’s a rare opportunity for us to build something that is relatively low density with a lot green open space.”

Safran said that construction is scheduled to start in June and that occupancy is expected in the summer of 1990.

Leaders of the community’s two most vocal civic groups--the Chamber of Commerce and the Sun Valley Residents Assn.--said they support the project because of the developer’s track record in their community and his promise to build an attractive project.

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“We were at first concerned because there would be so many low-income units,” said Laura Kallen, chamber president. “But right now, the land is very run-down. We felt that this project would improve the area.”

Safran said his project will have a New England look, with cedar-shake siding and white trim. It will include landscaped courtyards, private patios and a swimming pool.

Mary Poncin, president of the residents association, said her group supports the development because members are pleased with Safran’s management and maintenance of another low-income development in the neighborhood.

The site of the planned project is across the street from a gaping gravel pit that is the proposed location of a private landfill.

Community opinion on the landfill is mixed. The chamber supports the idea, and residents are divided on the issue. The proposal has yet to receive City Council approval or permits from other state and local agencies that regulate dumps.


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