Canoga Park : Apartments Reopen, With Assist From City

A formerly red-tagged apartment building in Canoga Park was officially reopened Thursday as the first rehabilitation project completed under the city's Loans to Lenders program.

City officials and residents gathered at the 16-unit complex at 21618 Saticoy St. to celebrate.

"Thankfully, with aggressive action by city government, we have made significant progress in bringing our earthquake ghost towns back to life," City Councilwoman Laura Chick said.

Loans to Lenders was established by the Los Angeles City Council after the Northridge earthquake, using $25 million in tax-exempt bonds. The program is designed to encourage financial institutions--which foreclosed on many apartment buildings after the quake--to improve their properties so that they can be resold. The new owners, city officials said, benefit from lower mortgage interest rates due to the tax-exempt bonds.

"Banks are not in the development business," said Ken Bernstein, a planning deputy for Chick. "They want to find a new responsible owner to take over the property and get it off their books."

The complex, officials said, was one of 15 red- or yellow-tagged buildings in the neighborhood. Repairs on four are near completion, officials said, and construction is under way at six others. The remaining four, officials said, have obtained funding and construction is expected to begin soon.

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