Council Oks Veterans Village

Once slated for a multifamily housing project, to be built by an affordable housing developer that the city is now suing for fraud, a central Glendale site is on its way to becoming a “Veterans Village.”

With a unanimous vote, the City Council, in its dual role as the Housing Authority, agreed to partner with an affordable housing developer on Tuesday to build a roughly $15.5-million project that will give preference to veterans.

“It's a great day for Glendale,” said Mayor Frank Quintero, a Vietnam War veteran.

The site at 327-331 W. Salem St. was set to become Central City Lights, a 36-unit project by Advanced Development and Investment, Inc. But that project was canceled, and last April the city sued ADI, alleging the Los Angeles developer bilked the city of millions of dollars.

ADI had requested about $6.9 million in redevelopment and federal funding for its $15.7-million project that was to include artist live-work lofts, according to a city report.

PATH Ventures, another Los Angeles developer, pitched a similarly sized project several months ago for the site, but city officials turned down their offer, saying they wanted more control over the property.

Instead, the City Council approved partnering with Thomas Safran & Associates for Veterans Village on four adjoining lots comprising 27,910 square feet. The low-income, multifamily housing project will include 44 units.

Each unit is set to range in size from about 600 to 1,100 square feet, include one-, two- and three-bedroom units and cost between $474 and $1,315 per month. The complex may also include a community room, library lounge, fitness room, computer labs and other amenities.

Depending on the number of people in their household, future Veterans Village residents must make between $17,730 and $58,680 a year.

Thomas Safran & Associates also developed Garfield Gardens, a 30-unit complex, in 2010 at 305 E. Garfield St. Councilwoman Laura Friedman described that project as one of the best affordable housing developments in the city.

“Compared to the crap that we got from ADI … it looks 1,000% better,” said Councilman Dave Weaver. “This looks nice compared to that other junk.”

The preliminary project design, which still must be reviewed by city officials and the Design Review Board, includes an arts-and-crafts-style traditional design, a partial stone façade, balconies and a central clock tower.

The city's part of the deal will include $5.3 million in cash and land, according to a city report. Much of the city funding comes from federal grants. The developer plans to also apply for about $8 million in federal tax credits that can be sold to profitable organizations or individuals in exchange for project financing.

Andrew Gross, principal at Thomas Safran & Associates, said the developer may be awarded the tax credits next July. Once that happens, the developer may begin construction in September. The project may be complete in early 2015.

The council also entered into an agreement to develop another project that may house senior veterans.

Community Development Partners is set to rehabilitate a two-story apartment building at 311 E. Cypress St. The 18-unit project is reserved for low-income seniors, but six units will be given priority preference for veterans.

The city plans to contribute about $1.5 million in federal grants to the roughly $4.2-million project. Community Development Partners also plans to apply for $2.4 million in tax credits to cover development costs.

The monthly rent will range from $448 to $961 for studios and one bedrooms and applicants must have a similar income range, depending on family size, as Veterans Village.

The Cypress project may be complete in about 12 months, with construction possibly beginning next March, city officials said.

The city is not accepting applications for both projects. Glendale officials plan to create an application process when the developments are under construction.

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