EL MONTE, CA – Jamboree Housing Corporation, one of California’s leading community development organizations specializing in affordable housing, has broken ground for a new workforce housing property that encompasses 132 apartments as the first phase of the 14-acre El Monte Gateway transit-oriented urban community in downtown El Monte, California.
A model for smart development in the San Gabriel Valley 12 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, El Monte Gateway is a public/private partnership between the City of El Monte, Grapevine Advisors, LLC, which is the master developer, and Jamboree. A $15-million grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) provides funding for significant infrastructure upgrades to surrounding streets.
When complete, El Monte Gateway’s residential component will feature 485 one-, two, and three-bedroom apartments ranging in size from approximately 550 to 1,050 square feet, including the 132 affordable housing units being developed by Jamboree. In addition, the development will include 25,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants, creating new opportunities for businesses in El Monte and its historic downtown. A significant advantage of El Monte Gateway’s location is its adjacency to the El Monte Station, a $64-million transportation hub that opened in 2012 and features such transit services as clean energy buses. Considered one of the largest transit centers in the western U.S., the El Monte Station serves more than 35,000 riders per day.
Slated for completion in July 2015, Jamboree’s workforce housing will provide affordable apartments for families who earn between 30% and 60% of the area median income (AMI). The rents will range from $466 to $1,184 per month based on family size and income level. For example, a family of four earning $36,675 (45% of area median income) will pay about $969/month in rent for their three-bedroom home.
El Monte Gateway workforce housing is Jamboree’s first development in partnership with the City of El Monte, according to Laura Archuleta, president of Jamboree. The multifamily property is being developed on 1.84 acres that is currently the site of the city’s public works yard.
“The apartment homes community at El Monte Gateway is Jamboree’s first workforce housing development in partnership with the City of El Monte, and is the first step in what we see as a long and productive relationship with the city,” said Archuleta. “In addition to working with the City of El Monte and Grapevine Advisors, this is an especially important development for our company in that it is part of the larger El Monte Gateway master- planned urban community and it is a transit-oriented development. This will be the third transit-oriented development that Jamboree has built in Los Angeles County, which is a significant milestone for our company.”
The affordable housing development is four stories of Type IV (wood framed) podium construction over one level of underground parking. The development will be comprised of 39 one-bedroom units, 50 two-bedroom units, and 43 three-bedroom units. Amenities will include a 3,350 square-foot community center with computer lab, fitness center, tutoring/arts and crafts room, and kitchen, as well as a central courtyard with barbecue/picnic areas, a tot lot, outdoor seating areas, laundry facility, and bike storage in the garage to promote exercise and a healthy lifestyle.
Resident services will be provided by Jamboree’s Resident Services Group – Housing with HEART – and will offer residents the opportunities and resources to enrich the quality of family life and health. Services will be specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of El Monte Gateway residents and programs will include activities such as homework assistance and tutoring for young people, health and wellness programs, and community- building activities for all residents. An onsite program coordinator will assist residents in accessing local community services for their specific needs.
In keeping with Jamboree’s commitment to sustainability, the development is designed to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) for Homes certified Silver rating. This lowers energy consumption that provides a cost-saving benefit to residents and promotes a healthier living environment.
The property’s energy efficient design and furnishings exceed California’s Title 24 energy efficiency standards by at least 17.5%. Apartment homes will include: ENERGY STAR refrigerators, dishwashers and microwaves in each unit; ENERGY STAR bathroom fans exhausted to the outside and humidistats as required; flow reducers in kitchen and bathroom faucets and ultra low-flow toilets; no-VOC interior paint; formaldehyde-free or low-VOC fully sealed laminate cabinets, countertops and shelving; CRI Green Label Plus and low-VOC carpeting pad; and, low-VOC adhesives.
Funding sources for the $37.57-million workforce housing development include $23-million in investor equity by Union Bank, which also provided $4.4-million in permanent financing, and the City of El Monte, which invested $9.9 million including $2.5-million of HOME Funds from U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) for land acquisition, development and permanent financing.
"Increasing the supply of affordable housing is one of HUD's main priorities," said Bill Vasquez, Director of HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development. "El Monte Gateway received $2.5-million of HUD's HOME Funds for land acquisition, development and permanent financing. I am pleased that HUD could make a significant contribution to this development that will provide 132 affordable housing units for the City of El Monte."
Union Bank Executive Vice President Annette Billingsley, head of Community Development Finance, said, “Union Bank is proud to invest in El Monte Gateway to provide new and accessible affordable housing for working families in the El Monte community. It is gratifying to help our long-standing partner Jamboree Housing continue to fulfill its mission of developing quality rental homes that help build communities and change lives. El Monte Gateway represents our 7th partnership with Jamboree Housing.”
The project architect is MVE Institutional, the general contractor is KPRS Construction Services, Inc., and property management will be provided by EPMI, a Bayside Company.
The first phase of El Monte Gateway will be a catalyst to the future developments within the larger 60-acre Gateway Specific Plan, further creating new housing and business opportunities, and placemaking for dining and social gatherings, according to El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero.
“This project boasts so many tremendous benefits for our entire community and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate this important milestone,” the mayor said. “This development will translate into the creation of hundreds of jobs, while revitalizing our city and stimulating our local economy. I believe the Gateway Project will be a model of smart planning and development in the San Gabriel Valley.”
James Acevedo, president of Grapevine Advisors, said, “We are proud to partner with the City of El Monte on this much-anticipated and vital economic development project. We believe this is a model project for public- private partnerships moving forward, creating jobs and tax revenues, and providing quality housing at a time when our region as a whole is facing a serious housing shortage. The El Monte Gateway project is also a great example of how transit-oriented developments can encourage use of mass transportation, which reduces congestion and has a positive impact on air quality.”
Centrally located in downtown El Monte, El Monte Gateway is a walkable community that is near Pioneer Park and the Rio Hondo bike trail, one-quarter mile from the El Monte Station transit center, one-half mile from Fletcher Park and the El Monte Community Hospital, and less than one mile from the El Monte Public Library. Columbia Elementary and El Monte High Schools are also less than one mile from the site and Rio Hondo College is less than nine miles away. The property is also close to a local pharmacy, two grocery stores, and health care services.