AMCAL Constructing $43M Affordable Community for Irvine Community Land Trust

Groundbreaking has taken place for Alegre, a 104-unit affordable housing project for families in Irvine, Calif.

By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer

Irvine, Calif.—Groundbreaking has taken place for Alegre, a 104-unit affordable housing project for families in Irvine, Calif. AMCAL Multi-Housing, a developer of workforce and affordable housing in California, Texas, Arizona and Louisiana, is developing the $43 million community.

A competitive proposal process by the Irvine Community Land Trust resulted in the selection of AMCAL. AMCAL will build the affordable apartments on Irvine Company-provided land within the new Cypress Village master plan, situated near the I-5 freeway and Jeffrey Rd. The community is expected to be complete in March 2015, at which time first occupancies will take place.

“We are very honored to be chosen to do this project,” Agoura Hills, Calif.-based AMCAL Multi-Housing CEO Percy Vaz tells MHN. “Need for affordable housing in California far exceeds the availability of affordable housing in the state. There’s always a need and it’s always a good time to build affordable housing.”

The biggest challenge AMCAL encountered was assembling all the financing components necessary for the development, Vaz says. “Because affordable housing rents are about 50 percent of what market-rate rents would be, in order to build affordable housing anywhere in California, it needs some kind of financial assistance, from the state, federal government or the local city,” he adds. “In our case, one of the challenges was to obtain low-income housing tax credits. We competed for those, with no assurances we would get them. But we did get them, and that made this project go forward. We sold the credits to Bank of America, and obtained approximately $24 million. Bank of America is our limited partner in the project.”

The development is adjacent to Cypress Park and near an OCTA bus line. A market, pharmacy and health clinic, as well as Jeffrey Trail School, are also well situated for convenient access by future Alegre residents. AMCAL plans to team with LifeSTEPS to offer complimentary social services that will include computer and job skills training, ESL classes and health programs for Alegre residents.

Common area amenities at Alegre will include an expansive pool area, children’s water splash feature, barbecue areas, children’s playground, a two-story community room with offices, computer lab, kitchen, media room, game room and fitness room. Ample bicycle storage, as well as 180 tuck-under and surface parking spaces and charging stations for electric cars, will be provided.

Alegre stands to assist a great many deserving Irvine and non-Irvine residents, Vaz says. “There are a lot of people who work in Irvine and have very long commutes as well as low incomes, who would qualify” for residency, he reports. “There are also low-income folks who live in Irvine, who may be doubling up or having a difficult time making ends meet. They would benefit from this development, because the rents are 50 percent of what they would pay on a market-rate basis. And 10 percent of the units are set aside for people who might have mental health issues, so they would also benefit.”

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