Irvine, Calif.—The late October grand opening of Doria Apartment Homes, an affordable housing community on the north side of Irvine, Calif., marked a pair of firsts for Irvine-based affordable housing developer Jamboree Housing Corporation.
Doria Apartment Homes is the first rental property to be completed by Jamboree in joint venture with the Irvine Community Land Trust (ICLT). It is also the first to integrate a number of homes for residents with special needs.
The ICLT is a comparatively new organization spun off by the city of Irvine. Its goal is to help maintain the permanent affordability of designated land parcels, whether the site of a rental property like Doria or a for-sale single-family home.
Doria Apartment Homes is part of a large, master-planned community called Stonegate, being developed by The Irvine Company. Through The Irvine Company’s entitlement process, the site upon which Doria sits was identified for affordable housing, and Jamboree was picked to develop the housing.
“This is a project where I felt like we did a lot of things right,” Jamboree Housing Corporation president Laura Archuleta tells MHN. “We’ve learned that if during the entitlement process you can get the site identified for affordable housing, you don’t have to fight NIMBYism to get the housing done … If you go in afterwards and try to identify this as affordable, you have a problem. But people who have bought single-family homes or townhomes or rented at market rate in Stonegate knew this would be designated affordable housing.”
This is the first phase of Doria Apartment Homes, featuring 60 units in two- and three-story garden-style buildings configured around a central courtyard. An additional 74 homes will comprise the second phase, which will break ground in 2012.
The entire community could have been built in one phase rather than two. Demand was strong, with more than 2,000 people applying to live at Doria. However, according to Archuleta, they split it into two phases because of limitations on funding sources. With the addition of the second phase, the construction period will total about three years, she adds.
This is Jamboree’s first project in which homes for folks with special needs have been integrated into a development. A total of 10 homes are thus designated. “The special needs people in this case are people living with chronic mental illness,” Archuleta says. “The units for special needs residents are identical to the other units, because they face no physical challenges. But we added space for the on-site case managers working with these 10 special needs residents.”
Doria Apartment Homes residents will be able to walk to a large shopping center about a quarter mile away, and to an expansive outdoor athletic facility with playground and swimming pools, situated about a half mile away, Archuleta says.
Doria apartment homes feature Energy Star refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves and microwaves. The property exceeds Title 24 energy-efficiency standards by approximately 15 percent. The eco-friendly orientation extends to the community garden, which allows residents to tend to their own plots of land, growing their own food, flowers and plants.
Primary funding on the development was provided by The Irvine Company, which was the tax credit investor and served as syndicator of $9.9 million in 9 percent LIHTC equity. Other funding came from ICLT, the city of Irvine, U.S. Bank and the County of Orange.
“This is really a flagship development to serve as an example for other cities and developments in California,” Archuleta summarizes. “All the qualities add up to huge community benefits exceeding the benefits from the 60 units of affordable housing themselves. This is a model that could be used in many other places.”