Affordable Apt. Community to Break Ground in Escondido, Calif.

Escondido, Calif.--The apartment community will be built in a neighborhood plagued by street gangs, drugs.

Escondido, Calif.–Urban Housing Communities, LLC (UHC) will gather on Wednesday, June 23 with City of Escondido officials and architecture firm KTGY Group, project partners and local residents for the ceremonial groundbreaking on the future site of The Crossings at Escondido, an affordable apartment project in the Mission Park area of Escondido.

The Crossings at Escondido will feature 38 two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath townhomes; 15 three-bedroom, two-bath flats; and two four-bedroom, two bath flats.

The apartment community, designed by KTGY Group, will be built in a neighborhood that has been plagued by street gangs, drugs and overcrowded housing, and has seen a significant number of home foreclosures, says Mark Irving, director of planning and entitlement for UHC.

To signify a new start for the neighborhood, UHC, in collaboration with the city, has changed the name of the street that Crossings at Escondido will be built on from Elder Place to Mission Grove Place. The name Mission Grove Place was drawn from two nearby landmarks, Mission Middle School and Grove Park.

The Crossings at Escondido is a partnership between UHC and the City of Escondido Community Development Commission. The city committed funding by partnering with UHC to acquire the land. Subsequently, UHC secured financing through the 9 percent tax credit program. Additional financing for the project was provided by Wells Fargo N.A., the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the California Community Reinvestment Corporation.

The Crossings at Escondido will provide housing for 55 families who earn between 30 to 60 percent of area median income, with rents ranging from $557 to $1,124 per month, based on family size and income level.

“We wanted to give the development a market rate look and feel,” Irving says. One unique aspect of the development, Irving says, is that the two-bedroom townhomes are stacked on top of the three-bedroom flats, but they have entrances on the ground floor.

The project exceeds California’s Title 24 energy efficiency standards by 15 percent. Some of the eco-friendly design features are: solar panels that generate electricity for the common areas and outdoor lighting; radiant barriers under the roof sheathing; water-saving fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms; dual flush toilets; tankless water heaters; and Energy Star-rated lighting, appliances, windows and sliding glass doors.

Affordable housing serves a crucial common good, Irving says, because if a family is spending 30 percent instead of 50 percent of its income on rent, it is easier to provide other necessities, such as food, to their children, and gives families more income to spend in the community.

Occupancy at The Crossings at Escondido is scheduled for August, 2011.