AMCAL to Debut First LEED Silver Affordable Housing Project

Panorama City, Calif.--AMCAL Multi-Housing Inc. is taking its commitment to a new level with the Los Angeles-area Montecito Terraces senior workforce housing project.

Panorama City, Calif.–AMCAL Multi-Housing Inc. is a longtime proponent of sustainable development, and now the affordable housing builder is taking its commitment to a new level with the upcoming completion of the Los Angeles-area Montecito Terraces senior workforce housing project, its first property to seek the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver certification.

Located approximately 20 miles north of Los Angeles in Panorama City, the 98-unit Montecito Terraces community will consist of structures designed by the architectural firm of Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh on adjacent sites that had been home to outdated apartment buildings. The project is a green endeavor from beginning to end. At the commencement of development activity, AMCAL did a good environmental deed by diverting 67 percent of the waste from landfills. The company is relying as much as possible on products produced locally and is recycling unused construction material. There are also green elements that will be visible on first sight, including drought-tolerant and native plants. Additional water-saving measures include high-efficiency irrigation systems as well as high-efficiency low-flow showerheads, toilets and bathroom faucets.

Other elements that will play a part in the property’s obtainment of a LEED Silver designation include energy saving features such as Energy Star appliances and lighting in the residences. Additionally, in an effort to mitigate any negative impact on air quality, AMCAL is utilizing low-VOC paint and a high-rated filter for the air conditioning system.

Sustainable building is nothing new for AMCAL, but in terms of LEED certifications, Montecito Terraces is just the beginning for the company. It has five projects currently under development that will seek silver, gold or platinum certification, and three more on the drawing board that are being designed to achieve gold or platinum certification.

The affordable housing industry is no longer behind the green curve. “Developers were very much concerned about the added costs to affordable housing with sustainable building, but the industry has matured and they realize the added benefits in the long haul, including keeping operating expenses low,” Arjun Nagarkatti, president of AMCAL, tells MHN. “Once you account for the fact that you will have savings through the project, it doesn’t cost that much to incorporate sustainable features. From that standpoint, it’s a good thing to do, and it’s a good practice for protecting the environment.”

Low-income housing development is not just falling in line with the green movement; it is also serving as a role model, Nagarkatti believes. “The housing industry is one of the few that lags behind in terms of being innovative, so if affordable housing is going to be the leader in sustainability and be an example for the rest of the industry, that’s a good thing.”

AMCAL relied on a bevy of sources to finance the development of Montecito Terraces, including nearly $13.3 million in 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and roughly $3 million in Proposition 1c Infill Infrastructure Grant funds. The developer was able to secure further public funding through the American Recovery Reinvestment Act federal stimulus fund, the Los Angeles Housing Department and the Community Redevelopment Agency of the city of Los Angeles. On the private side, U.S. Bank came through with permanent financing, and Hudson Housing Capital supplied equity for the project. “Montecito Terraces is an excellent example of the public and private sectors working together for a common goal–to provide high-quality, affordable housing for our residents,” Tony Cárdenas, a Los Angeles city councilman, notes in a prepared statement upon the announcement of the project’s groundbreaking last year. Montecito Terraces’ first senior residents are moving in this summer.