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South LA Residents Getting Affordable Housing, Better Vegetables

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This Monday is the ground-breaking for a new affordable housing development in South LA, a project which'll include our favorite British export, a Fresh & Easy grocery story. When finished in 2010, the project at 1011 E. Adams will offer 80 apartments above 19,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. It's not clear what the other retail will be, but at least part of it will include the grocery store, notable given the lack of food stuff stores in the area (there are plenty of fast food stores, however.) Maybe they could slap some of that F & E green paint on the outside of the apartments to liven up that building?


Promising to address the need for more quality affordable housing choices in South Los Angeles – as well as the equally severe need for a new grocery store in the area – plans have been announced for an innovative new mixed-use development at the northeast corner of East Adams Boulevard and South Central Avenue.

City officials will join with West Los Angeles-based Meta Housing Corporation, developer of the project, for a groundbreaking ceremony to be held at the site, located at 1011 E. Adams, on Monday, July 14 at 10 a.m. Speakers will include L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry, in whose district the project is located; Bud Ovrom, L.A. Deputy Mayor for Business Development; Mercedes Marquez, General Manager, L.A. Housing Department; William Jackson, Chair, L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA) Board of Commissioners; Cecilia Estolano, Chief Executive Officer, CRA/LA; Tim Mason, CEO, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market; representatives of Bank of America; and John Huskey, President of Meta Housing.

According to Huskey, the as-yet unnamed project will feature 80 apartments built on three levels above 19,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space fronting on both streets. He also announced that the retail will include the newest L.A.-area location of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, a new market offering fresh, wholesome food at affordable prices. Fresh & Easy currently has 63 stores in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada, including a store in Compton at Rosecrans and Central avenues.

The apartments will range in size from 554 to a generous 1,103 square feet, including 1, 2 and 3-bedroom units. Thirty of the 80 units will offer 3 bedrooms, offering ample space for families, Huskey noted.

“This exciting project will provide a major boost to ongoing efforts to help revitalize the neighborhood by redeveloping a currently unoccupied site and bringing much-needed new affordable housing for growing families as well as retail services to a part of our city that has far too little of both,” Huskey said. “We are deeply grateful for the support this project has received from Councilmember Perry, the various city agencies and other entities that are making it possible, and we look forward to working closely with them on its successful completion.”

“We are committed to serving all different types of neighborhoods, including those that have been traditionally underserved,” added Mason. “Fresh & Easy strongly believes everyone deserves fresh, wholesome food at affordable prices, regardless of where they live.”

Because of financing provided in part through federal low-income housing tax credits, the housing will be 100% affordable for residents earning from 35% to 45% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Los Angeles County. Starting rents are expected to range from $497 to $887 per month depending on household income.

“This new development is bringing two key important components to our community: quality, affordable housing and a quality, full-service grocer,” said Councilwoman Perry,

representative for the area and an early proponent of this important mixed-use project. “Central Avenue continues to be the center for economic development in our community, and Meta Housing is contributing to our continued efforts to revitalize and strengthen this important corridor. I am proud that Meta has chosen to invest in our Central Avenue community.”

In addition to tax credits, the project also received loans of $5.8 million and $4.5 million, respectively, from the Los Angeles Housing Department and Community Redevelopment Agency, as well as financing from other sources. Bank of America is providing both construction and permanent financing. Total development cost of the project is $40.6 million.

Cecilia Estolano, Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA), said, “This project is helping to create a healthier community with new housing and a grocery store that will provide fresh produce and foods to the neighborhood.”

Meta Housing, a leader in the development of affordable and mixed-income multifamily and senior housing, is partnering on the Adams/Central project with Western Community Housing, a Costa Mesa-based nonprofit affordable housing provider and investor. The award-winning John Cotton Architects designed the contemporary project, construction of which is expected to be completed in March 2010.

“The LAHD is proud to support another significant project along Central Avenue,” said Mercedes Marquez, General Manager of LAHD. “All told, we have invested $29.6 million in eight projects for the development of affordable housing along this historic corridor of South L.A. Overall, nearly 30% of all the projects the LAHD has funded have been to invest in the revitalization of South L.A.”

The apartments will feature a variety of market-rate quality amenities, including energy-efficient kitchen appliances; carpeting and vinyl flooring; ceiling fans; smoke detectors; central heating and air conditioning; balconies (in some plans); walk-in closets; and cable TV/Internet access. Also included will be 21,000 square feet of open space with landscaped courtyards, barbecue areas, tot lot and meditation areas, as well as laundry facilities. A large community room will feature classrooms, a computer/business center, and a serving kitchen for community functions. Plans call for a variety of on-site social services, including computer classes and after-school tutoring, to be provided to residents at no charge.

Two levels of above-ground parking will be included in the project, with one accommodating retail customers and the second, fully-secured level for residents. In addition to the on-site retail, residents will also enjoy convenient access to public transit (with a bus stop at the site), along with health care facilities, shopping, schools and a nearby YMCA.

For more information about the Adams/Central project, or other Meta Housing developments, contact Nancy Morris, Director of Corporate Marketing, at (310) 575-3543, ext. 102.

About Meta Housing:

The highly experienced team at Meta Housing Corporation has built a solid track record in the development of affordable housing communities for seniors and families throughout Southern California. Most of Meta’s communities are 100% affordable, utilizing a variety of tax credit, bond financing and other government financing programs. Every one of these communities includes an affordable component, with units set aside for very low- and low-income residents at each location.

Meta Housing and its principals have been active in financing, constructing and managing award-winning senior housing communities since 1969 and have developed more than 10,000 single-family and multifamily residential units throughout Southern California. For more information about the company, phone (310) 575-3543 or visit its website at

www.metahousing .com.

About Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market:

At roughly 10,000 square feet, Fresh & Easy markets are smaller than the typical super-market, to give customers a faster, easier shopping experience. In addition to high quality fresh, prepared meals and produce, meat, fish and poultry, Fresh & Easy offers everyone’s favorite national brand products and household items, all at everyday low prices.

Each store employs approximately 20 to 30 people, hired from the local neighborhood. All Fresh & Easy employees are given the opportunity to work at least 20 hours per week, which

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entitles them to comprehensive and affordable health care. Entry-level positions start at $10 an hour in California, with similarly competitive salaries in other states, and offer a quarterly bonus of up to 10%. All employees are offered 401(K) plans with company matching.

More information regarding Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market can be found at www.freshandeasy.com.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Project rendering attached or available on request.