Metro joins Abode Communities to break ground on mixed-use affordable housing project

Left to right: Fanny Guzman-Ortiz, Community Representative from Abode Communities; Raul Anaya, President of Business Banking for Bank of Americ; Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Metro Board Member; Hilda Solis, Metro Board Chair & LA County Supervisor; Robin Hughes, President & CEO of Abode Communities; Stephanie Wiggins, Metro CEO

Metro joined Abode Communities in a groundbreaking ceremony today to mark the start of construction on a mixed-use affordable housing development on Metro-owned property located near the corner of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Soto Street in Boyle Heights.

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti joined Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro’s incoming Board Chair Hilda Solis and other elected officials in praising the project as an example of Metro’s updated Joint Development Policy that enables the agency to build as much quality affordable housing near transit for those who need it most, as soon as possible.

The project in Boyle Heights, known as La Veranda, will include 76 income-restricted affordable apartments with one unrestricted property manager’s apartment and approximately 8,000 square feet of community-serving ground-floor retail and associated parking.

The 76 affordable apartments will serve families and people experiencing homelessness through a range of one- to three-bedroom units, including 38 apartments that will be offered to households earning less than 20% of Area Median Income (AMI).

Transit systems are most effective if they are surrounded by transit-supportive land uses that include jobs, housing, schools, and other community destinations. While Metro does not have land use authority in Los Angeles County (local jurisdictions hold this power), Metro can leverage the land it owns on behalf of the public, usually adjacent or proximate to Metro’s transit infrastructure to deliver transit-supportive uses (to the extent these uses comply with local land use policies).

The Ground Lease terms between Metro and La Veranda GP LLC, for which Abode Communities is the Managing General Partner, include an initial 65-year term, with the developer having an option to extend the term for up to 10 additional years. The site totals approximately 1.96 acres of Metro-owned property bounded by Cesar E. Chavez Avenue to the north, Soto Street to the west, Mathews Street to the east and a residential neighborhood to the south. The Metro L Line (Gold) Soto Station is located a quarter mile south of the site for easy access to the Metro Rail system.

Metro’s Vision 2028 Strategic Plan encourages the development of affordable housing near transit in order to give more people, especially in low-income communities, better access to transit. The Metro Joint Development Program is a real estate development program for properties owned by Metro — typically parcels left over from the construction of transit projects.

For more information on Metro’s Joint Development Program, visit https://www.metro.net/projects/joint_dev_pgm/

QUOTES

“Angelenos want and deserve a city with affordable housing and improved transportation so every family can make their rent payments, every resident can get to work and school with ease, and every individual can access opportunity and prosperity, no matter where they live,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “The Chavez/Soto project is an example of how we can make the intersection of transportation and housing part of the blueprint of our efforts to tackle our housing crunch, create more affordable communities citywide, and forge a future of sustainability for our residents.”

“La Veranda project will provide sorely-needed housing for our unhoused neighbors and for families making as little as 20 percent of the area median income while providing access to high quality transit,” shared Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair and Metro Vice Chair, Hilda L. Solis. “Building more affordable housing units is critical to combatting homelessness, especially as we saw the pandemic exacerbate the County’s housing crisis, particularly among communities of color.”

“La Veranda aims to stabilize families and individuals who are living on the fringe in Boyle Heights,” said Robin Hughes, President & CEO of Abode Communities. “We are excited to partner with Metro to make this historic neighborhood a more equitable place to live – our homes are just a short walk to the Gold line, helping to make our city fairer and more sustainable.”

“Metro must be a partner in all efforts to stabilize communities and avoid displacement. That will happen when we work with stakeholders to ensure a mixture of low-and-moderate-income housing that fits the legacy and historic nature of the neighborhood where housing is being built,” said Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Metro Board Member. “A more equitable Los Angeles County is one in which families and individuals can afford to live in good housing near transit without worrying about displacing their neighbors.”

“Transit-oriented development on Metro-owned land near transit stops helps families reduce the two largest household expenses – housing and transportation,” said Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins. “How we use our land can help make the difference between a thriving community for all versus one that doesn’t work for low- and moderate-income families.”

2 replies

  1. Alternate headlines: “Metro fails to sell community eyesore after a decade, instead decides to get into real estate business.”
    “LA City deprived of millions in yearly property tax revenue by Metro.” “Metro getting into the low-income housing business, cites expertise is housing people on buses.” “Metro groundbreaking ceremony held in East LA, lack of shovels delays Crenshaw line three more years.”

  2. It’s great that Metro is providing housing for some people who need it. That will help both the new residents, and the community at large. Other levels of government should be providing decent housing for homeless persons. Even though Metro’s main job is transportation, not housing, it is great to see Metro provide some housing.