A groundbreaking ceremony was held June 30 to mark the start of construction on a mixed-use affordable housing development near the corner of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Soto Street in Boyle Heights in Los Angeles County.
The development is located on property owned by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) and agency officials were joined by Abode Communities at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti joined Los Angeles County Supervisor and L.A. Metro’s incoming Board Chair Hilda Solis and other elected officials in praising the project as an example of L.A. 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.
“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.”
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.
“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,” said 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.”
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 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).
“La Veranda aims to stabilize families and individuals who are living on the fringe in Boyle Heights,” said Robin Hughes, president and 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.”
L.A. Metro notes transit systems are most effective if they are surrounded by transit-supportive land uses that include jobs, housing, schools and other community destinations. While L.A. Metro does not have land use authority in Los Angeles County (local jurisdictions hold this power), L.A. Metro can leverage the land it owns on behalf of the public, usually adjacent or proximate to its transit infrastructure to deliver transit-supportive uses (to the extent these uses comply with local land use policies).
“Transit-oriented development on Metro-owned land near transit stops helps families reduce the two largest household expenses – housing and transportation,” said L.A. 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.”
The ground lease terms between L.A. 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 L.A. Metro rail system.