By Jon Peterson
Irvine, Calif. -based Related California has brought its affordable housing investment program for the first time to Berkeley with a $36 million transaction covering 75 units and 15 public housing sites.
“We see that there is a tremendous amount of demand for this kind of housing in Berkeley. There is much more demand that there are units available. An example of this is that the Berkeley Housing Authority last year allowed 300 families to apply for the units we bought once they found out we were working on this transaction,” says Lydia Tan, an executive vice president and director of Northern California operations for Related California. She works out of the company’s regional office in San Francisco office at 333 Pine Street.
“We are pleased to have Related as a partner on this project. This was a complicated transaction, and I don’t believe any other company could be adeptly achieved what Related has. We are thrilled the residents will soon be living in updated homes and that the results will assist the Housing Authority in being able to continue its important mission of serving Berkeley’s low and very low income residents,” said Carole Norris, chair of the Berkeley Housing Authority Commission, in a prepared statement. She did not return phone calls for this story.
The transaction closed by Related California included the use of tax exempt bonds, low-income housing tax credits, local HOME funds and a carry back loan from the Housing Authority. The actual cost to acquire the home sites was $15.5 million.
The units that were purchased were all three- and four-bedroom townhomes. Some of the units will be converted into two bedrooms and an increase of handicap accessible units to seven. This will allow more existing residents to remain on site. Construction will begin this week with a planned completion by December of this year.
These are all Section 8 Housing units. This means that the occupants are now allowed to use more than 30 percent of their income on the housing. Some of the units will be getting new families, primarily because some families are no longer in need of a three- or four-bedroom house. The Berkeley Housing Authority will be responsible for finding homes for these people. “I would suspect that this will mean relocating around 33 people,” said Tan.
Related California is looking at many markets in the Bay Area for affordable housing. “The other regions besides Berkeley that we are looking at, and have already completed deals in, include Oakland, Richmond and San Francisco,” said Tan.