The Las Ventanas development, formerly known as the Pacific Apartments, has released renderings for the project set to house 102 affordable apartment units at Long Beach Boulevard near Pacific Coast Highway.
Originally designed for 101 units, the AMCAL-produced and William Hezmalhalch Architects-designed project has expanded by one unit and includes 77 parking spaces for cars, five for motorcycles, and over 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail at a total cost of $42.2 million.
While the design, color choice, and over aesthetic leaves much to be desired—it borderlines the worst of the worst of mid-1990s postmodern apartment complexes—here is the breakdown of the units:
- 62 one-bedrooms
- 15 two-bedrooms
- 25 three-bedrooms
- 18 units extremely low income (ELI); 32 units very-low income (VLI); 50 units low income
People often ask about what defines “affordable housing,” or what I mean when I say these units on “affordable.”
In one sense, it is misleading because I am not referring to general affordability; in other words, this isn’t about the lack of affordability for what is often called “the missing middle,” which refers to lower middle class residents and families who are struggling to pay rent but fail to meet federal definitions of low income households. (One Long Beach developer is trying to solely focus on this issue.)
I use affordability in most of my pieces with direct correlation to the federal definition.
And in that sense, the specifics depend on whom the housing is serving—some of the affordable projects coming online are reserved for veterans or those with special needs or seniors—and other certain caveats.
The federal department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) defines affordable housing as a home in which a low-income family is spending 30 percent or less of their income on gross housing costs, including utilities. Low Income families are defined typically as earning 80 percent or less of the median income within a given area; it goes down from there to very low-income (30-50 percent AMI), and extremely low-income (<30 percent AMI).
For instance, one of the projects I have often lauded, the Beacon Apartments, are available to seniors and others who qualify as low-income, very low-income, or extremely low-income. Twenty-six units will be given to extremely low-income families; 72 units to very low-income; and 60 to low-income families; two will be reserved for a manager of each building.
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