Former Church in Bluff Heights Transformed Into Affordable Housing for Seniors

Immanuel Place GO 3

Photos courtesy of the City of Long Beach.

The grand opening of Immanuel Place, an adaptive reuse of the former Immanuel Church at 3215 East 3rd Street into a new affordable housing development for lower-income seniors, was celebrated Friday by the City of Long Beach, with developers Thomas Safran and Associates (TSA), Clifford Beers Housing, Inc. and KFA Architecture.

“Long Beach is working to meet the vital need for affordable housing for seniors to support the vibrant and diverse communities of this City,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “This development not only provides additional housing opportunities for seniors with limited-income, but also gives a historic building new life.”

The completed project preserves the historic, as well as culturally significant structure, while providing 24 one-bedroom units for low-income seniors, 15 units for individuals experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness and one manager’s unit, according to the release.

Constructed to meet Build It Green’s Platinum GreenPoint Rated new Home Multifamily (NHFM) certification standards, Immanuel Place has solar thermal water heating panels, high-efficiency lighting and appliances and low-flow fixtures and sustainable finishes. During the conversion many of the building’s historic details were restored, including the structure’s exterior façade, large stained-glass windows and the Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ.


“The Grand Opening of Immanuel Place is an exciting time for our community,” Councilmember Jeannine Pearce said in a statement. “This project supports our goals of neighborhood revitalization and is a terrific addition to Bluff Heights.”

Immanuel Place will also be recognized by The National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) with the organization’s 2017 Vanguard Award for its “major rehabilitation of a non-housing structure into affordable rental housing.”

“The Long Beach Community Investment Company is proud to invest in the adaptive reuse, preservation and restoration of Immanuel Place, which provides the building new purpose and serves the community,” John Thomas, The LBCIC Chair, said in a statement. “This much-needed project will offer our seniors safe, affordable housing and a greater quality of life.”

Immanuel Place GO 4

Built in 1922 by Long Beach architect W. Horace Austin (1881-1942) Immanuel Church once housed traditional American Baptist Association worship services and was operated as a community center prior to its vacancy in 2012, according to the release. The building was then purchased by Thomas Safran & Associates, from the Immanuel Center for Conscious Living, to create housing for seniors.

“It’s been an honor to work with the City of Long Beach and our partners to restore and revitalize this important cultural site to provide much-needed affordable housing in Long Beach that will improve and enrich the quality of living for seniors,” said Andrew Gross, president of TSA Development.

Funding for Immanuel Place include:

  • A loan from The LBCIC.
  • An Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) loan from the Community
  • Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles (LACDC).
  • An Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) through the California Department of
  • Housing and Community Development (HCD).
  • An Affordable Housing Program (AHP) loan from the Federal Home Loan
  • Bank of San Francisco.
  • An equity investment by Union Bank through an allocation of tax credits
  • from the Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC).

For more information about TSA, visit the website here. For more information on the City’s affordable housing and assistance programs, visit the website here and click on “Housing and Community Improvement.”

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.