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DOWNTOWN : Housing Project Gets Panel's Tentative OK

August 01, 1993|LEE HARRIS

A City Council committee has tentatively approved a $3-million loan to an Orange County-based organization to help construct its fourth affordable apartment complex in Los Angeles that features tutoring and educational programs.

Educational Excellence for Children with Environmental Limitations, or EEXCEL, will build a five-story, 83-unit apartment complex in Downtown, one block west of Grand Hope Park.

The project will be the largest by the nonprofit organization. It will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units, a parking structure and a 1,500-square-foot multipurpose room for its tutorial program. Rents will range from $482 to $882 per month.

The $3 million approved last week by the Redevelopment and Housing Committee is contingent on EEXCEL obtaining the remaining funds for the $12-million project from private sources and the federal government.

At least $3 million is expected to come from the Century Freeway Housing Program, a federal project that provides funding for affordable housing that replace homes demolished to make way for the Century Freeway.

"What we are saying to them is that our loan is conditioned upon them obtaining the other money. If they get it, we are in," said John McCoy, director of housing for the Community Redevelopment Agency, which oversees such projects.

The City Council is expected to approve the contingency loan this week. If financing is obtained, construction could start next spring and be completed within 18 months, McCoy estimated.

The complex would be built on a lot owned by the redevelopment agency at 9th Street and Grand Avenue. The land would be leased to EEXCEL for 60 years and renewable for an additional 39 years.

McCoy said the city is always looking for housing programs for low- and moderate-income residents that meet a variety of needs "beyond just providing a place for them to live."

"We think the EEXCEL is one of those programs that will give them a boost up in life. It will give them enrichment and try to break that cycle of poverty," he said.

This is the first time the city has worked with EEXCEL, which was conceived by Kent Salveson, a San Juan Capistrano-based housing developer. Salveson, along with his partner, Dan Hunter, and others in the company have developed three similar developments using their own money and public and private funding.

In addition to indoor parking spaces and laundry rooms, the project features free day care, after-school tutoring and drug abuse prevention programs.

A 46-unit apartment building was built at 12010 S. Vermont Ave. in South Los Angeles, a 41-unit complex is at 1750 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in South-Central and a 66-unit building is at 11515 Budlong Ave. in the Athens area.

A graduate of USC, Salveson enlisted his alma mater to create the educational support program. Several USC professors volunteered to help design a study program, and the university's Upward Bound program provides after-school tutors.

At the Vermont complex, known as Academy Hall, resident counselors who are college students tutor. Parents and other residents who provide services such as playground and study-room supervision receive rent reductions.

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