Lancaster, CA – Jamboree Housing Corporation, along with a crowd of enthusiastic supporters – including City of Lancaster officials and community leaders – celebrated the grand opening of Laurel Crest Apartment Homes. Located in the North Downtown Transit Village redevelopment area of Lancaster, Laurel Crest is a 72-unit workforce housing community in Los Angeles County.
“Today is a reality because of our partners,” explained Michael Massie, Housing Development Manager for Jamboree. “Partnerships with the City, our construction team and lenders are what it takes to open an outstanding property that is now home to many hardworking families.”
With an emphasis on family-oriented design, Laurel Crest features a campus of two- and three-story craftsman-inspired buildings consisting of 36 two-and 36 three-bedroom apartment homes. The homes are affordable to working families who earn between $22,700 and $41,400 – 40% to 60% of the area median income.
Lancaster Mayor Henry Hearns emphasized that the City had begun working with Jamboree in the pre- development phase nearly five years prior. He underscored the priority of “taking care of the people in our community because every person in the City matters.” Hearns called the property a “win, win, win” for everyone, noting the quality and innovation of Laurel Crest and how it sets the standard for the entire North Downtown Transit Village redevelopment area.
Deborah Martin, a new resident at Laurel Crest, couldn’t agree more. “Thanks to all of you, I now live in a place where my daughter feels safe, I’m close to work, I can connect with neighbors and the resident services staff is quickly becoming an extended family.”
Recognizing that transit-oriented developments reduce automobile trips by 50%, Laurel Crest is conveniently located within walking distance of a Metrolink station and nine bus lines. According to Edward Hargrave of Metrolink, all residents are being provided with a special incentive to ride the train. Jamboree’s transit-centric focus determined that the original parking-lot requirements were too high and cut parking spaces by 38%, reducing heat-absorbing and reflecting asphalt.
While Jamboree typically exceeds Title 24 energy efficiency standards by 15%, Laurel Crest further raises the bar to more than 19% by incorporating effective and innovative techniques to lower energy consumption, reduce pollutants and provide other cost-saving benefits to residents. This is critically important to workforce families in which utilities consume well over 20% of their budget, compared to 4% for median-income families. And, it’s why this year Jamboree made ENERGY STAR appliances one of its design guideline standards for all new construction projects and all acquisition/rehabs needing replacement appliances.
“Jamboree combined environmental sensitivity, energy efficiency and affordable housing under one roof for the residents at Laurel Crest. It demonstrates that building green improves the financial feasibility of developments. Also, it financially assists residents by reducing their utility bills, promotes resident health through reduced pollution, and underscores Jamboree’s responsibility to pursue increased sustainability of the community as part of the overall building industry,” said Laura Archuleta, president of Jamboree. In fact, according to Jennifer Caspar, Senior Development Officer for Enterprise Community Partners, Laurel Crest was one of its first Green Communities grant recipients – a green initiative that helps to fund housing that is both affordable and sustainable.
But such innovation benefited the Jamboree’s bottom line as well. Greening reduced operating expenses at Laurel Crest, increased the property’s supportable debt, decreased the funding required from gap- financing sources and earned 4% tax credits on additional energy-related construction expenses. Partnering with environmental consultants helped Jamboree identify 69 green site and design elements – of which 38 were incorporated into the project at no or minimal additional cost and nine other alternatives were accomplished in construction specifications – including installation of photovoltaic cells (solar panels) that power all common areas. Projections indicate that electrical costs will be reduced by 13% each year. Overall, Jamboree reduced its operating expenses at Laurel Crest by more than $340,000, improving the financial feasibility of this and future developments.
Massie says that many of the energy-saving elements simply required resourcefulness and creativity, not excessive expense. Jamboree now incorporates a green design elements checklist at the outset of design engineering for each new project. All TCAC (Tax Credit Allocation Committee) requirements and cost-neutral design elements are now the Jamboree standard and more costly design elements are the norm for “add” alternates should additional funding become available during construction.
Archuleta applauded City leaders for championing a full spectrum of housing for Lancaster residents, despite public pressure to stop all multifamily housing developments in recent years. “It’s a lack of proper resident screening and outstanding property management that can lead to an increase in drugs and crime, not workforce housing itself. When done well, housing workforce families improves the quality of theirs lives as well as our communities.” That, says Archuleta, is what Jamboree is all about.
Laurel Crest Fact Sheet, Green Features, Property Photos available upon request
About Jamboree: Founded in 1990, Jamboree Housing Corporation is an award-winning, broad-based nonprofit housing development company that develops, acquires, renovates and manages permanently affordable rental and ownership housing for lower-income families and seniors throughout California. Housing with HEART (Helping Educate, Activate and Respond Together) is a 501 (c)(3) organization and a division of Jamboree Housing Corporation. Jamboree Housing is Orange County’s leading nonprofit developer with a portfolio that includes the development of and/or ownership interest in more than 5,000 affordable rental apartment homes in more than 35 California communities. Currently, Housing with HEART programs and services are offered at 24 JHC communities with designated staff at each location. More information is available on the company’s Web sites at www.jamboreehousing.com and www.housingwithheart.org.