Larkin Place clears key hurdle, financing largely complete
by Steven Felschundneff | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamboree Housing Corporation’s latest application for Larkin Place has been approved by the city’s planning department and the company now has the green light to apply for utility, grading and building permits.
“The City has approved Jamboree Housing’s project application for Larkin Place, a proposed 33-unit permanent supportive and affordable housing project located on the vacant lot at 731 Harrison Avenue, a parcel currently owned by Pilgrim Place. The property is zoned Institutional Residential (IR), which permits multi-family residential housing. The City’s General Plan designates the property as ‘Available for Very Low and Extremely Low-Income Households,’” read a statement on the city’s website.
On June 1 the city’s Principal Planner Chris Veirs sent a letter to Jamboree’s Senior Vice President, Development Tish Kelly confirming the application has met all requirements allowed under the Supportive Housing Act, Assembly Bill 2162. That law stipulates that only objective standards be applied to supportive housing projects, and it must be handled at a staff level without public hearings by commissions or the City Council.
The law went into effect January 1, 2019 and requires that supportive housing be permitted “by right” in areas zoned for multifamily and mixed-use developments, and that the approval process be streamlined. In addition, the law exempts these projects from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act and removes the requirement for conditional use permits, or “other similar discretionary entitlements granted by the Planning Commission,” according to the city.
Earlier this year Jamboree resubmitted its application for Larkin Place after its initial plan was rejected in June 2022. That design received approval from both the city’s planning staff and the architectural commission but the Claremont City Council voted 3-2 not to allow future residents of Larkin Place to access proposed parking at the rear of the building via an easement across a parking lot at Larkin Park.
That vote resulted in the California Department of Housing and Community Development threatening legal action against Claremont if the city did not find a way to get Larkin Place approved.
Jamboree redesigned the project so that the combination driveway and fire lane would now be on the property. This change resulted in a reduction in parking spaces from 18 in the 2022 plan to 11 in the current application.
Construction costs for Larkin Place are estimated at $700,000 per residential unit, meaning Jamboree’s fundraising task is substantial. Typically, companies secure financing from several sources, and Jamboree has put together a portfolio that includes construction loans and low cost affordable housing loans, as well as tax equity.
In January Jamboree applied for $1,163,000 in federal low income housing tax credits as part of the effort to get Larkin Place built, according to a California Tax Credit Allocation Committee application acquired by the Courier.
The document, signed by Kelly, lists the total cost for construction at $23,269,386, including a $10 million construction loan from Banner Bank, which will be the primary lien holder. Other financing includes a $3 million loan from the San Gabriel Valley Housing Trust, a $4.7 million loan from the Los Angeles County Development Authority, as well as $3 million in low income tax credits and $1.6 million in deferred costs and fees.
The application lists the total “permanent financing” at $12,919,721 and total tax credit equity at $10,349,665. The estimated cost per residential unit is listed as $705,133.
Marissa Feliciano, Jamboree’s director of marketing and communications, said the company would find out about its tax credit allocation during the tax credit allocation’s July 26 meeting.
Jamboree will pay Pilgrim Place $1.2 million for the land, which it expects to own by January 1, 2024. Building and grading permits are expected to be in place around the same time and construction will begin shortly after, according to the application. Larkin Place is expected to be placed in service by September 2025, with “occupancy of all tax credit units” by December of that year.
For Larkin Place’s future occupants the units will be truly low cost housing, with rent pegged at just $340 per month. Jamboree will collect $130,560 per year from tenants and will receive an additional $649,728 annually in rental subsidies, plus $3,564 from laundry facilities for a “potential” gross income of $783,852.
Expenses, including administrative costs, management, payroll, maintenance, and other operating costs total $278,671, for a net income of $505,181, not including debt servicing.
Chief Development Officer Michael Massie submitted a viewpoint to the Courier, viewable here, confirming his company has elected to pursue a by right project under state law and reaffirming his company’s commitment to develop “a property that effectively serves residents and benefits the community as a whole.”
“Jamboree doesn’t just build housing. Our resident services team ensures that every resident at each of our properties has the tools they need to thrive. At Larkin Place, each resident will have access to trained staff that provide support and resources. This includes case management, individual or group therapy, peer support groups, recovery services, benefits counseling, life skills training, and community-building activities. We also ensure that each of our communities has a site-specific security plan,” Massie wrote.
The news that Larkin Place has moved one step closer to reality comes after months of back and forth among Claremonters. Though many residents welcome the idea of permanent supportive housing in the city, still others — including some who live near the construction site — oppose Larkin Place due to its location, which they say is too close to Larkin Park and El Roble Intermediate School, among other reasons.