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LINC in the News
Developer chosen for Fifth and Sonora housing project
Glendale News-Press, August 11, 2016
By Arin Mikailian, Contact Reporter

The Housing Authority selected a developer on Tuesday to design what could end up being a 65-unit, affordable-housing project for seniors in northwest Glendale.

With a 3-2 vote, the agency granted LINC Housing/CORE a one-year negotiating agreement to plan the project before it comes back for a final vote.

Mayor Paula Devine and authority member Joseph Kelley cast the dissenting votes.

The effort to build senior housing started years ago when the city purchased a 1.56-acre lot at Fifth Street and Sonora Avenue for $6 million with the hopes that a developer would step in and pay for construction costs through government tax credits.

To that end, Zareh Sinanyan, chair of the Housing Authority, said LINC Housing/CORE has had the most success in winning federal subsidies when compared to the other companies vying with their own proposals.

In the past eight years, LINC Housing/CORE have been awarded 16 out of 19 tax-credit projects, while Thomas Safran and Associates have won nine out of 10 submittals on the first application round.

Authority members have stressed in recent weeks the importance of the ability to win competitive tax credits when being considered for the project.

“The volume of success was larger than that of Safran and, since my colleagues made such a big deal about this, I think it should be taken into consideration,” Sinanyan said.

Devine listed many reasons why she would have preferred to go with Thomas Safran Associates’ 70-unit proposal, which would have cost less per unit by almost $20,000.

She also thought Safran’s proposal was the most compatible with the neighborhood because it offered an inter-generational public park for the elderly and their grandchildren as well as a community room.

“It offers so much open space, which includes more than 6,000 square feet of actual park space where seniors can socialize and share activities … It’s a great project,” Devine said. “It’s thoughtful, it’s functional and I think it has the best chance of getting the financial success that we’re looking for.”

The mayor also pointed to Thomas Safran Associates’ track record of already building two affordable-housing projects in Glendale.

However, Sinanyan said it wouldn’t be a good idea to give that much weight to past relationships.

“If we make that a deciding factor, then we’re excluding new applications or a new entity that hasn’t done business in Glendale … We have to always be open-minded about that,” he said.

Councilman Vartan Gharpetian said the numbers that stood out to him the most was how big of a potential tenant pool the senior affordable-housing project could have.

LINC Housing/CORE’s units would be available to an average low-income tenant who earns 78% less than the area median income, according to a city staff report.

Thomas Safran and Associates’ units would have been 51% below the area median income, the report states.

LINC Housing/CORE’s project would be in a Spanish Colonial style and be three stories high at its tallest point. It would feature a paseo, which would cut through the property that would be open to the public. It will also include a 3,500-square-foot community room and a community garden.

Glendale News-Press