City of Carson turns luxury apartments into 150 units of ‘workforce housing’

Local news

The city of Carson is converting its first downtown luxury apartment complex into a 150-unit affordable housing project, officials said.

The announcement comes after the city closed a $78 million deal backed by a state agency that provides low-cost financing to real estate developers for projects with a public benefit, the city of Carson said in a news release Sunday.

The conversion of the market rate four-story Renaissance — which was unveiled in 2014 and was part of the larger City Center mixed-use retail and residential development near City Hall — into what’s being called ‘workforce housing’ is intended to serve the “many middle-income residents of the community cannot afford the upscale housing units being built and will be eventually priced out of the rental market,” the city said in the release.

“The Renaissance was built as a luxury apartment property.  It offers high-quality amenities, architectural details, landscaping, and services that will address the needs of our middle income residents at an affordable price,” Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes said in a statement. 

City officials say Carson is “undergoing a residential development boom” with hundreds of units in new condominium or apartment actively under construction. But many of those units won’t be affordable to middle income residents and will be eventually priced out of the rental market, the city said.

While the city has previously facilitated the development of 160 new low-income units for seniors, veteran and artists — all of which have reached capacity — officials say that the city had not yet addressed the concerns of its middle-income households.

The financial structure of the affordable housing development will ensure that such residents will have a place to live in Carson, the city said. 

The state, which now owns the property, worked with real estate broker Standard Communities to put together the financing structure for the project, the city said. In turn, Standard Communities, which has almost 10,000 affordable housing units in its portfolio, agreed to a regulatory framework that provides a cap on rent increases for qualifying residents.

Under the deal, existing tenants cannot be evicted from The Renaissance and they are allowed to be “over income,” according to the city.

Current residents could also eventually see their own rents decrease if they fall into one of the qualified income categories — households with incomes between 80% and 120% of the area median income for the metropolitan area, the city said.

Annual rent increases for existing and future tenants would also be capped at no more than 4%, which is less than the rent limits under California’s new tenant protection legislation, according to the city’s news release.

With the Renaissance already fully occupied, however, the conversion into a full ‘workforce housing’ complex will occur over time as leases turn over, officials said.

Meanwhile, Carson has created an Emergency Rental Assistance Grant program through its CARES Act funding for income-eligible individuals and families living in the city. 

Grants of up to a maximum of $10,000 are available to households that fall at or below 80% of the area median income and have been economically impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic through job loss, furloughs or deduction in hours or pay.  More information is available through the city’s program website.

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