Healthy Housing Foundation Buys 2 Skid Row Properties in L.A. to Build New Affordable Housing

In Advocacy, Featured, News by Ged Kenslea

HHF closes on a commercial property with two retail spaces on East 7th Street as well as an adjacent vacant lot on San Julian Street in downtown Los Angeles where it intends to build new, affordable housing for far less than the current $500K price tag of the City’s HHH ‘affordable’ units.

Properties are adjacent to its Madison Hotel, a 202-room SRO hotel built in 1924—and the first property that Healthy Housing purchased—and refurbished and repurposed for the homeless and extremely low-income individuals, with priority placement offered to those with chronic health conditions.

LOS ANGELES (March 20, 2019) The Healthy Housing Foundation powered by AHF (HHF) closed escrow last Friday (March 15th) on the purchase of a commercial property with two retail spaces and adjacent undeveloped lot in downtown Los Angeles on Skid Row.

HHF plans to build new affordable housing units for the homeless and extremely low-income individuals on the parcels, which are adjacent to its Madison Hotel. The Madison is an almost century old 202-room single room occupancy (SRO) hotel (built 1924)—and the first property that the Healthy Housing Foundation purchased, renovated and repurposed as affordable housing as part of it mission to help house the homeless and extremely low-income individuals.

The Healthy Housing Foundation also plans to build new as economically as possible and upend the head scratching Los Angeles norm of spending over half a million dollars per unit for ‘affordable’ housing. As reported in Los Angeles Magazine this month, “The average total cost for a unit of homeless housing in the HHH program — first projected at $350,000 — was more than $502,000 by the latest count, an increase of 43.4 percent.”( Will a Measure to Help L.A.’s Homeless Become a Historic Public Housing Debacle?’ March 2019).

“This is the first time in Los Angeles that Healthy Housing Foundation will build new rather than renovate and repurpose older un- and/or under-occupied SRO hotels and motels,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AHF. “Our target is to build this complex, which will have relatively small apartments and micro-units, for roughly $100,000 or less per unit, as compared to the $500,000 cost per ‘affordable’ unit under Measure HHH. The property we build here will eventually house hundreds, help revitalize a tough area of downtown and become the sixth complex in our affordable housing portfolio in greater Los Angeles.”

The two Skid Row properties HHF closed on last week include a commercial property located at 431 East 7th St. comprised of a 7,182 square foot lot with 2,894 square foot, two-unit commercial building. One of the spaces is currently leased to a retail market; the other retail space is vacant.

The other property purchased is an adjacent undeveloped lot around the corner at 653 San Julian Street, a 3,969 square foot dirt lot.  HHF’s intentions are to eventually raze the partially occupied commercial building and develop the properties—including the existing and adjacent parking lot of its Madison Hotel into extremely low-income or affordable housing units.

Healthy Housing Foundation powered by AHF was created last year to address the rampant affordable housing crisis sweeping the nation by providing fast, easy and compassionate access to affordable housing with a focus on addressing the needs of low-income individuals, struggling families and youth, with priority housing placement offered to those with chronic health conditions.

Properties repurposed to Healthy Housing Foundation’s mission include: the Madison Hotel[1], in Downtown L.A., purchased in October 2017, followed quickly by the January 2018 purchase of the former Sunset 8 Motel, a 27-room motel[2]  in the heart of Hollywood now known as the Sunrise on Sunset. The purchases and repurposing of the King Edward Hotel and the Baltimore Hotel, both in downtown L.A., followed later in 2018 (April and August, respectively). And in February 2019, Healthy Housing Foundation cut the ribbon on Casa del Corazon, a 37-room motel on Whittier Boulevard in East L.A.—the Foundation’s first housing venture on the Eastside—that it is repurposing as affordable housing. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, HHF is under way with plans for a newly-built, state-of-the-art affordable housing complex that will include micro-units.

“We’re deploying several different approaches to address the housing crisis— new construction, micro-units, renovation of existing structures—we’re looking at all possibilities,” added Weinstein. “Bottom line: we need innovative, workable solutions that are economical and fast. Communities can’t wait any longer; the situation is simply too dire.”

For more information on the Healthy Housing Foundation powered by AHF, please visit:  

[1] The purchase price for the Madison Hotel was $7,575,000, (the parking lot was $450K – total $8,025,000.00 less a repair credit of $25K and a donation of $50K to AHF – net price $7,950,000) or approximately $36K per room or unit.

[2] The purchase price for the 27-room Sunset 8 Motel was $4.6 million, or $170,370 per room or unit.

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