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Sunday, Jul 14, 2024

Workforce Housing Being Created in Escondido

Two Escondido Apartment complexes have been purchased through the California Municipal Finance Agency with plans to turn them into workforce housing with reduced rents.

The complexes are Solana at Grand, 1501 E. Grand Ave., and Latitude 33, located at 515 Meander Glen.

Rents in the two complexes will be rolled back for existing tenants who meet income requirements and apartments will be rented at below market rates for newcomers.

The two projects are meant to provide housing to people with annual incomes ranging from 60% to 120% of the area median income, which in 2021 translates into a range of $72,720 to $114,100 for a family of four.

“A lot of people don’t have enough money to get into regular market rate housing. We’re trying to create an opportunity for people to work their way up,” said Ben Barker, a financial advisor to the California Municipal Finance Agency (CMFA).

No Tenants Displaced

Tenants already renting in the two complexes who don’t meet the income requirements or choose not to have their income verified for the program can stay and continue to pay market rate rents, Barker said.

“We won’t kick anybody out or displace anybody,” Barker said. “Nothing changes for them.”

HomeFed Corp. based in Carlsbad acquired Solana at Grand through a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) with the California Municipal Finance Authority and the City of Escondido.

Built in 1985 and recently renovated, Solana at Grand has 519 apartments in a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments in six buildings.

“Given where the property is, the vintage, and the residents who live there, we felt like a lot of the residents would qualify,” said Kevin Mulhern, a senior vice president of CBRE who brokered the deals.

“It’s really going to keep the rents affordable for the large majority of the residents,” Mulhern said.

‘Amazing Project’

Latitude 33 was acquired by Ascenda Capital based in Beverly Hills for $97 million under a similar arrangement.

“It’s an amazing project that we’re really proud of,” said Matt Avital, principal of Ascenda Capital based in Beverly Hills.

“We bought a property that was 100% full and was ripe for another buyer to come in and raise rents and we’re doing things in reverse. We’re going to lower rents for all these tenants pretty significantly,” Avital said.

Built in 2012, Latitude 33 has 19 buildings, including a five-story structure with 82 apartments, 16 three-story townhomes and one four-story townhome.

“These are like homes. They’re rentals, but it’s a real high quality of living,” Avital said.

The apartments and townhomes are a mix of one-bedroom to three-bedroom units ranging from 793 square feet to 1,180 square feet.

First Sale of its Kind


The sale of Latitude 33 and Solana closed within days of each other in early December, although the Solana deal came first and was the first of its kind in San Diego County followed quickly by the sale of Latitude.

Both mark the first for the financing arrangement with the California Municipal Finance Agency in San Diego County, although it has been used elsewhere in California, Mulhern said.


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