An affordable housing developer, based in San Bernardino County, has finished renovating the first half of a $95 million San Marcos complex that brackets Marcos Street.
Renovated by National Community Renaissance (CORE) in the Richmar neighborhood of San Marcos, the three-story Villa Serena at 340 Marcos St. will ultimately have 148 apartments in two buildings.
The project will replace 136 apartments that were in a deteriorating 1970’s-era apartment complex known as Lido Imperial on the same site. It will include a 24,400-square-foot parking garage.
The first $44.6 million phase of Villa Serena opened in April. Construction of the second phase of Villa Serena with 63 apartments is expected to start early next year at an estimated cost of $50.4 million, said John Seymour, vice president of acquisition and forward planning for National CORE
“Villa Serena’s transformation represents more than 20 years of planning and preparing,” said Michael Ruane, president of National CORE, adding that National CORE acquired the property in 1997.
The first phase of Villa Serena has 85 one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments earmarked for people with annual incomes of 60% or less of the area median income – $62,460 for a two-person household and $70,260 for a household of four.
Eight of the apartments were set aside for young adults aging out of foster care.
Seymour said that National CORE made a point of including many three-bedroom apartments in the project in response to community demand.
“This neighborhood is families,” Seymour said, and the apartment complex that Villa Serena replaces had only one three-bedroom apartment out of 136. “That was one of the driving forces.”
When both sections of Villa Serena are completed, it will have 45 three-bedroom apartments, 71 two-bedroom apartments 30 one-bedroom apartments, and two manager’s apartments, according to National CORE’s website.
Depending on income, Seymour said that monthly rents will range from $614 to $1,264 for one-bedroom apartments, $738 to $1,518 for two-bedroom apartments, and $836 to $1,737 for three-bedroom apartments.
Amenities include a 1,933-square-foot community center, a community kitchen, a computer lab, a laundry and outdoor play areas.
Villa Serena was designed to achieve LEED gold certification for its sustainable and energy conservation measures.
Social services will be provided to tenants by the Hope through Housing Foundation.
Partnering with National CORE on Villa Serena were the City of San Marcos, San Diego County, Wells Fargo Bank, and California Community Reinvestment.
National CORE has also arranged with the Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos to give residents access to neighborhood after-school programs at a 6,000-square-foot clubhouse within walking distance of the apartments.
Seymour said that more than 2,000 people applied to rent apartments in Villa Serena.
“That’s normal. It just shows you what’s happening,” Seymour said. “In Encanto Village down in San Diego, we still have dozens of people calling on a daily basis. All we can tell them is submit an application online and we’ll call. It’s ongoing.”
Completed in 2020, the $24.7 million Encanto Village in San Diego’s Encanto neighborhood has 65 apartments earmarked for households with annual incomes of 30% to 60% of the area median income.
Seymour said it “could be years” for someone on the waiting list to get an apartment. “It’s discouraging, but it’s nothing new,” he added.
“When we receive an application from someone that’s eligible, we’ll canvas the other property managers in the area, but they usually have their waiting lists as well.”
National Community Renaissance (CORE)
CEO: Jeffrey Burum
Headquarters: Rancho Cucamonga
Business: Affordable housing developer
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 909-483-2444
Notable: National CORE owns and manages more than10,000 affordable apartments, serving more than 27,000 people.