The Orange Redevelopment Agency has been tremendously successful with its Rental Acquisition-Rehabilitation Program.Acquisition and rehabilitation have addressed a vital need in the community, are strongly supported by the impacted neighborhoods, and have resulted in the addition of more than 430 rental units to the City’s affordable housing inventory.
When implementing its Rental Acquisition-Rehabilitation Program, the Orange Redevelopment Agency focused on a few key neighborhoods, specifically North Prospect Street, the Adams/Highland/Wilson neighborhood, the El Modena neighborhood, and the West Orange neighborhood.These neighborhoods have the greatest concentration of substandard rental housing characterized by overcrowding, higher crime rates, and deteriorated infrastructure.
In providing financial assistance to affordable housing developers for acquisition and rehabilitation projects, the Agency’s primary funding source is the Agency’s Housing Set-Aside funds as well as the City’s federal HOME fund allocation.The Agency has also been able to leverage state Tax Credit Allocation funds and bond financing for certain rehabilitation projects.
In exchange for providing financial assistance for acquisition and rehabilitation projects, the Agency is able to secure long-term deed restrictions to ensure the apartment units remain available to low and moderate income households.
The following is a brief listing of some of the Agency's Acquistion/Rehabilitation projects. (For more information, please contact Mary Ellen Laster, Senior Housing Manager).
Esplanade Street Apartments
The Esplanade Apartment complex was dilapidated, poorly managed and a crime magnet that required frequent visits from the Orange Police Department. During FY 2001-2002, the Agency provided Housing Set-Aside funds to Orange Housing Development Corporation (OHDC) for this acquisition and rehabilitation project located on South Esplanade Street in the El Modena area. The complex consists of 27 two-bedroom units that were completely renovated. In addition, a new laundry room was built and a gated children’s play area was added. As a result of the work, the tenants now have a strong sense of pride in where they live and the complex is a jewel in the neighborhood. All 27 units will remain affordable to very low and low income families for 55 years.
Wilson Avenue Apartments
Over the last five years, the Agency has provided financial assistance to OHDC for the acquisition and rehabilitation of three 10-unit apartment buildings on East Wilson Avenue. This street, along with the nearby Adams and Highland streets consists of several hundred apartment units that for many years have been poorly maintained, overcrowded, and experienced a high degree of gang activity. As such, the Agency has focused its attention on making the neighborhood and its housing safe. Following acquisition of each building, OHDC completely renovated the units and significantly enhanced the exterior. Improvements included new flooring, paint, appliances, kitchen cabinetry, lighting and bathroom fixtures. The change has been dramatic. The apartment buildings are safe and clean; the City has added 30 units to its affordable housing inventory; and the adjacent property owners have started improvements on their own buildings.
Adams Avenue Triplexes In FY 1997-98 and again in FY 2001-02, the City provided funds to OHDC for the acquisition and rehabilitation of three apartment complexes located on East Adams Avenue. Each project consisted of the rehabilitation of one, one-bedroom unit and two, two-bedroom units that will remain affordable to very low, low and moderate income families for up to 55 years. Similar to the Wilson Avenue Apartment projects, the renovation of these triplexes has changed the streetscape as other property owners on the street have started to invest in improving their apartment buildings.
Villa Santiago/The Knolls
The Villa Santiago project is a benchmark in the City’s Rental Acquisition and Rehabilitation Program. Prior to the Agency and City partnering with Forest City Development, the Villa Santiago Apartments was a 255-unit deteriorated apartment complex that was unsafe, gang ridden and a burden to the surrounding neighborhood. In fact, much of the adjacent neighborhood shopping center was vacant, including the Albertson’s supermarket, due to the blighted conditions of the neighborhood. In 1995, the Agency committed $7.5 million in Housing Set-Aside funds and the City issued $13.5 million in tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds to enable Forest City Development to undertake the $27 million acquisition and rehabilitation of the apartments. Renamed The Knolls, today the apartment complex offers a safe living environment and amenities that include a youth sport court, tot lots, and swimming pools. In return for the Agency’s financial assistance, all of the units will remain affordable for a 55-year period to families whose incomes do not exceed 60 percent of the County’s median income. Stimulated by the renovations, the nearby supermarket decided to reopen and remodel its store and the shopping center has become fully leased again. In addition, there have been several new construction projects in the immediate neighborhood including the addition of market-rate homes, a senior townhome complex and a 15-acre regional park.
Originally built in 1960, the Citrus Village Apartments had been neglected and was in disrepair by the early 1990s. With financial assistance from the Agency, a housing developer (Calvert & Associates) acquired and rehabilitated the six-building, 47-unit apartment complex. Extensive improvements to both the interior and exterior of the buildings created a safe and attractive complex that includes 22-units that are restricted to low income households.
Adams Avenue Triplex I, II, and III
In FY 1997-98 and again in FY 2001-02, the City provided funds to OHDC for the acquisition and rehabilitation of apartment complexes located on the 1800 and 1900 blocks of East Adams Avenue. The three projects each consisted of the rehabilitation of one, one-bedroom unit and two, two-bedroom units that will remain affordable to low and very low income families for 55 years.
Lemon Street Apartments
During FY 2001-2002, the Agency provided Housing Set-Aside funds to OHDC for this acquisition/rehabilitation project located at 481-491 South Lemon Street. The project, completed in mid FY 2001-2002, consists of six, one-bedroom units that will remain affordable to lower income households for 55 years.
Rose Avenue Sixplex
With the Agency's and City's assistance, OHDC acquired and began rehabilitating a six-unit apartment complex on Rose Avenue. At initial occupancy, four of the units were occupied by very low income households, one unit was occupied by a low income household, and one unit was occupied by a moderate income household. As vacancies occur, OHDC has agreed to rent the units to very low income households at affordable rents. The affordability term is 55 years.