Foundation for Affordable Housing and BLDG Partners Announce Acquisition of The Knolls Apartments
Deal Preserves Affordable Housing, Creates After-School and Community Amenities for Residents
ORANGE, CA–The Foundation for Affordable Housing (“FFAH”) and BLDG Partners LLC (“BLDG”) are pleased to announce their acquisition of The Knolls Apartments, a 260-unit affordable community in Orange, California. The Knolls apartment community is for residents earning less than 60% of Area Median Income. Financing was provided by Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac.
The City of Orange has extended ‘in-place second mortgage financing’ for the transaction, in consideration of an extension of the community’s affordability period and a grant of land to implement traffic safety improvements at Grijalva Park, which abuts The Knolls.
Bringing Parks and Family Programming to Orange
New youth and family programming will be brought to the community as part of the transition. These programs will be developed under the guidance of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, the public space advisors best known for the transformation of Bryant Park in New York City.
The new programs at The Knolls will be operated by Embrace, FFAH’s non-profit social service affiliate, which is spearheaded by Amy Curtis. Rodrigo Rodarte, program manager for Biederman, stated that the new programs “will contribute to the health and long-term satisfaction of residents at The Knolls, and will build on the decades of work and investment that The City of Orange has made next door at Grijalva Park.”
Programming is the key to lively and safe public parks, which can serve as catalysts for economic development in our communities. In addition to preserving affordable housing for hundreds of families, the transaction will result in the creation of resident-focused programming amenities including mini-libraries, a dedicated space for after-school programs, and new gathering spaces for residents, which will be welcome additions to the community once safer-at-home orders are lifted.
Jason Acosta, who worked on the project alongside FFAH’s Transaction team said, “FFAH is honored to work in partnership with BLDG and The City of Orange to assist with preserving the supply of affordable housing in Orange County. This was a complex transaction, and we successfully worked in collaboration to bring this one across the finish line. With social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders in place for many communities throughout the country, access to safe and affordable housing is more important than ever. As we look for ways to limit the spread of the Covid-19 and reduce risks, improving access to housing needs to continue to be part of that solution.”
Guy Penini, who led the transaction for BLDG, stated that “elected officials from The City of Orange universally recognized the vital importance of quality workforce housing, and were keenly focused on extending the affordability period for the community. City staff worked collaboratively with FFAH and BLDG to get the transaction completed efficiently.”
With their extensive knowledge and involvement in the development of Grijalva Park and the transformation of the once-blighted blighted property, the Mayor, City Council and city staff worked as strong advocates for the preservation of affordable housing in the City of Orange.
FFAH will be celebrating more than 30 years in service in 2021. With offices in Bend, Oregon and Laguna Beach, California, FFAH is a non-profit that develops, owns, and preserves affordable housing throughout the country.
BLDG Partners LLC is a privately held real estate investment firm that develops infill projects in Southern California and works to preserve workforce and affordable housing in markets across the country. With experience throughout the real estate investment and finance value chain, the firm manages a portfolio of assets across eight states. Partnering with leading domestic and international investors, BLDG pursues residential projects that seek to solve our workforce housing needs, generate attractive risk-adjusted returns, and respect the dignity of our residents. BLDG is headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA and operates a regional office in Seattle, WA.