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HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan stops by Community Coalition offices

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. (25943)
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.

The Los Angeles Community Coalition this week hosted Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. In town to visit the new Metro Westlake/MacArthur Park subway station, he declared that “… it takes a village to build a village.” Donovan was referencing the new trend of public-private collaboration in building new developments nationwide.

“Our organization has for more than 20 years assisted residents in improving their quality of life from education, healthcare, public safety and foster care,” said Jung Hee Choi, Community Coalition director of communications.

Donovan was on hand to thank Metro, the city of Los Angeles, the state of California and the developers and nine financing partners for the completion and occupancy of 92 apartments, which are part of the transit-oriented site built to reduce traffic and increase Metro ridership. The development opened in May 2012 and is designated as affordable housing, particularly for commuters there because each resident received a free Metro pass when they moved in.

“We are celebrating this model that the rest of the country should be looking to,” Donovan continued. “Putting housing close to transit is part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan.”

Phase Two at the site will begin construction in December to include 84 additional apartments as well as retail and commercial space to enhance overall land use and economic development. Metro has owned the land for years, but with the new efforts to partner private and public entities, developers will build the addition at their own expense. Metro will then have ground lease and retail sales percentage revenue based on the fair market value of the property. In turn, these amounts are reportedly reinvested in eligible transportation projects throughout the county.

“These apartments will be affordable for not only the first family that moves in, but also for future generations as well,” Donovan said.

The Climate Action Plan is designed to cut carbon pollution by having domestic developers construct buildings that are more energy efficient, as well as directing the Environmental Protection Agency to work closely with states, industry and other stakeholders to establish carbon pollution standards for new power plants (such as those under construction in the Antelope Valley), and sets a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030.

Former 9th District Councilwoman Jan Perry, now the interim head of the city new Economic Development Department, attended the meeting.