Ground broken on first affordable housing here in more than a decade

The first affordable housing complex in Palm Springs in more than 12 years is moving forward.

The Monarch Apartment Homes, a 60-unit affordable housing community located in Palm Springs, CA, officially broke ground on October 28. Under development by the Community Housing Opportunities Corporation (CHOC), an organization dedicated to expanding affordable housing, the complex serves as an excellent example of how the affordable housing challenge can be solved in cities throughout the state. The CHOC Monarch Apartment Homes is expected to be completed in 2023. 

“It has been stated that housing is a human right,” said Manuela Silva, CEO of CHOC. “Affordable housing allows residents to live in cities that they would not otherwise have been able to afford. As a result, residents have better school choices.”

Dignitaries present at the groundbreaking included California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Palm Springs Mayor Christy Holstege, City Councilmembers Lisa Middleton and Dennis Woods, Lift to Rise CEO Heather Vaikona, 4th District Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, and CHOC CEO Manuela Silva. Heather Vaikona was the event’s master of ceremonies.

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“Governor Gavin Newsom has allocated $500 million of state low-income housing tax credits over the last three fiscal years. That is significant in making projects like this,” said California State Treasurer Fiona Ma. “It also has made our bonds competitive because the state tax credits need to be combined with the bonds.”

In partnership with the city under a Disposition Development Agreement (DDA), CHOC will develop the land with rental apartments consisting of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The project is financed by California Municipal Finance Authority (CMFA), the City of Palm Springs, the County of Riverside, Flagstar Bank, the California Community Reinvestment Corporation (CCRC), California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTAC), and California Debt Limit Allocation Committee (CDLAC). 

“The full City Council has unanimously supported this project and our partnership with CHOC includes donating this beautiful and valuable piece of land we are standing on today to the developer appraised at $840,000 contributing an additional $1.8 million of city funds to get this project done,” said Palm Springs Mayor Christy Holstege. “We covered $250,000 in permit fees so the total contribution of nearly $3 million to cover the gap to support CHOC to get this done.”

“Like many of our cities, the area is heavily reliant on hardworking, low-income workers that are the backbone of many industries here, yet they often have to choose between paying for housing versus other necessities such as childcare, food, and healthcare,” added Silva.

“This is the first new affordable housing property in 12 years and there is more to come. I am proud of Riverside County, the City of Palm Springs, the mayor and our council members,” said Supervisor Perez.

The $31 million complex includes sloping rooftops that mimic the monarch butterfly, and natural desert plants to blend in with the surrounding communities. The development sits on a 3.62-acre vacant parcel of land owned by the City of Palm Springs Successor Redevelopment Agency. The property is located at the Southeast corner of North Indian Canyon and San Rafael Drive. In partnership with the city under a Disposition Development Agreement (DDA), CHOC will develop the land with rental apartments consisting of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. All units will have balconies or patios with a community building for a computer classroom, a rental office, and a community lounge that can be used for group functions. Amenities include a dog park, a Monarch Park splash pad – which is a water feature with a deck area that is integrated into the main open space adjacent to a children’s play area as well as two BBQ areas.

Designed under the direction of Maria Song, principal with the Palm Springs-based architectural firm Interactive Design Corporation, (IDC) and HKIT Architects, the complex will blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, which is known for its mid-Century modern design influence. The property will be constructed by davisREED Construction, Inc., whose breadth of national experience ranges from five-star resorts to public works and other hotels including the Kimpton Rowan in Palm Springs, which was named among the Condé Nast Best New Hotels List. 

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