Robert Khodadadian – Commercial Observer

Robert Khodadadian – Commercial Observer, Robert Khodadadian

In the aftermath of the 1992 Los Angeles uprising, parts of the city were decimated, including a 4.2-acre lot at the corner of South Vermont and West Manchester Avenues that sat vacant for three decades. 

Today, however, area residents have a lot to look forward to, as long-promised commercial development will be returning to the site, where 78 percent of residents are classified as low- to moderate-income. The location will be home to 176 affordable apartments, a retail space and a transit community center, and will be situated next to the SEED School of Los Angeles County (SEED LA), a public college-preparatory boarding school.

The project, called Evermont, was envisioned and structured by BRIDGE Housing, Coalition for Responsible Community Development, and Primestor, working closely with the community over many years. 

It required strategizing among several outside entities, but also within three separate divisions of JPMorgan Chase: Community Development Real Estate (CDRE), Tax Oriented Investments, and New Market Tax Credits (NMTC).

Cécile Chalifour

“BRIDGE Housing called us, and we were able to bring the full strength and expertise of the firm to make this community development project happen,” said Cécile Chalifour, managing director, head of the West region, Community Development Banking for JPMorgan Chase.

Evermont broke ground in Spring 2022 and was made possible thanks in part to a series of investments and loans from JPMorgan Chase. The firm provided:

– $92 million in construction financing for two affordable housing developments. 
– $64 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity for the housing projects.
– $11.5 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) equity for the construction of retail and workforce development space at Evermont.
– $20.5 million in NMTC equity for SEED LA, a school facility adjacent to Evermont and a part of the overall Transit Priority Joint Development project.
– $15 million senior direct loan for SEED LA.
En Jung Kim

“This is a catalytic development for the community,” said En Jung Kim, managing director of the New Markets Tax Credit division for JPMorgan Chase. “Our investment is bringing a public boarding school and a transit-oriented mixed-use development with retail and job training services — including grocery and other essentials — to South Los Angeles.” 

Evermont will consist of a condo development with two housing projects, and a commercial component with community-serving retail, a new job training and innovation center, a public plaza and a transit hub. The housing projects will provide a total of 176 units including 118 units of affordable housing for residents at 30 to 60 percent of the area median income, along with four units for staff. Vista@Evermont contains 60 permanent supportive housing units reserved for seniors experiencing homelessness, and/or mental illness, while Luminus@Evermont includes the remaining 116 units reserved for low-income families, homeless households and/or transition-aged youth, which covers ages 18 to 24. 

The housing component is technically two projects in terms of the financing structure. The complexity of securing tax-exempt bonds and credits at the same time for both housing projects and closing concurrently those and the NMTC component led to JPMorgan Chase’s involvement. The project’s nonprofit affordable housing developer, BRIDGE Housing, originally received a bond allocation on only one of the projects. They needed to collaborate with someone who was willing to be creative if the timing of securing all funds got challenging, so they could get going immediately with the process, months in advance of the deadlines. 

Chalifour notes that due to the project’s various aspects, this was one of the more complex housing projects the team has worked on. “To coordinate those three projects — and be able to close on time — is not for the faint of heart,” she said.

“No division could push the others to invest — it was a separate decision for each side of the business,” Chalifour said. “However, the complexity of the deal and the timeline meant that our CDRE team had to keep people up to date on what was happening on the ground, and navigate some of the most complex questions.”

JPMorgan Chase is especially proud of its involvement in the SEED LA school development, as it brings opportunities to the whole community. If there’s a need for a lottery, there will be preferences for students who are unhoused or housing insecure, have an immediate family member incarcerated, or have been involved with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services in either foster or kinship care. The school will operate at a temporary location before opening at Evermont in July 2023.

“SEED LA is a 24-hour, five-day-a-week learning environment, in partnership with the County of Los Angeles and L.A. Metro, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Kim. “Students will also receive social and emotional learning and college and career readiness training.” SEED LA aims to serve 400 students in grades 9 through 12.

The project is a good example of the work coming out of JPMorgan Chase’s $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity.

“We’re committed to affordable housing and have been for a long time. We expanded that commitment to go even deeper as a key component of our Racial Equity Commitment,” Chalifour said. 

“There have been many broken promises regarding this site to the community over the years. These projects have to happen because the community and all the proud residents of the neighborhood deserve it. In working with the developers and other financial partners, we’re making it happen.”

In the aftermath of the 1992 Los Angeles uprising, parts of the city were decimated, including a 4.2-acre lot at the corner of South Vermont and West Manchester Avenues that sat vacant for three decades.  Today, however, area residents have a lot to look forward to, as long-promised commercial development will be returning to theRead MoreChannel, BRIDGE Housing, Cécile Chalifour, Community Development, En Jung Kim, Evermont, Future Of Affordable Housing brought to you by JPMorgan Chase, JPMorgan Chase, Primestor

Robert Khodadadian, skyline properties, ground leases

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