On January 30, LDC staff toured Factory OS, a new company specializing in the off-site construction of pre-fab modular homes. Co-owned by well-known developer Rick Holliday of Holliday Development and Larry Pace of Cannon Contractors, the company aims to speed up the production and reduce the costs of building both market rate and affordable multifamily housing. A recent San Francisco Chronicle article reported that Factory OS is already slated to produce more than 1,700 total units for five projects in the cities of Oakland, Emeryville, Mountain View, and Union City. The Mountain View project developed for Google owner Alphabet Inc. will produce an estimated 300 modular apartment units for Google employees. See more photos from the Factory OS tour.
The Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley recently launched a research project to understand how the cost of building affects development and what the public and private sector can do to reduce these costs to boost housing supply. So far, the series has examined the drivers of San Francisco’s housing costs, which include specific challenges related to lengthy and complex permitting and development processes, building codes and design requirements, workforce and procurement rules, and environmental regulations.
In late January, the Metro Board of Directors approved executing Exclusive Negotiation Agreements for the joint development of two properties. The first is with the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) for a 60-unit affordable housing complex for households earning 30 to 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) at the Mariachi Plaza Station site. The development will also include retail and dining space, a Mariachi Cultural Center, bicycle spaces, and a park and community garden. ELACC hopes the units will house some of the mariachis who are struggling to live in the area amid higher housing costs. The second project will also provide 60 units for households earning 30 to 50 percent AMI, as well as 25,000 square feet of retail/grocery space, a community park, and parking space. The project will be developed by Abode Communities at Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Fickett Street in Boyle Heights, according to the StreetsBlog.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has approved the “Twenty-Eight by ’28” Plan, which aims to promote and accelerate the development of key road, transit, and bicycle projects ahead of the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Projects include new bus rapid transit corridors, a river bike path and mobility hub in the San Fernando Valley, and the acceleration of the South Bay Light Rail Extension and the Gold Line Eastside Extension to Whittier or South El Monte.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) reported on January 25 that they anticipate a $13.2 million shortfall in annual funding for families experiencing homelessness, according to a January 26th report from Southern California Public Radio. Clients have been entering the system at five times the rate of the previous year, and LAHSA may need to consider whether to reallocate funding from other programs to address the increased need.
On January 18, the Metropolitan Transit System unanimously elected San Diego City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez to serve as its new chair. Gomez, a leading environmental justice advocate prior to her election to City Council, seeks to expand ridership by improving services and facilities and by providing free or discounted passes to youth. She will oversee the implementation of the Mid-City Centerline project, efforts to increase bus frequency, and a pilot program to test Zero Emission Buses.
San Diegans for Managed Growth announced January 22 that they are sponsoring a “Save Our San Diego Countryside” ballot initiative that would require county voters to approve large housing developments in unincorporated areas. The initiative’s backers argue that existing zoning guidelines provide adequate land for development, while developers and other argue that current laws allow for general plan amendments to adapt to the changing needs of the population and local communities. Opponents also expressed concerns that the process could impede efforts to expand the supply of housing in the region.