Housing News Roundup: April 21, 2015 | How Housing Matters

Housing News Roundup: April 21, 2015

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Los Angeles Plugs Small Parks into Underserved Neighborhoods

The city’s 50 Parks Initiative is more than halfway to its goal of adding small parks to underserved communities. The aim is to enable people to “actually walk from their home to a park without having to cross a freeway or a major street,” says Darryl Ford, the project’s director. Partners are paying most of the per-park $500,000 cost. A recent study by the University of Southern California found that property values are going up in areas adjacent to the new parks, many of which have exercise equipment, picnic benches and playgrounds.

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Source: Next City

George Lucas’ Next Big Thing: Affordable Housing on his California Property

The moviemaker of American Graffiti and Star Wars fame wants to use his property in posh Marin County for 224 units of affordable housing. If approved by the county, the project would include workforce and senior housing, as well as a pool and community center. The units could be ready for move-in by 2019. “We’ve got enough millionaires here. What we need is some houses for regular working people,” Lucas said through his lawyer, Gary Giacomini.

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Source: Washington Post

NYC Luxury Building Gets 88,000 Applications for 55 Low-Income Units

Low-income renters in a luxury Manhattan condo building won’t get to use the same entrance as the owners of the site’s multimillion-dollar condos, but that hasn’t stopped a rush of 88,000 applications for just 55 available units. A non-profit housing advocacy group will screen tenants, whose rents will range from $833 for a studio to $1,082 for a two-bedroom apartment. Condo prices are as high as $25 million. Affordable-housing advocates are divided on the issue of separate entrances.

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Source: New York Times

San Francisco Adds More Housing Than Ever, Yet …

Even though more housing was created last year in San Francisco than ever, prices keep climbing, putting homes out of reach for many local workers. The median sales price in the city is just over $1 million, more than double the state average; rents jumped 40% last year from $3,300 to $4,580 for a two-bedroom apartment. An editorial on the San Francisco Chronicle calls for fresh ideas to ease the growing pain.

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Source: San Francisco Chronicle

The Difficulty of Transforming Old Churches into New Housing

Developers who hope to turn abandoned churches into new housing can face challenges from communities that are attached to the buildings and uneasy with places of worship being retrofitted into condominiums. “Anybody who goes into a neighborhood and buys a church, without having some knowledge and sensitivity, they’re asking for trouble,” said Boston developer Bruce Daniel, who originally planned on knocking down St. Augustine’s Church, but who has now changed plans. Mike Binette, a principal at The Architectural Team, said it’s more common to fully replace old churches in the suburbs, where the costs are far less. “It’s mostly in the highest-priced ZIP codes where you can afford it.”

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Source: Boston Globe

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