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Housing Commission Creates New Affordable Housing

The San Diego Housing Commission announced Thursday it has created 720 affordable housing units by leveraging the equity on its real estate holdings.

Using a plan approved last year by the commission's board of directors and mayor Jerry Sanders, $95 million was raised by taking out low-interest Fannie Mae and Federal Housing Administration mortgages on nearly 1,400 housing units granted to the agency by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2007.

The commission will own 60 percent of the properties outright, with the remaining 40 percent stake shared by developers. The arrangement is expected to help the commission keep a positive ratio of income to debt service.

"We have entered a new era in how affordable housing is generated in San Diego," said Richard Gentry, the agency's president and chief executive officer. "It is a model other housing authorities can follow."

The announcement was made at a news conference at the Arbor Village Apartments, which has 111 units and space for a manager on Logan Avenue in Lincoln Park. The commission had the complex renovated to include a children's play area, a community center with a computer lab, perimeter fencing and other improvements.

Several other properties were involved in the transactions, including a new condominium project that fell into foreclosure and the Sandford Hotel on Fifth Avenue downtown, which provides 129 units for seniors.

The largest complex was the Mariner's Village Apartments, with 171 units on Potomac Street in Paradise Hills.

All the units are required to remain affordable for the next 55 years.

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