Alternate Living for the Aging (ALA) has received permission from the West Hollywood City Council to begin planning for a new five-story, 17-unit affordable housing project for senior citizens.
The new development would replace ALA’s current service center located at 937 N. Fairfax Ave. but they will keep an office for the center on the first floor.
“We will be able to directly assist seventeen new people who will be housed at the new building,” said Rachel Caraviello, spokesperson for ALA. “We will be able to maximize the asset of the land.”
Killefer Flammang Architects will design the new Janet L. Witkin House, named after the founder of ALA who passed away in 2009. The new housing will be more spacious and incorporate features such as lower counter heights and roll-in showers, which allow for wheelchair access.
“We are trying to make these new units as elderly-friendly as possible,” Caraviello said.
Funding for the project will come from grants from the City of West Hollywood and Los Angeles County. ALA will also look for assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) HOME Dollars program and from private fundraising.
The idea for the new Witkin House originated in October 2009. Currently, ALA has 150 affordable housing units for seniors located throughout the Beverly and Fairfax Districts, Santa Monica and West Hollywood, with rents ranging from $495 to $645 per month.
ALA offers single, one-bedroom apartments for residents over 62 years old and the new Witkin House will serve as housing for more of those residents.
ALA also offers cooperative living arrangements for people over 55 years of age. This allows people to stay in units with their own bedroom and bathroom, but they share common areas like the kitchen and living room.
The next step for the project will be to apply for a building and demolition permit to tear down the existing Witkin House and begin construction.
“It’s a package deal with West Hollywood,” said Lise Bornstein, spokesperson for Killefer Flammang Architects. “You have to apply for both of those at the same time.”
The firm plans to apply for the permits in February and begin construction in August.
“It’s a long process,” Bornstein said. “It could take four to five months to get approval.”
The city council must review the firm’s plans for the new building to determine if it fits in with the neighborhood and complies with current zoning laws.
The council will submit comments to Killefer Flammang on what, if anything, needs to be done to the design of the project. Once those needs are addressed, the plan will be re-submitted for permit approval. If the permit is granted, construction can begin on the new Witkin House, and it could be open by August 2013.