The city of Beverly Hills is moving forward on developing a request for proposals to create an affordable housing project on one of several city-owned properties – potentially to serve low-income seniors.
During its study session on March 15, the City Council advised staff to move forward on the RFP after the council’s Affordable Housing Ad Hoc Subcommittee, comprised of Councilmen Julian Gold and John Mirisch, reviewed multiple sites for the project.
“We had a conversation about the pros and cons of various properties in the city, and they each have advantages and disadvantages,” Gold said. “I think that we’re cutting to the chase. The idea was [that] somebody who develops these [properties] might have a different eye for why we might look at one or another.”
According to the staff report, the city has identified seven potential sites – four in the city’s Entertainment Business District, two in the southeast area of the city and one in the Business Triangle.
The entertainment business district sites are office buildings at 9268 W. Third St., 9298 W. Third St. and 336 Foothill Road, as well as the Alden Surface Parking Lot, which does not have a formal address.
The southeast locations are at 8421 Wilshire Blvd., which is currently a Metro staging yard, and a retail building at 327 S. Robertson Blvd. The Business Triangle location is a parking structure at 333 N. Crescent Drive.
“I think it’s a good plan,” Gold said. “Truthfully, what I would like them to evaluate is the livability piece of this.”
Beverly Hills Planning Commissioner Peter Ostroff stressed that the City Council should ensure that the affordable housing project is used to benefit residents of Beverly Hills.
“I am a big fan of some affordable housing, but, if we are going to spend city resources, in my opinion, we should be able to provide affordable housing that is essentially limited to [housing] Beverly Hills residents,” he said. “The laws here are very complicated in terms of what we can do what various federal, state and local requirements apply here. I think that … we should have a very clear understanding as to what we can do and cannot do for residents with city funds, including city resources like the buildings that we own.”
Mark Elliott, of the Beverly Hills Renters Alliance, requested that the project serve more than low-income seniors.
“I really encourage you to broaden the [proposal] beyond senior housing, which is how I interpreted the RFP,” he added.
Mirisch said he agreed with that sentiment, but the city needs “to start somewhere.”
“I think the most pressing need is so that our seniors can age in place,” he added.
The councilman referenced the Menorah Housing Foundation project that the city facilitated in the past that aimed to benefit Beverly Hills residents, but the city didn’t enforce some elements of the agreement.
“Our city dropped the ball on that,” Mirisch said. “That can’t happen again, but there are ways to get that done.”
Councilman Lester Friedman agreed.
“I think that our first look should be for seniors aging in place,” he said.
Vice Mayor Lili Bosse called for city staff to expedite the RFP process.
“I see the timeline for this RFP is three to four months,” she said. “I’m hoping we can get it done in three [maybe] even two. … I think we need to make sure that this gets done, and it gets done in this next year.”
Mayor Robert Wunderlich said he was pleased that the council made progress on the effort.
“I think the process that we’ve laid out in front of us is a good one,” he added.
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