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Saturday, Mar 2, 2024

Breaking Ground: Alliant Strategic Development Works on Four SFV Apartments

Alliant Strategic Development is poised to break ground on four multifamily projects in the San Fernando Valley.

The Calabasas-based firm specializes in creating attainable housing, also known as workforce housing, targeting people making 80% of the average median income of the area, which with a $61,000 average median income comes out to $48,800. The company will be holding a groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 8 at 7019 Canoga Ave. in Canoga Park — the site of one of the four projects. State Treasurer Fiona Ma, City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and a field deputy for Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass are among the officials scheduled to attend.

The five-story building at 7019 Canoga Ave. will have 220 units. Rents will range in the low $2,000s for a studio and $2,100 for a one bedroom apartment.

“That’s very affordable for brand new product,” Alliant Strategic Development co-founder Eddie Lorin said. “And this is across the street from the bus depot on the Orange line.”

Additionally, Alliant is starting construction on a five-story, 149-unit apartment complex dubbed Topanga, located at 7322 Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Canoga Park; the six-story, 332-unit Van Nuys Vose at 7050 Van Nuys Blvd. in Van Nuys; and a five-story, 26-unit North Hollywood building at 5633 Farmdale Ave.

All four projects have an estimated completion date of late next year or 2025. Alliant plans to be a long-term holder of the assets.

Exciting projects ahead

“We’re excited about all the new stuff going on with (Stan) Kroenke’s investment,” Lorin said, alluding to last year’s $650 million in acquisitions by the Los Angeles Rams owner of contiguous Woodland Hills commercial properties not far from Canoga Park.

Lorin is equally excited about his company’s Van Nuys Vose investment.

“We bought (an) old crappy industrial and retail (property) and knocked it down,” Lorin said. “There’s going to be a trolley going all the way up Van Nuys Boulevard by the time the Olympics show up (in 2028) so that’s really cool.”

Transit oriented development, he said, is important to the company in its pursuit of creating attainable housing.

“We like to get (a) bonus density,” Lorin said. “We like to get height exceptions. Parking is very expensive to go underground so we try to not go underground. We try to do less parking, smaller units but make it affordable to more people with all of the same amenities as A-class apartments.”

New firm

Leaders: Juan Aguilar, Chief Investment Officer, and Eddie Lorin, Chief Executive Officer, with a mock-up of the company’s Canoga property. (Photo by Thomas Wasper)

All of this development comes from a firm that is only three years old.

“We’re an offshoot of Alliant Capital, which was sold to Walker & Dunlop,” Lorin said. “(Alliant founder and Chief Executive Officer) Shawn Horwitz and I developed the partnership to develop attainable and affordable housing. We’re trying to use all of our expertise to make smart, pointed projects that will alleviate some of the crisis of the housing that we’re experiencing today.”

The Alliant projects join a crowded field of apartment buildings under construction, especially at Warner Center (Woodland Hills and Canoga Park) where the Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan has encouraged scores of developments including California Home Builders’ five Q buildings, which total a collective 1,438 units; Kaplan Cos.’ 852 apartments and 204-key hotel at the former Fry’s Electronics site on 6100 N. Canoga Ave.; and AMCAL Multi Housing Co.’s Clarendon Woodland Hills, a 335-unit apartment complex replacing a former post office site.

Van Nuys has also seen its share of building including 160 units at 6500 N. Sepulveda Blvd. built by IMT Capital; Ketter Construction’s 174-unit Van Nuys Plaza; and dozens more.

Lorin came to Alliant with a lot of experience — having developed 40,000 value-add units nationwide at various companies over the past 20 years. At Alliant, the goal is to generate affordable housing.

“We’ve got a total of 727 units (for the four projects) with 20% of those being affordable,” Lorin said. “That’s 140-150 units. Most (Low Income Housing Tax Credit) projects are only 50-60 units. So we’re supplying as much as deep affordability as three (Low Income Housing Tax Credit) deals and we’re providing the remainder of almost 600 attainable units. All in one swoop. So it’s pretty exciting.”

Right properties

Juan Aguilar serves as the chief investment officer at Alliant Strategic Development.

“My specific role is to scour the capital markets on finding ways to creatively structure and finance these assets,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar explained how the financing works.

“We got to do a tax-exempt bond financing for these four properties,” Aguilar said. “We as a company will contribute roughly 20% worth of equity. The rest will be financed with these tax-exempt bond financing proceeds.”

Acquiring the four properties where construction will begin next month took some work.

“We had to procure the acquisitions from four separate owners, some of whom have had various challenges, whether it’s an environmental challenge or entitlement challenge,” Aguilar said. “These projects have taken about a year and a half collectively to perfect the entitlements that would allow the groundbreaking to happen.”

The locations of the properties also created some challenges for Alliant.

“The four properties spanned three different City Council districts,” Aguilar said, “so we had to work overtime in getting all of council district offices on board with our vision of the properties.”

Alliant also had to ensure that it was delivering to each district office what they needed.

“Since we were delivering about 20% affordable components, everybody was in concert that this was right for the district and we were providing the public benefit each required,” Aguilar said.

Ultimately, according to Aguilar, the projects will be a win-win for their respective districts.

“About two-thirds of our business will be affordable and attainable housing and about a third of our business will be (low-income tax-credit housing, which is more involved,” Aguilar said. “We try to span the spectrum and find solutions along the way that will allow us to deliver to Los Angeles and California the most affordable housing that we can deliver and that (entails) turning over every stone and looking through every program that’s available in order to maximize that effort.”

According to Lorin, these four projects will be just the beginning for Alliant.

“Our plan is to build between 5,000 and 10,000 units in the next five years because it’s the right thing and it’s the right time,” Lorin said.

Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk is Interim Editor at the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Inside The Valley. She previously covered real estate for the Los Angeles Business Journal. She has done work with publications including The Orange County Register, The Real Deal and doityourself.com.

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