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Irvine complex has 4,000 on waiting list

July 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
In this tough economy, many rental units have sat empty. And vacancy rates have almost doubled in some major cities since just last year. So why have thousands of families put themselves on a waiting list to live in a new apartment complex in Irvine? A 71 unit apartment complex in the heart of one of the industrial areas of Irvine isn't having difficulty renting its units -- and that's by design. The complex is in one of the most desirable and safest cities in Orange County and it's affordable.

"The environment that we lived in wasn't really safe. It's wasn't a good environment, there were gangs and I just didn't feel safe. You know, when you have boys, especially teenagers, you want them to grow up in a good environment and being in Irvine, it's what we always wanted," said resident Claudia Montoya.

The monthly rent ranges from $532 to $1300 and that all depends on the size of the family and income. Felicia Kong says the complex has greatly improved the quality of life for her entire family.

"The place is safe and clean. There are parks everywhere. We home school so we're outside a lot at the parks. There are parks everywhere, they're clean and the quality of people has improved," said Kong.

Financial experts will tell you it is tough to get a real estate project financed, unless of course it's for a nonprofit organization.

"Financing is challenging for some of our market rate builders. The affordable housing financing is still available. So we were able to put together several layers of financing including support from Union Bank, MMA Financial, the city of Irvine, the County and the State of California to make this project work," said Laura Archuleta from Jamboree Housing Corp.

The cost to build Granite Court was just over $32 million and there are 4,000 names on the waiting list.

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