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Santa Barbara Housing Authority Touts Upgrades to Senior Residential Complex

Major renovations are completed for the Villa Santa Fe affordable units on Santa Fe Place off Cliff Drive on the Mesa

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, center, joins the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara on Friday in cutting the ribbon on 167 units of senior housing that was rehabilitated at Villa Santa Fe on the Mesa.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, center, joins the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara on Friday in cutting the ribbon on 167 units of senior housing that was rehabilitated at Villa Santa Fe on the Mesa.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

More than 160 units of affordable senior housing got a makeover over the past year, and local officials from the public and private sector gathered Friday afternoon to celebrate the completion of that project.

The Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara has been working on the $39.3 million project to rehabilitate the former SHIFCO senior housing development at 418 Santa Fe Place off Cliff Drive on the Mesa.

That complex of 107 units has been renamed Villa Santa Fe, and the project also included 60 units at Villa La Cumbre, which has also been renamed Villa Santa Fe II.

The move not only gave the complexes much-needed upgrades but also made changes to the ownership structure under low income housing tax credit provisions.

The Housing Authority kept the title to the land but sold the property to investors, who will get a tax credit for investing in affordable housing, according to Rob Pearson, executive director and CEO of the Housing Authority.

Union Bank stepped up to be the investors and buy the tax credits in the development, he said.

Housing Authority
The Housing Authority oversaw the $39.3 million project to rehabilitate the former SHIFCO senior housing development at 418 Santa Fe Place, renamed Villa Santa Fe. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Skip Szymanski, the Housing Authority's deputy executive director, gave Noozhawk a tour of two of the newly rehabbed units, which are about 500 square feet each. 

The units are income restricted and can house one or two people in each, and each unit has been newly painted and carpeted, new energy efficient appliances have been installed, and there are new windows, cabinets and other upgrades.

Most of the units were occupied at the time the work began, so tenants were moved out for about four weeks while their apartments were being upgraded.

Mayor Helene Schneider spoke at Friday's ribbon cutting, along with Union Bank Senior Vice President Johanna Gullick, who said the bank has always been a big advocate of supporting affordable housing tax credits and lending.

Pearson said that because of the work put in, "we now have senior units that should last us another 50 years." 

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




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