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Lottery Opens for Affordable Condos in Santa Barbara’s Former Chapala One Complex

The city is accepting applications for seven below-market-rate units in the Sevilla development on Chapala Street

You don't have to be a millionaire to own a luxury home in Santa Barbara.

In fact, the less you earn, the better — as long as it is more than $36,842, you have a credit score of at least 620 and you don't own any other property.

Well, it's not that easy. You'll also need a lot of luck.

The City of Santa Barbara on Thursday opened up the lottery application process for seven below-market-rate homes at Sevilla, in the 400 block of Chapala Street.

"It's an appealing opportunity for an entry-level homebuyer who is looking to have homeownership in Santa Barbara," said Melissa Bonillo, a city housing programs specialist. "It gives them that opportunity at an affordable price."

The lottery is the latest chapter in the saga of the Sevilla, formerly known as Chapala One.

The 46-unit development was built in 2008, but the units were never sold as the previous owner, Don Hughes, and the building contractor, Melchiori Construction, engaged in a lengthy and public battle over construction and president Mark Melchiori's allegations that his company was owed $5.8 million.

Although the two are still tangled in court, the Chapala One development was purchased by Los Angeles developer Michael Rosenfeld of Woodridge Capital Partners LLC, and renamed and rebranded as Sevilla.

The homes finally went up for sale in October of last year.

Realtor Michael Calcagno of Sotheby's International Realty said the project is doing well and that people have already purchased multiple penthouses.

"We have sold and/or are in escrow on roughly 50 percent of the building," Calcagno said. "It's been phenomenal. The spaces we offered down there are like nothing else. They are luxury. They are really large. High ceilings. It's a great location."

Although investors are allowed to purchase the market-rate condos and then lease them out, Calcagno said that "all but one of the buyers" live in the development full-time.

The below-market rate condos must be occupied by full-time residents. Here's a breakdown of the types of below-market rate homes that will be available through the lottery:

» Five 450 net-square-foot studio units will be priced at $167,100, with monthly Homeowner Association dues of $546

» Four 682-732 net-square-foot, one-bedroom units will be priced at $219,400, with monthly Homeowner Association dues of $562

» One 1,036 square-foot, two-bedroom unit priced at $271,800, with monthly Homeowner Association dues of $583

» One 1,277 square-foot, three-bedroom unit priced at $324,200, with monthly Homeowner Association dues of $598

Minimum income amounts range from $36,842 to $77,901 depending on the size of the down payment and the size of the unit. 

Here's a snapshot of the most you could earn if you want a shot at affordable paradise:

» One-person household: $81,536

» Two-person household: $93,184

» Three-person household: $104,832

» Four-person household: $116,480

» Five-person household: $125,798

If you are lucky enough to score one of the units, don't look to sell them for a profit. The price of the condominiums is restricted for 60 years, and the City of Santa Barbara has the first right of refusal to buy the units an owner sells.  

Applicants also cannot own any other property and must live full-time in the below-market rate units they purchase. They also must make at least a 5 percent down payment, but no larger than 40 percent.

Although Sevilla contains 11 below-market rate units, four are already taken by people who won the homes in a lottery under the original Chapala One incarnation of the project. Seven of those 11 past applicants are no longer qualified, which opens the door for the current seven spots. At that time, 166 people applied for the condos.

Bonillo expects even greater interest in the Sevilla lottery than the 76 people who applied for the Alma Del Pueblo condos next to the Santa Barbara Public Market.

Calcango is optimistic the entire development will be sold out soon.

"I would love to see it by the end of the year, if things keep going the way they are," he said.

For a full list of eligibility requirements, click here. To download an application, click here.

Lottery applications must be hand-delivered to the Sevilla sales office at 401 Chapala St., Unit 106 by 4 p.m. Sept. 7. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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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