BERKELEY, CA-Related California has acquired 75 units in 15 public housing sites from the Berkeley Housing Authority. Through a partnership with the Authority, the company will renovate the units “to improve an important component of the City’s inventory of housing for large families.”

According to Related, the total development cost is just under $36 million. While a rendering of the improvements is not available at this time, learned that construction will begin in the last week of February with a target completion of December 2014.

Renovations will include complete interior renovations with new finishes, appliances and fixtures, plus heating and water systems and upgrades to building exteriors and landscaping. Originally consisting of three- and four-bedrooms units, the rehab includes conversion of some units to two-bedroom and an increase of handicap accessible units to seven, in order to allow more existing residents to remain on site.

For more than two years, Related California has worked closely with the Berkeley Housing Authority to structure the acquisition, refinance and plans for rehab of the units of public housing currently owned by the Authority. The project’s multiple sites located throughout the city demanded creative approaches to both construction and property management.

According to Carole Norris, chair of the Berkeley Housing Authority Commission, “this was a complicated transaction.” Norris points out that “I don’t believe any other company could have so adeptly achieved what Related has. We are thrilled the residents will soon be living in updated homes and that the results will assist the Housing Authority in being able to continue its important mission of serving Berkeley’s low and very low income residents.”

According to Lydia Tan, executive vice president of Related California, “This project will provide a huge improvement to many of Berkeley’s neighborhoods…With so many families on the waiting list for Section 8 housing, we are able to provide high quality housing options to those in need.”

Approved by HUD for disposition by the Housing Authority, the project financing plan includes the use of tax exempt bonds, low-income housing tax credits, local HOME funds, as well as a carry back loan from the Housing Authority.