Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Livable Places Dead!

I had heard that Livable Places - one of the few affordable housing developers that tried to have a sustainable financial business plan which did not depend on endless subsidies was in trouble - and I knew that something big was about to be announced - but I was still shocked to see in Curbed LA that they have just closed their doors.

Below is the opening of the letter announcing the closure from Joe Linton; the rest can be found at the Curbed LA link above.

Colleagues -

It is with great sadness that I am writing to let you know that Livable Places is closing. Seven years ago, our board of directors set ambitious goals for a new nonprofit organization to advocate for land use policy reform, and to develop affordable housing that demonstrated the feasibility of smart growth. Since then, Livable Places has worked on multiple policy issues and initiated two developments offering 160 homes and leveraging $60 million as we strived to build for-sale housing affordable to working people with minimal subsidy.

We began construction as speculation and frenzied demand drove up construction costs, and we started marketing homes as the turmoil in financial and real estate markets began. The credit crisis raised the requirements for buyers that we targeted, and the glut of higher priced housing lowered demand for new homes overall. The impact on the Southern California economy has been dire, and for Livable Places, the economic downturn has proved fatal.

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