Long Beach is applying for a $50 million loan from the state that could help fund an affordable housing project near St. Mary Medical Center along with a variety of street and pedestrian improvements near Downtown.

The City Council voted to approve the application Tuesday night. The funding would go toward a project by AMCAL Multi-Housing Inc. that would build 100 units of affordable housing at the site of the First Lutheran School at the corner of 10th Street and Linden Avenue.

AMCAL is looking to develop a $71.2 million project that would include a variety of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, all of which would be reserved for low-income households once the project opens. AMCAL also developed the 102-unit Las Ventanas affordable housing project at Pacific Coast Highway and Long Beach Boulevard.

The largest share of the project would be dedicated to one-bedroom units (38), with 30 two-bedroom units and 31 three-bedroom units making up the mix of the four-story building proposed to replace the Lutheran school, which would be demolished if the project moves forward.

Windows at the First Lutheran School building at the 900 block of Linden Ave. in Long Beach Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Most of the units would be set aside for low-income households, which federal guidelines define as $95,300 for a family of four in Los Angeles County. Eleven units each will be distributed to very low-income ($59,550 for a family of four) and extremely low-income households ($35,750 for a family of four). One unit will be reserved for an on-site manager.

While the city is applying for the funds, it won’t be liable for paying them back if the project is not completed. AMCAL has agreed to indemnify the city.

Development Services Director Christopher Koontz said that he was confident if the application is successful that the project would move forward, calling it an important development that would improve the lives of the people who get to live in it.

“We don’t have a lot of projects with large family units, and these are really critical units to stabilizing people’s lives and being able to concentrate on raising their families and raising their kids, and their health, instead of worrying how they’re going to pay their rent,” Koontz said.

Long Beach is requesting funding from the state’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program, which helps finance projects that help lower greenhouse gas emissions and benefit disadvantaged communities.

The loan would be broken up into two pools if the city is awarded the funds. About $35 million would go to AMCAL for the construction of the project, while $15 million would go to the city in the form of a grant for improvements to sidewalks, curb improvements to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards and improve bus stops along Atlantic Avenue.

The funds could also help the city complete a long-planned bike route along Pacific Avenue that would run from Ocean Boulevard to Pacific Coast Highway, in addition to helping Long Beach Transit buy three new fully electric buses.

Long Beach has already awarded a $5 million loan to AMCAL and waived over $550,000 in development fees to help the project get built. AMCAL would still have to find about $31 million in funding, but the city said that construction could begin as soon as December 2024 if the loan is approved.


Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at jason@lbpost.com or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.