USA Properties Fund Inc. Opens One of the Most Environmentally Friendly Multifamily Projects in California

USA Properties Fund Inc. has completed Vintage Aliso, a much-needed affordable senior community in Aliso Viejo in southern Orange County.

The 202-apartment community offers affordable housing for seniors – about half the rent of nearby market-rate units – and numerous amenities, including a community center, a pool and spa, and a fitness center.

And residents can brag about living in an award-winning apartment community that earned the second-highest “Build It Green” score for new multifamily projects in California – and save money on their utility bills. Vintage Aliso received a Platinum certification with 207 points, a level only a handful of apartment communities have obtained in the state.

Vintage Aliso also earned the SAGE Award for Best 55+ Affordable Rental Community by the Building Industry Association of Southern California on Oct. 19. The annual award honors the innovative professionals, projects and programs that have contributed to the enhancement of life for California residents 55 years and older.

“It takes so many people to bring together a community like this,” USA Properties Fund President Geoff Brown said during the recent grand opening of Vintage Aliso. “We are so pleased to be here in this lovely community.”

Vintage Aliso, located at 2C Liberty near the corner of Aliso Viejo Parkway, offers an affordable housing option for low-income seniors, especially for those on a fixed income.

The apartment community is “important to the city and the residents that it serves,” said Aliso Viejo Mayor Dave Harrington. “It’s a beautiful, and we’re very proud to have this in our city. It turned our better than I could imagine.”

USA Properties worked closely with the city on Vintage Aliso. The four-level apartment community offers affordable apartments with modern features – including some with easy access showers – and two large courtyards.

“It’s a tremendous project – the architecture, the livability,” said Mark Kiner, Principal of Bassenian Lagoni, the Newport Beach-based architecture firm that designed Vintage Aliso. “It gives you a different feel than any other project. We were able to hit a market niche: affordability and higher-density living.”

USA Properties Fund partnered with Foundation for Affordable Housing, a Laguna Beach-based nonprofit organization, Citi Community Capital, Boston Financial and Century Housing on the $43.7 million project.

“This is definitely a team effort,’ said Thomas Willard, President and Founder of Foundation for Affordable Housing. “You couldn’t have a better partner than USA Properties.”

Vintage Aliso is for seniors 55 years and older with household incomes between 50 percent and 60 percent of the area median income for Orange County. For example, one person could qualify with income of $36,550 to $43,860 per year.

Rents range from $940 to $1,136 for one-bedroom apartments, and $1,126 to $1,361 for two-bedroom units at Vintage Aliso. The rent is at least $900 less than comparable nearby market-rate communities, according to apartment listing services.

Affordable does not mean basic – or boring. Vintage Aliso has two outdoor areas, including one with a large recreation space that includes a pool, spa and covered patio seating. The second outdoor area features community garden planters, where residents can grow fruits, vegetables and herbs.

A 4,950-square-foot community center includes an activity area, full kitchen, computer lab, laundry facilities, mail room, and even a dog-washing area. A fitness center, with aerobic and weight equipment, is around the corner.

“I thought I could never remain living in Orange County,” said resident Archielyn Rubi, who has lived in the county for almost three decades, but after a couple of life-changing events was forced to look for more affordable housing and found Vintage Aliso. “It’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It’s truly a blessing. This is resort living in Aliso Viejo.”

Apartments feature ceiling fans in the living room and bedrooms; hydronic central heating and air conditioning; pantry cabinets; energy-efficient appliances and light fixtures, and low-flow faucets, shower heads and toilets.

USA Properties embraces such environmentally friendly efforts at all of its communities. But Vintage Aliso has become the new standard for the company – and the industry. The apartment community received the second-highest ever score for new multifamily projects – affordable or market-rate – under the Build It Green program.

The decade-old program scores projects on energy, air quality/health, resources, water conservation and the community overall, from ductwork and recycled water efforts, to the solar thermal panels on the roof.

“This is a high-quality community,” said Jeff Connor of E3 CA Inc., the energy planning and sustainability consulting firm that verified the Build It Green score of Vintage Aliso. “USA Properties’ communities continue to get better and better. It’s about their commitment to energy-efficiency, sustainability and the quality of life for residents.”

But Vintage Aliso is much more than just about amenities, an environmentally friendly design or low-priced housing.

“There are 200 senior families living here, and this is their home,” said Steven Gall, Executive Vice President of USA Multifamily Housing and Senior Vice President of USA Properties Fund. “They give it life, they give it color. This will become the lifeblood of the community.”