ESCONDIDO — The local neighborhood children once knew Cypress Cove Apartment’s community center as “the haunted house.” It was abandoned, trashed and covered in spray paint.
But the haunted house is gone now — and that particular nightmare is over.
In its place stands the newly renovated (and renamed) Manzanita apartment complex, 200 units replete with modern amenities and green building practices.
Community HousingWorks (CHW) is the California-based nonprofit responsible for the project, and along with it, the hopes of making the Escondido neighborhood cleaner, safer and habitable for affordable-income renters.
“Rents throughout the state continue to rise, making it more and more challenging for families to afford the basics,” said Community HousingWorks President and CEO Sue Reynolds, adding that it’s “increasingly important to preserve affordable housing.”
Cypress Cove was built nearly 40 years ago, as a combination of townhomes and flats designed to house a variety of tenants, including families with children, singles and seniors. CHW bought the aged property in 2014, and worked with the city to extend its affordable rent status for another 55 years. CHW then proceeded to invest an additional $8.83 million into the renovations, using a variety of low-income housing tax credits, bond financing and funds from the city.
Escondido Mayor Sam Abed explained that the long-term effects of the renovation are much greater than simply discounted rent. “We feel very fortunate that CHW chose to renovate the Cypress Cove community, which not only provides affordable housing for families, but a sense of stability and the tools needed to get ahead,” he said in a press release.
In addition to a much-needed facelift, Manzanita’s massive upgrades include new air conditioning units and plumbing upgrades, as well as outdoor amenities like swimming pools, playgrounds, and dedicated areas for barbecues, picnics, and basketball.
CHW also recognizes and embraces the value of environmentally sound living situations: Manzanita now boasts energy-efficient windows, domestic solar hot water, and a solar photovoltaic system.
All of these amenities are greatly appreciated by the new residents. “Losing these units to market-rate housing would have been devastating for us,” said Antonio Navarro in the news release. Navarro, a resident in the complex, added that, the “renovations are a tremendous change. Along with upgrades to the apartments, CHW brought the unusable community center back to life.” Monthly rent at Manzanita ranges from $762 to $1,272, depending on both the size of the unit, and the renter’s income.
Manzanita is the eighth affordable housing community CHW has added to the Escondido community. Other projects currently in their pipeline include Mission Cove, a senior community in Oceanside, and North Park Seniors, which will be San Diego’s first-ever LGBT-affirming senior community.