From the daily archives: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

By Mario Conde

After months of being displaced away from their homes thanks to a devastating earthquake, seniors will able to return to their home at De Anza Hotel as soon as early 2011.

The Calexico City Council approved a loan from the Redevelopment Agency to the De Anza Hotel Limited Partnership related to the rehabilitations of the De Anza Hotel Project. The 7.2 earthquake caused major damaged to the Historic De Anza Hotel that’s been a hallmark for the City of Calexico. Last April, the earthquake forced the immediate evacuation of 110 low-income residents from the hotel.

The property sustained damaged on the exterior stucco, interior plaster, and exterior masonry garden walls and cracks in concrete basement walls. The building has been vacant and people have been prohibited to return the hotel since April. The business offices on the lower right wing of the hotel have been allowed to open. The De Anza Hotel is also the home of the Calexico Cultural Arts Center.

The Calexico City Council discussed the Community Development Block Grant and Home Program rental assistance for displaced Calexico residents. City Manager Victor Carrillo said that the City has over $447,000 available for moderate, low, and very low income to cover rental assistance for seniors at De Anza Hotel that were living in other hotels and motels.

The Calexico Redevelopment Agency proposed this past Tuesday to enter in an agreement $760,000 of Community Development Grant (CDBG) Project Income Funding will be used for this loan. “Program Income” is the income received from loans that City provides under CDBG program. .The City initially receives CDBG funds for the State of California, Department of Housing and Community Development for rehabilitation of owner occupied single family homes. The CDBG program income funds for the City are provided as loan secured to be repaid in 30 years by 29 annual payments pursuant to the hotel’s residual receipts, but in no event less than $1,000 per year, and the balance to be paid in a balloon payment on the 30th year. The Construction will begin soon.

In a report given by Economic Development Director Oscar Rodriquez said that on June of this year, the State of California through its Department of Housing and Community Development approved a waiver with special conditions for us of State Community Development to correct the damage sustained by the hotel in the earthquake and return the hotel to its pre-quake condition. Rodriguez told the council that this has many benefits since this will mark the return of a significant and historic part of Calexico and will allow the city to comply with their housing element since De Anza provides affordable housing to Calexico as low as $300 a month. Also, he said, starts a relationship with the State and will be beneficial for the State in the years to come.

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