Los Angeles, CA — A settlement agreement approved by the Board of Commissioners of the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) has set in motion a flurry of activity, that if all goes as hoped, could see construction begin in December on one project in the ill-fated Marlton Square development.

The CRA board voted at the end of April to approve a settlement in lawsuits filed against the developer of the Buckingham Place senior housing complex located behind the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

If the agreement is approved by a bankruptcy court, it will clear the way for a newly selected developer to apply for federal tax credits that will help fund the project.

The settlement comes out of lawsuits filed by CRA, Hamni Bank and construction contractor S.C. Anderson against Buckingham Place Senior Housing (LP BPSH), which failed to complete the affordable living project before going bankrupt.

BPSH consists of Capital Vision Equities LLC, Phoenix Realty Group LLP and Mothers in Action Inc.

Hamni Bank provided a $17.5 million construction loan for the project; Anderson had a $17.1 million construction contract; and the CRA/LA provided $8.5 million in federal Housing and Urban Development funding for property acquisition.

In addition to the financial aspect of the agreement, the settlement also identifies a new developer to complete the Buckingham complex–Meta Housing Corporation–and if the court OKs the deal, Meta Housing will be racing the clock to submit an application in time for the June 9 awarding of federal tax credits.

If the tax credits are approved, work could begin in December on the project which is 90% complete and features 71 units total including 55 one-bedroom apartments and 16 two-bedrooms.

Tax credits help developers of low-income housing raise equity to finance their projects, and they do this by selling tax benefits granted them by the feds to investors.

Meta is a West Los Angeles-based developer that specializes in senior housing and has also built numerous affordable housing complexes in various parts of the city.

The tasks left to complete on Buckingham Place include some exterior stucco work and painting, carpeting, installation of fixtures, ground work, establishment of a parking lot and fencing.

If Meta does not receive the tax credits during the June 9 window, the CRA agreement allows them until July 31, 2010 to secure the credits. The next round of credits will be awarded July 31, 2010.

According to a CRA spokesperson, the credits are necessary to fund the project.