New Town Center Villas will help with El Centro housing shortage

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EL CENTRO — After two years of waiting, El Centro city officials and project investors cut the ribbon Thursday on a new luxury apartment complex, bringing much-needed housing to a community strapped for living space.

For six months, the unfinished apartment complex located behind Target in El Centro remained unchanged, which made people question whether the project would ever be completed. A dispute between YK America, the construction and investor company behind Town Center, and Patterson Builders of Torrance, brought work to a halt in March, leaving just a security guard at a once-bustling worksite.

Martin Hsu, the site construction manager, had insisted they would finish on schedule.

That all changed Thursday thanks to the support of the city of El Centro, the El Centro Chamber, and the community, with the grand opening of the Town Center Villas, the new and long-awaited apartment complex in El Centro.

The complex has a total of 240 units comprised of seven buildings of 12 units each, with the possibility of more being built at a later time, according to officials. Each rented unit comes with a parking garage and access to the pool, gym, and playground. There are also plans to add a daycare to the premises.

According to reports, there are 22 people already living in the apartments, with more requests pouring in each week.

El Centro Mayor Alex Cardenas said the project’s completion could not have come at a more perfect time, as the city in is dire need of 800 more housing units.

“El Centro overall is in need of housing,” said Cardenas. “These 240 units put a major dent in the city deficit.”

YK America representatives have said they were eager to build in the Imperial Valley. The company is also responsible for the Target, Lowe’s, and University of Phoenix buildings in the same area, what was known as Phase 1.

Hsu, the construction manager, said there is still work to be done. Phase 2 will consist of turning the lot behind the apartments into commercial buildings and a smaller living complex, possibly senior living, according to Hsu.

“We’re very grateful to all our investors, friends, and the media who came to support us,” said David Lu, the CEO of YK America.