BRIDGE Housing announced Thursday its revitalization initiative at the Jordan Downs public housing development in Watts created more than 100 jobs in the first phase of construction, and 70% of the hires were local.

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles selected BRIDGE Housing and the Michaels Organization in 2012 to turn 700 units at Jordan Downs into a “larger mixed-income community,” according to the affordable housing nonprofit. The goal was to transform the deteriorating public housing site into a place where all residents have access to health and other services and a path to economic advancement.

The initial project to build the Cedar Grove portion of the complex created 109 jobs, including for framers, landscapers, drywallers, electricians and plumbers who built 115 new affordable apartments, according to BRIDGE Housing. Of the people hired, 70% were local, more than double the commitment to meet federal Section 3 program requirements. On average, the jobs paid $29.07 an hour.

The nonprofit’s report highlighted Cedar Grove resident Sherina Bledsoe, who was hired on the project. According to BRIDGE, she was homeless for two years before moving into Jordan Downs public housing. Once she gained stability, she got a job in the first phase of construction to build Cedar Grove, where she now resides.

“It feels good to be able to help the Jordan Downs and Watts residents who are in need of jobs, because I was one of those people,” Bledsoe said.

The housing project will also have a 50,000-square-foot community center and 115,000 square feet of retail space.

“The collaboration has established proof-of-concept by greatly exceeding local hire targets. Not only has this improved opportunities for residents to participate in the development of future phases, it has enabled residents to become employed at other large construction projects in concurrent developments throughout the city and county,” BRIDGE Vice President of Community Development Damon Harris said.

The project’s next phase is to build 80 family apartment homes, 60 of which will replace former public housing and 20 of which will be new low-income apartments. That phase is expected to be complete this fall.

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