California State Treasurer Fiona Ma Gives Keynote Speech

National Community Renaissance (National CORE) proudly broke ground today on reconstruction at the affordable housing community of Villa Serena in San Marcos, celebrating the community’s much-anticipated transformation with development partners, including city and county leaders and California State Treasurer Fiona Ma. Villa Serena’s two-phase transformation will replace its original 136 units of housing, first built in the 1970s, with 148 beautiful apartment homes.

The new Villa Serena will be the realization of National CORE, the City of San Marcos, the County of San Diego, and residents’ decades-long vision for the community. National CORE acquired the dilapidated and run-down Lido-Imperial apartment complex in 1997 in a highly under-resourced and economically distressed neighborhood, making much-needed initial renovations to the community in order to preserve safe and affordable housing for San Marcos residents and provide the platform for neighborhood stabilization. National CORE knew at that time that the community, which it renamed Villa Serena, ultimately would need the comprehensive reconstruction that is now underway.

“We’re not someone who comes in, buys or puts up a building, and walks away,” said National CORE President & CEO Steve PonTell. “We’re committed to making sure that, in the long term, our buildings continue to provide the highest quality of life for our residents, and that requires consistent investment in communities like Villa Serena. This is 20 years of planning and preparing so that we could reach this moment where we’re able to transform Villa Serena into what we always imagined it could be.”

Collaborative efforts to bring new resources, including affordable housing, to the neighborhood have already made the area safer and more family-friendly. With the transformation of Villa Serena, National CORE will be able to provide a total of 680 apartment homes at five affordable housing communities in the City of San Marcos. However, after many years, National CORE has deemed that it is time to update Villa Serena. The new Villa Serena will offer affordable apartments of the highest quality that residents are proud to call home, in line with National CORE’s commitment to not just provide housing that combats the nationwide affordability crisis but offer dignified and elegant living arrangements for residents of affordable housing. The updated housing will be safer and more sustainable, with architecture that complements the surrounding neighborhood.

“I believe it’s extremely important that we keep our young, working families in our region. This project, which provides workforce housing, is an excellent example of what is needed in North County,” said San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond. “As the former mayor of the wonderful city of San Marcos, I am proud to see the city and the county coming together to make strides in addressing our housing crisis while staying true to the character of our well-loved communities.”

Villa Serena is currently in its first phase of reconstruction. Upon completion, the community will provide much-needed housing for individuals and families with household income-qualifying maximums at various set-asides ranging from 30 to 60 percent of the area median income. The Hope through Housing Foundation will provide direct services as well as partner with local service providers to bring an array of programs, services, and resources to residents of the new community. With a 1,933 square foot community center to serve as a hub for community events and activities, Villa Serena will offer essential services and best-in-class property management to promote residents’ financial stability, self-sufficiency, and overall well-being.

“High-quality housing is one of the most important factors in ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of San Diego County residents,” said Nick Macchione, Director of the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. “We are happy to be part of this collaborative effort to update Villa Serena and make sure it meets the needs of its residents, the surrounding community and the county as a whole.”

Once reconstruction is completed, Villa Serena will better meet the specific housing needs of the neighborhood and the community’s residents. While the original Villa Serena had only one three-bedroom apartment, the reconstruction will create forty-seven three-bedroom homes to better meet the needs of the family-centric neighborhood. National CORE will also be working with the City of San Marcos and the County of San Diego to set aside eight apartment homes for young adults aging out of the foster care system.

“As a longtime resident of San Marcos, I am excited to see a development that prioritizes the housing, health, and well-being of residents, with special attention given to San Marcos families and youth,” San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones said. “The youth are our future, and together, we are making the future brighter today.”

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About National Community Renaissance (National CORE)

National CORE is one of the nation’s premier affordable housing developers, building award-winning communities and creating a platform for individual and community change. National CORE creates strong, healthy communities where residents can thrive. In partnership with the Hope through Housing Foundation, National CORE provides impactful resident programs and services to help children and teens achieve success, improve families’ financial well-being, and promote senior health and wellness. For more information on National CORE, please visit