Santa Rosa approves $ 38 million loans for affordable housing

The Santa Rosa Housing Authority has approved the use of approximately $ 38 million in federal disaster relief funds to build hundreds of new affordable homes over the next few years.

On Monday afternoon, a shorthanded housing authority voted the loan of $ 38,353,107 to developers of five projects in Santa Rosa that initially offer the pledge of 377 combined units, almost all of which are reserved for low-income residents.

The top prize, notable both for its circumstances and for its size, went to the first phase of the 3575 Mendocino Avenue project, which, when fully constructed, provides for 532 homes on the site of the former Journey’s mobile home park. End. Linda Adrian, a former park resident and staunch supporter of the redevelopment effort, praised the $ 11.9 million price tag for the project, which would create 370 apartments at market rates as well as 162 units in an affordable development to replace the 160 Journey’s End homes, most of which were destroyed in the Tubbs fire in 2017.

“At the moment, I still live in a temporary apartment of only 320 square feet, and I was waiting for this – for Journey’s End to be rebuilt so that I can go back there,” said Adrian, who had lived at the park for 25 years.

The funds represent a bittersweet boon to a city in desperate need of additional affordable housing. While the money offers a rare chance to spur several large projects simultaneously, Santa Rosa would not have had access to the funds had it not been for the massive Tubbs fire disaster.

The city received money last year through state officials from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development because of the damage inflicted on Santa Rosa by the Tubbs fire, which exacerbated the current shortage of affordable housing by destroying more than 3,000 homes across the city. The city officially opened the fundraising process in November, less than a month after reaching an agreement with state officials to release the money.

The city received 17 applications, four of which were deemed incomplete. Two were subsequently withdrawn. The remaining 11 claims, representing claims of around $ 80.3 million – more than double what the city had to offer – were reviewed by a panel of two Housing Authority members, Vice President Diane Test. and Commissioner Steve Burke, and two members of the town. Council, John Sawyer and Tom Schwedhelm, guided by city staff.

Their unanimous recommendations went in support of five projects, three of which are supported at least in part by Burbank Housing, the affordable housing developer based in Santa Rosa. According to city documents, the projects, along with their loan amounts, total costs, number of units and estimated month of construction completion, are:

  • The first phase of 3575 avenue Mendocino; Loan of $ 11.9 million; Development cost of $ 56.7 million; 94 units; March 2023.
  • The Railroad Square Cannery; $ 10.3 million; $ 86.8 million in development costs; 129 units; June 2023.
  • The first phase of Caritas Homes; Loan of $ 8.9 million; Development cost of $ 39.8 million; 64 units; December 2022.
  • Burbank Avenue Apartments; $ 5 million loan; Development cost of $ 38 million; 64 units; July 2023.
  • Senior Linda Tunis Apartments; Loan of $ 2.1 million; A development cost of 9.4 million dollars; 26 units; March 2022.

The loans include affordability guarantees for 55 years from the date of original occupancy and annual interest rates of 3% deferred for the same term, according to city documents.

Burbank Housing is a development partner in the 3575 Mendocino, Caritas Homes and Burbank Avenue Apartments projects. The Cannery Project was presented by the John Stewart Company, and the Linda Tunis Project – named after a former Journey’s End resident who perished in the Tubbs fire – is supported by Petaluma Ecumenical Properties, or PEP Housing.

“This is actually a major step forward in reducing the housing units that are needed and in demand, especially affordable units, for the city of Santa Rosa,” said Efren Carrillo, director of housing development and development. government affairs for Burbank Housing.

The two non-Burbank housing projects have both agreed to reduce the amount of loans they requested from the Housing Authority, according to city staff. There was no indication that the three Burbank Housing projects had to do this.

The Housing Authority usually has seven members, including two tenants’ commissioners. However, at its Monday meeting, the administration did not have the two tenant positions, two of its current five commissioners were serving expired terms and one had to recuse himself to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

All units except one for each project, for a total of 372 units, are limited to some extent to income. The other five units are unrestricted and are intended to accommodate on-site project managers.

The pre-award review took into account the projects’ ability to obtain planning approval and other committed funding sources, conduct environmental reviews, total costs per unit, and start dates and construction completion, said Nicole Rathbun, the city’s housing program specialist.

“We really focused on preparing for the project and we wanted to get these units into the community as quickly as possible,” Rathbun said.

You can contact editor Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or [email protected] On Twitter @wsreports.

Editor’s Note: Efren Carrillo was misidentified in an earlier version of this article.