These nine northern California projects scored Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities awards from the California Strategic Growth Council

By Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP, June 26, 2019

SGC’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program provides grants and loans for programs and capital development projects, including affordable housing development and transportation improvements that encourage walking, bicycling, and transit use and result in fewer passenger vehicle miles traveled.

AHSC Program staff received 47 proposals by a February 11, 2019, deadline, seeking $673,741,832 in grants. Twenty-five projects were awarded a total of $402,117,497. SGC announced the awards June 25th. Here is a summary of the nine awards granted in coastal northern California:

Light Tree, East Palo Alto, a project of Eden Housing, the East Palo Alto Community Alliance & Neighborhood Development Organization (EPA CAN DO), and the City of East Palo Alto
Total Award: $20,000,000

Light Tree scored highest of 25 projects from 18 jurisdictions statewide.

The Light Tree collaboration will provide 128 units of affordable housing for families and individuals making between 30-50% of the area median income, with 14 units set aside for homeless or transitional age youth. The project will additionally invest in sustainable transit infrastructure, including 8.6 miles of bikeways and 3600 feet of pedestrian walkways, and will acquire three electric buses for a new limited stop bus service operated by SamTrans. The bus service project area spans 24 miles across San Mateo County, from East Palo Alto to San Bruno, with stops in Menlo Park, Redwood City, Redwood Shores, and SFO. $500,000 will provide the Light Tree community with up to 650 transit passes per year for three years. $3.75 million will create EPA’s first “Complete Green Street” on Addison Street.

Light Tree has a current wait list of more than 200 low-income families. Linda Mandolini of Eden Housing wrote on LinkedIn that, “Sometimes all the stars align and you find a way to make a dent in a waiting list. This grant not only brings with it a whole lot of air quality benefits, it allows us to build enough homes to accommodate nearly half of the 200 households on the [Light Tree] waiting list.”

The existing Light Tree Apartments, 1805 East Bayshore Road, East Palo Alto. Image: Google Maps
Light Tree Apartments, as proposed and awarded. Image courtesy Eden Housing

According to Weijia Song, project developer for Eden Housing, construction will be phased, and current residents be accommodated in the transition from existing to new. During construction, current residents will be temporarily relocated in available onsite units or comparable offsite units. Experienced relocation consultants have been retained to assist in the process. Once construction is complete, existing Light Tree residents will have the right-of-first return to new or renovated units. Elevator service will be added to the existing 3-story buildings to better serve Light Tree’s senior residents.

Gateway at Millbrae, Site 6A, a project of Core Affordable Housing, LLC
Total Award: $18,042,459

The Gateway at Millbrae will provide 80 units of affordable housing within walking distance of the Millbrae BART station in San Mateo County. This realizes a major component of the Millbrae Station Area Specific Plan, which envisions mixed-use housing adjacent to the Millbrae station — the transfer point for BART and Caltrain. Transportation elements include a BART track extension and fleet storage to allow an increase in the number of trains on the San Francisco/Millbrae to Richmond line. The project will provide more than three miles of safe bicycle paths and 3,000 feet of pedestrian improvements, including a safe pedestrian passage over the 101 freeway to the Millbrae station.

500 Turk Street, a project of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, San Francisco
Total Award: $20,000,000

The project will transform an auto-oriented site, four blocks from the Civic Center/UN Plaza BART station, into a pedestrian-oriented, community-facing affordable housing development with affordable multifamily rental homes for 107 households, a multi-use community room, and 2,385 sq. ft. of neighborhood-serving retail. In addition, the project will widen sidewalks and make pedestrian safety improvements on 6th street, install dedicated bike facilities on both sides of 5th street, and construct a BART station entrance canopy at Market and Hyde Streets, and transit-only lanes and sidewalk bulbs along the Market/Van Ness segment of the Geary Bus Rapid Transit project.

San Jose Market-Almaden TOD, a project of Satellite Affordable Housing Associates
Total Award: $18,908,818

The project will provide 86 units of affordable housing for artists in downtown San Jose, with artist studios, a community room, and gallery space on the ground floor. The transportation components close key bike and pedestrian gaps with a protected bikeway connecting to transit, the Convention Center, and neighborhoods to the south, and will increase the frequency on the Route 66 VTA line through the procurement of two electric buses.

Treasure Island Parcel C3.1, Ferry Terminal, and Bay Bridge Connection, San Francisco, a project of Mercy Housing California and the Treasure Island Development Authority
Total Award: $20,000,000

This project is the ambitious first step in redeveloping Treasure Island into a multi-modal sustainable community of more than 8,000 households by constructing 135 units of housing, 81 of those for households making less than 50% of the area median income, and 66 units replacing supportive housing. Active transportation improvements consist of a bicycle and pedestrian connector to link Treasure Island to the Bay Trail and the Bay Bridge, a new ferry terminal for new service to San Francisco, and a new AC Transit bus line to downtown Oakland and BART. Concerns around sea level rise are addressed by raising all buildings, parking, and street entrances above current grade.

Roosevelt Park Apartments, a project of First Community Housing and the City of San Jose
Total Award: $12,637,770

Roosevelt Park Apartments will provide 80 units of mixed-income housing in Downtown San Jose, with 40 units designated as Rapid Rehousing for homeless households and 20 units set aside for Transition Age Youth (TAY) and the Developmentally Disabled. The remaining 20 units will be workforce housing. All units will be restricted to households earning 30-80% of area median income.

The project makes robust active transportation improvements — including protected bike lanes on a high traffic corridor — to identified safety and connectivity gaps in the neighborhood.

Transit improvements will include the addition of two new electrical buses connecting the Eastridge Transit Center and the future Berryessa BART Station. Every resident of the housing development ages five and up will get free passes to use VTA buses and light rail throughout Santa Clara County.

Manzanita Family Apartments, a project of Satellite Affordable Housing Associates, Napa
Total Award: $8,150,000

The Manzanita Family Apartments will provide 51 affordable homes for households in the city of Napa. The development is a significant distance from the city’s Wildland Urban Interface Fire Hazard Area and will include fire resilient design measures. The project will install beacon systems at five uncontrolled crossings along 3.2 miles of the Vine Trail bikeway, and will make pedestrian improvements at two key intersections. The Napa Valley Transportation Authority will purchase two electric buses for express routes to connect the community to job hubs as far north as Calistoga and as far south as Vallejo, and will also add and improve bus shelters along the routes.

2012 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, a project of BRIDGE Housing Corporation, Berkeley Food and Housing project, and the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District
Total Award: $19,591,610

The project comprises two developments that in total provide 141 affordable housing units in Berkeley, with 53 set aside for supportive housing. The project will implement specific elements of the city’s Bicycle Plan, as well as projects identified in the Transportation Element of the General Plan including upgraded bike lanes, pedestrian improvements and lighting along Milvia St., bike lanes and street lighting along Addison St., a two-way cycle track at the North Berkeley BART Station, and the addition of a new bus to AC Transit’s fleet for the Transbay Tomorrow F Line. Secured bicycle parking will be provided at the North Berkeley BART Station, and bus stop safety and comfort will be improved.

Isaacson’s Multifamily Housing HRI and STI, a project of Danco Communities and the City of Arcata
Total Award: $4,460,700

The Isaacson’s Multifamily Housing Housing-Related Infrastructure (HRI) and Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure (STI) project will fund a 43-unit multifamily housing development in Arcata — the first AHSC award in the North Coast region. In addition to providing much-needed affordable housing, the AHSC award will fund new bike lanes to help implement the Humboldt Regional Bicycle Plan adopted in 2018. Emphasizing a need for safer pedestrian accessibility, new sidewalks will connect project residents to transit, paired with pedestrian safety improvements. A new car and bike share program will be located in the housing development. Each unit will receive two free bus passes. The project will procure an electric bus for use on a new route to connect area residents to key destinations in Arcata.