Construction to begin on affordable housing site

December 5, 2018

Construction set to begin on latest affordable housing site in Davis
By Anne Ternus-Bellamy

Seven years after the grand opening of César Chávez Plaza — the highly regarded affordable housing complex on Olive Drive — construction is expected to begin next month on the city’s latest affordable housing project.
Creekside, on Fifth Street in Mace Ranch, will provide 90 units (and 99 beds in all) for residents earning 25 to 60 percent of the area’s median income.
Like Cesar Chavez Plaza, the Creekside project is a partnership between Neighborhood Partners LLC, and Davis Community Meals. The latter agency will provide an on-site service coordinator at Creekside to connect residents to needed services — a necessity given that 22 units in the complex will be home to individuals with disabilities and 40 percent of all units will be reserved for individuals earning 25 percent of the area’s median income.
Monthly rent for those individuals will be about $380 a month, according to Luke Watkins, co-principal of Neighborhood Partners. Remaining units would be divided among individuals earning 50 percent of area median income (who would pay about $770 per month in rent) and those earning 60 percent (who would pay about $920 per month).
The latter group, Watkins said, will likely be local workforce who otherwise could not afford to rent in Davis.
Creekside will be built on 48,000 square feet at 2990 Fifth St., a site set aside by the city in the 1990s during the Mace Ranch build-out. It is one of three sites in the neighborhood that were earmarked for affordable housing (the others being the Walnut Terrace and Windmere apartment complexes).

Back in 2015, the city selected the Neighborhood Partners/Davis Community Meals partnership to develop the affordable housing site on Fifth Street and formally transferred the property to Neighborhood Partners in 2016 after rezoning the site for higher residential density.
Funding to build the apartments was secured by Neighborhood Partners during the last two years.
Half-a-dozen funding sources in all are being used for the project, Watkins said, including the state’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program, which uses revenue from the Cap-and-Trade Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to support affordable housing.
The $11.8 million grant Neighborhood Partners received from AHSC “is the largest from this program to anyone in Davis and, I think, Yolo County,” said David Thompson, co-principal of Neighborhood Partners.
“It was the only award in that round to any housing developer in the six-county Sacramento region,” he added.

About $2 million of that grant will be used for transportation enhancements at the site and in the city, Thompson said.
With 90 units, Creekside is the largest affordable housing development ever built in Davis, Thompson noted, “and will meet many needs in Davis for those who are most needing affordable housing.”
The complex will be modeled on Cesar Chavez Plaza, including a community building which will serve as a resource center for residents.
Demand for affordable housing in Davis is very high, so filling the units likely won’t be a challenge. However, several months before occupancy (expected to be in December 2019 or January 2020), the developers will create an affirmative marketing plan to ensure those demographic groups throughout the county that are least likely to apply for units will learn about the project and learn how to apply.
Anyone can apply for a unit, Watkins reiterated, and a lottery may be used to determine who is ultimately selected.
Twenty-two units will be reserved for individuals with disabilities, including folks currently living in nursing homes who could live independently in an apartment — a significantly less expensive living environment — as well as those living with aging parents who can no longer care for them, Watkins said.
The Davis Community Meals service coordinator on-site will bring in service providers to assist those residents — as well as all other residents.
Life at Creekside is expected to mirror that at Cesar Chavez, which benefits from many community volunteers. A group of UC Davis students, for example, visits Cesar Chavez weekly to cook meals for residents, while FARM Davis regularly provides fresh produce, Watkins said.

Creekside will sit on a bus line and residents will be provided bus passes to travel around town. Residents will also have access to 10 JUMP bikes that will be parked on site.
The site will have just 50 parking spaces, because fewer residents are likely to have cars than at typical apartment complexes, said Watkins.
Creekside represents the latest affordable housing development for Neighborhood Partners in Davis, which also created the popular Eleanor Roosevelt Circle senior housing complex.
If voters approve Measure L next month, Neighborhood Partners — along with Delta Senior Housing Communities — would build 150 affordable apartments for seniors as part of the West Davis Active Adult Community.Funding for those affordable apartments would likely come from many of the same sources as Creekside’s funding did, Thompson said.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at aternus@davisenterprise.net. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy.

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