The city of Mountain View, Calif., has taken an active role to address the severe shortage of affordable housing in one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets.

The city partnered with developers Eden Housing and ROEM Corp. to transform a dilapidated downtown corner into a new 49-unit workforce housing project.

“What was there before had so many code violations and overcrowding,” says Neil Saxby, senior project developer at Eden Housing. “The city selected us largely because of the team, and they were so glad we had identified the property that we were basically going to clean out and turn that corner into a catalyst for future developments.”

Studio 819 Apartments, which includes one manager’s unit, serves residents with incomes at or below 45% of the area median income. Residents include school office staff as well as single working moms.

“It’s helping the workforce have a decent place to live and have a home,” says Alex Sanchez, executive vice president of ROEM.

The city, which is credited with helping guide the project from concept to completion, provided a $9 million loan out of its affordable housing fund for the almost $17.9 million development. Financing also included low-income housing tax credit equity from Wells Fargo and a permanent loan from California Community Reinvestment Corp.

Studio 819 Apartments provides residents with an amenity-rich, healthy environment in a walkable and transit-oriented neighborhood.

The development is LEED Platinum certified and is designed to exceed California’s Title 24 stands by more than 20% by incorporating efficient HVAC systems, 100% fluorescent lighting, Energy Star appliances, insulated windows, and a solar photovoltaic system that offsets the common area energy loads. Units feature low-flow plumbing fixtures. In addition, the development team focused on using locally sourced and recycled materials.

Eden Housing, which manages the property, provides a range of supportive services and programs to meet the residents’ needs. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority also provides transit passes for all residents to help reduce their costs and to encourage public transportation.

Additional amenities include free wireless Internet, a community room with a kitchen, a roof deck, a computer room, a courtyard, and 49 bicycle parking spaces.

The ground-floor commercial space has been leased by Tacomania, which will open later this year.

“This is a great example of how one project can activate a neighborhood that was really struggling,” says Saxby.

Project Details

Developers: Eden Housing and ROEM Corp.
Architect: KTGY
Major Funders: Wells Fargo; city of Mountain View California Community Reinvestment Corp.; California Tax Credit Allocation Committee