As rents soar across the San Francisco Bay Area, Lakeside Senior Apartments provides affordable homes to many of Oakland’s most vulnerable seniors.

The 92-unit development digs deep to serve the neediest, with 32 units reserved for residents who were homeless, have a physical disability, or are challenged by mental illness. These apartments serve residents earning no more than 20% of the area median income (AMI) while 59 units are reserved for those earning no more than 50% of the AMI.

“Lakeside provides deeply affordable homes in a gentrifying area of Oakland and is part of the solution to ending homelessness,” says Eve Stewart, director of housing development at Satellite Affordable Housing Associates, the nonprofit developer.

Located near the renovated Lake Merritt waterfront, the development is close to recreation, services, and transportation, making it an ideal site for the elderly residents.

However, one of the biggest challenges was assembling the land necessary to develop the 110,000-square-foot, five-story project. SAHA had to negotiate the acquisition of multiple parcels from different owners in a volatile real estate market. First, the nonprofit, in partnership with the Oakland Housing Authority, worked out the purchase of a parking lot belonging to another housing development. As part of the deal, SAHA developed a plan for replacement parking that involved podium parking with an easement. Although this first parcel could have been developed by itself, the team negotiated the purchase of additional land from two separate owners, allowing SAHA to create a more significant project that wraps around the block.

The housing authority is a special limited partner and was critical in providing funding for site acquisition and development as well as 91 project-based Sec. 8 vouchers.

Lakeside is also notable for its design. The modern residential building is a striking addition to the surrounding mixed-use neighborhood. Designed by David Baker Architects, Lakeside is certified LEED Platinum. Solar hot water panels and photovoltaic electric panels reduce the use of energy in the common areas. Residents also enjoy a fifth-floor community room and adjoining terrace, which are available for use by neighborhood and community groups.

Lakeside has a large Chinese population, and about half of the residents are monolingual. Lakeside offers classes for them to learn English while other residents have an opportunity to learn Chinese. “We’ve been able to come up with programming that brings people together,” Stewart says.

To finance the $33.6 million development, SAHA assembled multiple sources of funding, including low-income housing tax credit equity from Wells Fargo.