City Subsidies Boost Affordable Housing Projects in Mountain View

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779 Evelyn Mountain ViewBy Robert Carlsen

ROEM Development Corp. of Santa Clara is taking advantage of $21.5 million in Mountain View’s affordable housing subsidy fund to move ahead with the 116-unit Evelyn Family Apartments planned for 779 E. Evelyn Ave.

The city’s Notice of Funding Availability review committee in February recommended the subsidy to the Mountain View City Council and gave the developer two options—a $15.5-million subsidy for an 81-unit project or the 116-unit project—and ROEM and the city recently agreed that the larger project would fulfill more of the city’s affordable housing needs.

[contextly_sidebar id=”DIOGKYbn4czO4CfUy0w2oGah5b4kYBkO”]The units, which will comprise studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, would be considered affordable for tenants making up to 60 percent of the city’s median income. “Rough ranges” of rents at this point of the project would range between $900 to $1,400 per month, said Derek Allen, ROEM’s vice president of operations.

The affordable housing subsidy is a loan that will be paid back to the city, Allen said.

Allen added that the project, located on 1.93 acres at the corner of East Evelyn and Bernardo avenues near the city’s border with Sunnyvale, would cost approximately $56.9 million to build and will have a “bicycle-centric identity” with bike parking spaces, lockers and a bike shop. The city also intends to add bicycle lanes along bordering streets. The bicycle emphasis is due in part to the project’s distance to schools, bus stops, shops and parks, Allen said.

The complex will be three and four stories and will include 209 parking spaces.

The site currently contains two office buildings totaling 27,000 square feet, which will be demolished. ROEM has reserved $500,000 in the development budget to relocate the tenants. A gas station at the northeast corner of the site will remain.

ROEM has entered into a purchase and sale agreement for the site. The total land cost is $11.5 million or $5.95 million per acre, according to the NOFA. The site is currently zoned for commercial and industrial use, said Lindsay Hagan, an associate planner for the city, so rezoning for residential will take place this year, along with City Council final approval. Hagan added that the timeline for the project’s clearance will take nine to 12 months. Allen confirmed that construction will start in late 2016.

ROEM will serve as the general contractor on the project, designed by Architects Orange of Orange, Calif.

ROEM recently completed two other affordable housing projects in Mountain View—including 49 units at the 819 North Rengstorff Apartments with Eden Housing and the 51-unit Franklin Street Family Apartments at 135 Franklin St.

Mountain View also recently approved subsidies for two other affordable housing projects: MidPen Housing of Foster City is planning to demolish 12 units at its Shorebreeze apartment complex at 460 N. Shoreline Blvd. and build between 50 and 60 units in a new three-story building with a $9-million city subsidy; and Palo Alto Housing Corp. plans to build a 49-unit complex on the 1700 block of West El Camino Real with a $7.49 million subsidy. These projects are at least two years away from construction, Hagan said.

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