Habitat for Humanity Proposes Affordable Condos in Redwood City

Habitat for Humanity, Redwood City, Bay Area, affordable housing, San Francisco, J.H. Fitzmaurice, BAR Architects

Habitat for Humanity, Redwood City, Bay Area, affordable housing, San Francisco, J.H. Fitzmaurice, BAR ArchitectsBy Robert Carlsen

A small, 5,000-square-foot empty lot in downtown Redwood City has grabbed the attention of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, which is now in the process of drafting plans for a six-story, 20-unit, affordable condominium building.

The global non-profit housing organization said the project is its first mid-rise development and also the first time it is working with a general contractor, J.H. Fitzmaurice of Oakland, according to Smitha Seshadri, Habitat’s vice president of real estate.

[contextly_sidebar id=”Q5yOIEs5W86htRxbpG0WYMjXzrgz8EId”]Traditionally, all of Habitat’s construction has been built by in-house staff and/or with volunteers, though this project may provide some volunteer opportunities, such as painting and other non-technical work.

“Because it is six stories and on a small lot, it’s not altogether practical to use volunteer labor exclusively,” said Habitat Project Manager Justin Albright.

The empty lot is located at 612 Jefferson Avenue between Bradford and Marshall streets and mere steps from the behemoth Indigo apartment complex, whose 470 apartment units will open this summer. The 25,000-square-foot project features five one-bedroom, 10 two-bedroom and five three-bedroom units and an at-grade parking garage with 15 parking spaces and 18 bike spaces.

BAR Architects of San Francisco is the project designer.

Albright said Habitat “has its fingers crossed” that groundbreaking can start in December. He estimates that construction will take about 16 months, with a completion set for spring 2018.

Though Habitat for Humanity has submitted an application for the project, the city’s planning division said it currently is in an “application deemed incomplete” status, according to Michelle Littlefield, associate planner, who added that once some design and construction details come to light the city will review the packet in regards to its Downtown Precise Plan as well as its historic resource status (the lot is adjacent to a historic building) and hold a public hearing before a zoning administrator.

The project is expected to cost $13 million, of which $2 million was contributed from the city and two federal grant programs, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME). Rhonda Coffman, CDBG/HOME administrator for the city, said the property will be marketed to “very low income” families; median income for very low income households is between $68,000 and $93,000 annually. Coffman said 612 Jefferson’s units will be priced from $316,000 to $450,000 for one-bedrooms, $343,000 to $486,000 for two-bedrooms and $414,000 to $580,000 for three-bedrooms.

Redwood City’s Downtown Precise Plan allows for 2,500 housing units to be constructed. At the time of the plan’s adoption in January 2011, it was expected that 375 of these units (15 percent of 2,500) would be affordable. The city council has reviewed the 15 percent figure numerous times over the years and will discuss the figure further at the next council meeting, scheduled for May 11.

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