Construction of South Park Commons, a new affordable housing complex at the former Bennett Valley Senior Center site, is set to begin. Financing for the project was completed last week, including the investment of the City-owned parcel at Bennett Valley Road and Rutledge Avenue, which the City sold to the developer for $1. The Santa Rosa Housing Authority also invested $5.5 million and 30 project-based Housing Vouchers in the project. State funding, loans from the Housing Authority and the Renewal Enterprise District (RED), and low-income housing tax credits all came together to make the project possible. The affordable housing development will feature 62 apartments, ranging from studios to three bedrooms, for low-income renters and formerly homeless residents.
The sale of the former Bennett Valley Senior Center site to affordable housing developers Freebird Development and Allied Housing was finalized on April 17. The sale coincides with the close of escrow on all funding sources required to begin construction, which includes investment of the City-owned site, the Housing Authority loan and a $4 million loan from RED.
The site will be transformed into the affordable housing development with half of the units targeted to formerly homeless households. Services will be available on-site for all residents, with additional housing stabilization services for residents who were formerly homeless. The project is anticipated to be completed by December 31, 2024.
The concept for the project began in 2018 when the Santa Rosa City Council approved consolidating all of the City's recreation programs for seniors to the Person Senior Wing at Finley Community Center. The City Council declared the Bennett Valley Senior Center site as surplus, and directed staff to explore options to use the site for the development of affordable housing. City staff solicited development proposals and in 2019 the City Council selected the development team comprised of Freebird Development and Allied Housing.
Staff from the City’s Real Estate team in the Transportation and Public Works Department and the Housing Trust division of the Housing and Community Services Department collaborated on the subsequent Exclusive Negotiation Agreement, Disposition and Development Agreement, and the ultimate investment of the property to the developer.
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