News

City putting $6.3M toward 62 new affordable housing units

Mountain View City Council backs expansion of Shorebreeze apartments for low-income families

Mountain View City Council members agreed Tuesday night to set aside over $6.3 million to expand the Shorebreeze Apartment complex, adding a net total of 50 new units to the affordable housing project. That uses up almost all of the city's remaining affordable housing funds, and comes after the recent approvals of several projects to boost housing for low-income residents.

The proposal by MidPen Housing calls for the demolition of 12 existing townhouses on the property to make way for 62 new apartments, bringing the project to a grand total of 170 affordable units. The total project cost is just shy of $26 million, of which $6.3 million would come from the city in the form of a deferred, low-interest loan.

The plan includes a broad mix of units including 12 three-bedroom apartments to replace the townhouses being demolished, along with 21 new studios, 21 one-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom units. Jan Lindenthal, the vice president of real estate development for MidPen, told council members that the goal is to add affordable units that are available to families, while at the same time balancing the need to maximize the number of units and serve as many people as possible.

Council member Lenny Siegel praised the project as a creative way of circumventing the high cost of land acquisition, which he called the major obstacle limiting affordable housing growth. Developers face costs of around $10 million per acre in that area of the city, he said, which can end up being a massive money-sink for affordable housing funds.

"If we have to spend all of our affordable housing money on acquiring land, it's going to be much more difficult," Siegel said.

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Compared to past low-income housing projects, Mountain View is getting a pretty good deal. The city is providing just over $100,000 in subsidies for each new unit added in the Shorebreeze expansion. By comparison, the city subsidy for the affordable housing project at 779 E. Evelyn Ave. was $187,000 per unit.

While City Council members embraced the project plans, MidPen has struggled to reach an agreement with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which owns a portion of the project site. Negotiations to extend the lease beyond 2031 and accommodate the expansion plans have been going on for over a year, and have reached an impasse, according to the city staff report. The utilities commission representatives have made it clear that they do not want MidPen Housing to meet any of the city-mandated parking requirements by using the Hetch Hetchy right of way on the northern end of the property.

The City Counci's motion included sending a letter of support for the project from the mayor to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which Lindenthal said should be enough political support to break through the impasse. Council member Chris Clark suggested that the letter be copied to other public officials in San Francisco to let them know that the commission is impending an affordable housing project.

"I know there's a lot of pressure at both the mayor's office and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors around affordable housing, and if the SFPUC is making that difficult, I think the supervisors and the mayor would like to know that," Clark said.

The commission's hard and fast restrictions on land use have been a thorn in the side of Mountain View City Council members in the past. Earlier this year, development of a mini-park near Fayette Drive faced problems when the commission barred use of bicycles on the public space.

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"The PUC has been the source of great frustration for this council," said council member Mike Kasperzak.

Neighbors of the project told council members they were concerned about the effect of the Shorebreeze expansion plans on traffic and parking, especially since there is only one driveway to access the complex along southbound Shoreline Boulevard. Siegel said council members are well-aware of the traffic problems on the busy corridor, and are working on short-term and long-term plans to alleviate congestion in separate projects.

Prior to the approval of the project, the city of Mountain View had an affordable housing balance of about $7.5 million. While the $6.3 million in reserved funds for the Shorebreeze expansion nearly depletes that funding source, the staff report notes that the torrent of new development in Mountain View has been adding between $7 million and $9 million to the fund each year.

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City putting $6.3M toward 62 new affordable housing units

Mountain View City Council backs expansion of Shorebreeze apartments for low-income families

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Sep 14, 2016, 12:27 pm

Mountain View City Council members agreed Tuesday night to set aside over $6.3 million to expand the Shorebreeze Apartment complex, adding a net total of 50 new units to the affordable housing project. That uses up almost all of the city's remaining affordable housing funds, and comes after the recent approvals of several projects to boost housing for low-income residents.

The proposal by MidPen Housing calls for the demolition of 12 existing townhouses on the property to make way for 62 new apartments, bringing the project to a grand total of 170 affordable units. The total project cost is just shy of $26 million, of which $6.3 million would come from the city in the form of a deferred, low-interest loan.

The plan includes a broad mix of units including 12 three-bedroom apartments to replace the townhouses being demolished, along with 21 new studios, 21 one-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom units. Jan Lindenthal, the vice president of real estate development for MidPen, told council members that the goal is to add affordable units that are available to families, while at the same time balancing the need to maximize the number of units and serve as many people as possible.

Council member Lenny Siegel praised the project as a creative way of circumventing the high cost of land acquisition, which he called the major obstacle limiting affordable housing growth. Developers face costs of around $10 million per acre in that area of the city, he said, which can end up being a massive money-sink for affordable housing funds.

"If we have to spend all of our affordable housing money on acquiring land, it's going to be much more difficult," Siegel said.

Compared to past low-income housing projects, Mountain View is getting a pretty good deal. The city is providing just over $100,000 in subsidies for each new unit added in the Shorebreeze expansion. By comparison, the city subsidy for the affordable housing project at 779 E. Evelyn Ave. was $187,000 per unit.

While City Council members embraced the project plans, MidPen has struggled to reach an agreement with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which owns a portion of the project site. Negotiations to extend the lease beyond 2031 and accommodate the expansion plans have been going on for over a year, and have reached an impasse, according to the city staff report. The utilities commission representatives have made it clear that they do not want MidPen Housing to meet any of the city-mandated parking requirements by using the Hetch Hetchy right of way on the northern end of the property.

The City Counci's motion included sending a letter of support for the project from the mayor to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which Lindenthal said should be enough political support to break through the impasse. Council member Chris Clark suggested that the letter be copied to other public officials in San Francisco to let them know that the commission is impending an affordable housing project.

"I know there's a lot of pressure at both the mayor's office and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors around affordable housing, and if the SFPUC is making that difficult, I think the supervisors and the mayor would like to know that," Clark said.

The commission's hard and fast restrictions on land use have been a thorn in the side of Mountain View City Council members in the past. Earlier this year, development of a mini-park near Fayette Drive faced problems when the commission barred use of bicycles on the public space.

"The PUC has been the source of great frustration for this council," said council member Mike Kasperzak.

Neighbors of the project told council members they were concerned about the effect of the Shorebreeze expansion plans on traffic and parking, especially since there is only one driveway to access the complex along southbound Shoreline Boulevard. Siegel said council members are well-aware of the traffic problems on the busy corridor, and are working on short-term and long-term plans to alleviate congestion in separate projects.

Prior to the approval of the project, the city of Mountain View had an affordable housing balance of about $7.5 million. While the $6.3 million in reserved funds for the Shorebreeze expansion nearly depletes that funding source, the staff report notes that the torrent of new development in Mountain View has been adding between $7 million and $9 million to the fund each year.

Comments

Neighbor
Shoreline West
on Sep 14, 2016 at 2:25 pm
Neighbor, Shoreline West
on Sep 14, 2016 at 2:25 pm

The least they can do since they screwed over a whole town that use to be a really nice place to live.


Greg Coladonato
Registered user
Slater
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:06 pm
Greg Coladonato, Slater
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:06 pm

I happen to think that Mountain View is still a really nice place to live. Apparently lots of other people do too, judging by what it costs to rent an apartment or buy a house here.


True
Blossom Valley
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:32 pm
True, Blossom Valley
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Gotta side with Greg on this. Frankly, that figure is 6.3M more than I'm in favor of paying.


member
Waverly Park
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:37 pm
member, Waverly Park
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Please include the address and, preferably, a map.


True
Blossom Valley
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:44 pm
True, Blossom Valley
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:44 pm
Greg David
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:50 pm
Greg David, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:50 pm

I still fail to see how these subsidies are fair to the average taxpayer. I don't earn nearly enough to afford a home, or even a condo for that matter, in my hometown of Mountain View, yet I earn far too much for ANY sort of taxpayer funded handout....


True
Blossom Valley
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:59 pm
True, Blossom Valley
on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Greg,

They aren't.

The larger question is what might the City spend that 6.3M on that doesn't involve taking money from you & me to subsidize something someone else can't afford?


False
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2016 at 5:23 pm
False, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2016 at 5:23 pm

More ignorant statements from the Right. Nice.

Developments include an in-lieu fee for affordable housing, which the City is finally getting around to spending (while property values are at an all time high). So, there is no "taking" of "your" money.


But still...
Rex Manor
on Sep 14, 2016 at 9:49 pm
But still..., Rex Manor
on Sep 14, 2016 at 9:49 pm

I would still prefer to see that money spent on our struggling schools, which would help more people than the few who get to live in these apartments.


Save Hetch Hetchy Trail
Castro City
on Sep 14, 2016 at 9:53 pm
Save Hetch Hetchy Trail, Castro City
on Sep 14, 2016 at 9:53 pm

Using Hetch Hetcy right of way for a pedestrian trail is clearly in the public's best interest. Using it as anything else is not. CLEARLY using Hetch Hetchy right of way for private parking and blocking a pedestrian trail is not in the public's interest, but it may be in the interest of other big developers who want to develop onto the right of way, Like near Target.


Jes' Sayin'
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2016 at 9:58 pm
Jes' Sayin', Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2016 at 9:58 pm

Did you realize that Google pays its employees a subsidy if they live within three miles of the MV office? There's a lot of your rise in housing prices right there.


@ Jes' Sayin'
North Whisman
on Sep 15, 2016 at 7:19 pm
@ Jes' Sayin', North Whisman
on Sep 15, 2016 at 7:19 pm

Pretty sure Google does NOT pay its employees anything extra to live within 3 miles of main campus, or I would be getting said subsidy.


FB
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2016 at 11:37 pm
FB, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2016 at 11:37 pm

Facebook gives 10-15k to their employees to live close to the offices. Google could give a rat's *ss about what their traffic does to MV.


Resident
Old Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2016 at 11:56 am
Resident, Old Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2016 at 11:56 am

Let me get this straight - $26 million for 62 units, including demolition of old town houses? That's an average of $420,000 per apartment. That seems ludicrously expensive per unit, I would love to know what costs so much - land, permits, labor, what? $420,000 buys you a beautiful house most places outside the bay area.


JM
Rengstorff Park
on Sep 20, 2016 at 10:02 pm
JM, Rengstorff Park
on Sep 20, 2016 at 10:02 pm

All I hear is people talking about money. Think about the people who will be able to afford rent if this is built. Not only does MidPen provide housing but they aim to stabilize and improve their residents lives through onsite services, after school programs, health education and financial literacy. These developments change lives.


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