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Mountain View pours $15M into North Bayshore's first affordable housing project

A four-story, all-affordable housing project could soon be built next door to tech giants in Mountain View's North Bayshore neighborhood. Rendering courtesy city of Mountain View

Mountain View city officials are moving briskly to approve an all-affordable housing project -- including units for the homeless -- located next door to some of the Bay Area's biggest tech powerhouses.

It's the kind of project that might spark protests in other neighborhoods, with residents raising concerns about traffic and the prospect of the chronically homeless living nearby. But things are different when your neighbors are Microsoft offices and Google buildings.

Council members unanimously agreed last week to commit $15 million toward building a 100-unit apartment complex at 1100 La Avenida, proposed by the nonprofit Eden Housing. The project would bulldoze a vacant office building and replace it with the affordable units, all of which will be available to those making between 30% and 60% of the area's median annual income, which ranges from $47,370 to $94,740 for a family of four.

It's a high price for the city, which will be pitching in $150,000 per unit, but much cheaper than previous public subsidies by the city.

North Bayshore is undergoing the first steps of a major transformation into a mixed-use, urban neighborhood, replacing sprawling single-story office campuses with high-density housing and offices. While 1100 La Avenida isn't the first housing project in the pipeline for the area, it's the first all-affordable project.

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The only current nearby residents, who live at the Santiago Villa mobile home park, gave a full-throated endorsement of the project at the meeting. The move stands in sharp contrast to past efforts to place supportive housing for the homeless elsewhere in Mountain View.

"The city needs this," said Trey Bornmann, president of the Santiago Villa Neighborhood Association. "I don't think there is going to be any other neighborhood that is going to say, 'Bring this project right next to us.'"

Eden Housing reached a purchase agreement for the property in 2016, right around the time land costs in North Bayshore were on the rise, buying the 1-acre property for $12.2 million. Add in construction and development costs, and Eden is expecting to pay a total of $78.5 million to create North Bayshore's first affordable housing project. It's the highest per-unit cost for affordable housing in the city to date, and leverages a variety of financing strategies to make it pencil out.

One critical source of cash is Santa Clara County's $950 million Measure A bond. The 2016 measure has been used to build affordable housing throughout the county, but North County cities including Mountain View and Palo Alto have yet to tap into the funding. Eden Housing's project would be the first, using $19 million in Measure A money.

In exchange, 33 of the units in the project will be available as permanent supportive housing for the county's chronically homeless population, who will require case management, rental assistance and on-site support services while living in the units. Residents will be selected via a countywide waiting list, and there will not be a preference for those who live or work in Mountain View. City officials say "targeted marketing" will be done to ensure as many homeless people in Mountain View as possible sign up.

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The funding won full support of the council, but not without some misgivings. Councilwoman Lisa Matichak, who supported the project, said she worried about the available parking and the need for future residents to get around. Though the area has a bus stop and access to the city's municipal shuttle, North Bayshore is a desert when it comes to retail and neighborhood services like grocery stores.

"Odds are they are going to take a car," Matichak said.

Councilman John McAlister suggested the $78 million cost isn't worth the investment, and made a pitch for the city buying and repurposing existing apartments currently on the market. Doing so would be cheaper, he said, and would put the city in direct control of its affordable housing stock.

"Here is a property that is naturally affordable -- it exists right now -- and it's up for sale," McAlister said, pointing to one property on the market. "And they're advertising to tear it down and put in other project. We need to start taking a look at those opportunities."

Eden is hoping to get final approval from the city by the end of 2021 and begin construction by the end of 2022, with the project finished and open in the third quarter of 2024. Eden could opt for a quicker approval through SB 35, a new state law that allows for streamlined approval of affordable housing projects, but representatives from Eden did not disclose whether they planned to use the by-right housing law.

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Mountain View pours $15M into North Bayshore's first affordable housing project

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 2:11 pm

Mountain View city officials are moving briskly to approve an all-affordable housing project -- including units for the homeless -- located next door to some of the Bay Area's biggest tech powerhouses.

It's the kind of project that might spark protests in other neighborhoods, with residents raising concerns about traffic and the prospect of the chronically homeless living nearby. But things are different when your neighbors are Microsoft offices and Google buildings.

Council members unanimously agreed last week to commit $15 million toward building a 100-unit apartment complex at 1100 La Avenida, proposed by the nonprofit Eden Housing. The project would bulldoze a vacant office building and replace it with the affordable units, all of which will be available to those making between 30% and 60% of the area's median annual income, which ranges from $47,370 to $94,740 for a family of four.

It's a high price for the city, which will be pitching in $150,000 per unit, but much cheaper than previous public subsidies by the city.

North Bayshore is undergoing the first steps of a major transformation into a mixed-use, urban neighborhood, replacing sprawling single-story office campuses with high-density housing and offices. While 1100 La Avenida isn't the first housing project in the pipeline for the area, it's the first all-affordable project.

The only current nearby residents, who live at the Santiago Villa mobile home park, gave a full-throated endorsement of the project at the meeting. The move stands in sharp contrast to past efforts to place supportive housing for the homeless elsewhere in Mountain View.

"The city needs this," said Trey Bornmann, president of the Santiago Villa Neighborhood Association. "I don't think there is going to be any other neighborhood that is going to say, 'Bring this project right next to us.'"

Eden Housing reached a purchase agreement for the property in 2016, right around the time land costs in North Bayshore were on the rise, buying the 1-acre property for $12.2 million. Add in construction and development costs, and Eden is expecting to pay a total of $78.5 million to create North Bayshore's first affordable housing project. It's the highest per-unit cost for affordable housing in the city to date, and leverages a variety of financing strategies to make it pencil out.

One critical source of cash is Santa Clara County's $950 million Measure A bond. The 2016 measure has been used to build affordable housing throughout the county, but North County cities including Mountain View and Palo Alto have yet to tap into the funding. Eden Housing's project would be the first, using $19 million in Measure A money.

In exchange, 33 of the units in the project will be available as permanent supportive housing for the county's chronically homeless population, who will require case management, rental assistance and on-site support services while living in the units. Residents will be selected via a countywide waiting list, and there will not be a preference for those who live or work in Mountain View. City officials say "targeted marketing" will be done to ensure as many homeless people in Mountain View as possible sign up.

The funding won full support of the council, but not without some misgivings. Councilwoman Lisa Matichak, who supported the project, said she worried about the available parking and the need for future residents to get around. Though the area has a bus stop and access to the city's municipal shuttle, North Bayshore is a desert when it comes to retail and neighborhood services like grocery stores.

"Odds are they are going to take a car," Matichak said.

Councilman John McAlister suggested the $78 million cost isn't worth the investment, and made a pitch for the city buying and repurposing existing apartments currently on the market. Doing so would be cheaper, he said, and would put the city in direct control of its affordable housing stock.

"Here is a property that is naturally affordable -- it exists right now -- and it's up for sale," McAlister said, pointing to one property on the market. "And they're advertising to tear it down and put in other project. We need to start taking a look at those opportunities."

Eden is hoping to get final approval from the city by the end of 2021 and begin construction by the end of 2022, with the project finished and open in the third quarter of 2024. Eden could opt for a quicker approval through SB 35, a new state law that allows for streamlined approval of affordable housing projects, but representatives from Eden did not disclose whether they planned to use the by-right housing law.

Comments

Christopher Chiang
Registered user
North Bayshore
on Dec 14, 2020 at 9:29 pm
Christopher Chiang, North Bayshore
Registered user
on Dec 14, 2020 at 9:29 pm

Regarding the part written by Kevin Forestieri, "It's the kind of project that might spark protests in other neighborhoods, with residents raising concerns about traffic and the prospect of the chronically homeless living nearby. But things are different when your neighbors are Microsoft offices and Google buildings."

This project is right next to the Santiago Villa Mobile Home Park, and when the project was presented to our neighborhood association, we overwhelmingly supported it, despite knowing it would add traffic to our two exit points from North Bayshore. Our neighborhood and its association also stood against Measure C, despite our community having among the the highest rates of RVs parked on Pear and Space Park Way adjacent to Santiago Villa.

I understand why people are against housing and don't want RVs on public streets, but it is worth stated for the record, a community of residents at Santiago Villa who often feel overlooked have extended their empathy to those facing even greater housing insecurity. Even more than empathy, Santiago Villa neighborhood will be embracing additional hardships to lend a hand to our neighbors.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Dec 15, 2020 at 11:02 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2020 at 11:02 am

And ... comments like this that show empathy for the poor, the less fortunate, are IMO part of the reason why Christopher Chiang was elected AGAIN to a Trusteeship of our local public school system (Mountain View Whisman - PK-8th). Christopher, CONGRADULATION on taking your oath of office Monday evening!

I am a bit disappointed in my UC Berkeley alumni (Business) politico friend John McAlister. This new project probably needs to be IN ADDITION to his own, very good suggestions on the price-per-unit advantage of older apartment buildings. The PUBLIC POLICY implication in John's suggestion is: Does the City administration have the 'bandwidth' to run a public housing agency? Does this (and future) city Council(s) want to be responsible for running, for decades and decades, a public housing agency? Maybe - this is one of those cases where the Bush era idea of "a thousand points of light" (well run NGO, non-government organization non-profit corporations) works better than direct-government run programs.


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Dec 15, 2020 at 11:18 am
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2020 at 11:18 am

re: "It's the kind of project that might spark protests in other neighborhoods, with residents raising concerns about traffic and the prospect of the chronically homeless living nearby."

Kudos to the Santiago Villa/North Bayshore community for showing so much compassion (time and time again).

While I'm certainly glad to see Mountain View finally use Measure A money, it's worth noting that a few months ago the City Council pushed back against using these funds for another 100% affordable project downtown (parking lot near City Hall).


Dan Waylonis
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Dec 15, 2020 at 2:17 pm
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2020 at 2:17 pm

$780k per unit? Are you kidding? This is exactly why the city should NEVER be involved in any kind of construction. At all.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Dec 15, 2020 at 7:46 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Dec 15, 2020 at 7:46 pm

In response to Dan Waylonis you wrote:

“$780k per unit? Are you kidding? This is exactly why the city should NEVER be involved in any kind of construction. At all.”

What is your answer to providing more housing?

You tell us the Private Sector should not build any affordable housing because it is too expensive and that it is not necessary. Really NOT necessary, because there is PLENTY of OVERPRICED and OVERBUILT LUXURY HOUSING that you want the public funds to insure their profits. So, your answer is to use the high-cost housing on those that can’t afford it without government money.

That is just ridiculous because it was the private housing sector that caused this affordable housing shortage problem and you know it.

Now you say the PUBLIC sector should be prevented to build affordable housing as well. WHY? Because you know the more affordable units there are, the less desire to subsidize the overpriced and overbuilt luxury units. Thus, the demand for those units goes down, resulting in lower prices for those who do have good incomes.

You just don’t like the housing industry to possibly have the same problems that the healthcare insurance industry had to deal with when the ACA was made into law, allowing for PUBLIC options of health insurance. That forced the PRIVATE health insurance companies to become more efficient or lose higher profits.

I think we should start doing more of this because it is only making a small dent on the ABAG RHNA deficit the City is still in. Which is going to take many more of these to balance.

Of course there is one other factor, the current prices have fallen so bad in the City of Mountain View if you keep an eye4 on the Zumper Mountain View Average Rent website here (Web Link) Maybe the fact that so much in the local Tech Corporations moving out of the valley might result in those properties to continue to collapse to the point of being affordable housing all by itself?

Now that is a nightmare to all the “investors” that expected any Return on Investment. But that was the poker game they gambled in.


Groot
Registered user
Willowgate
on Dec 16, 2020 at 11:38 am
Groot, Willowgate
Registered user
on Dec 16, 2020 at 11:38 am

Why would anyone be surprised that Mountain View Council members, leaning politically slightly to the left of Leon Trotsky, be interested in spending public funds to bring like minded voters to the city?

What is a surprise is the Mountain View residents continue to elect grifters.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Dec 16, 2020 at 1:17 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Dec 16, 2020 at 1:17 pm

In response to Groot who wrote:

“Why would anyone be surprised that Mountain View Council members, leaning politically slightly to the left of Leon Trotsky, be interested in spending public funds to bring like minded voters to the city?”

WOW! But here is the truth as well, Margaret Abe Koga and Lisa Matichak did the SAME thing. They targeted the voter they JUDGED were their enemies and expelled them from the City of Mountain View. Lisa Matichak herself was abusing her position and got caught at it. You in fact are the kind of person that if you cannot get your way, you will try to claim cheating, which in effect was ALREADY done by your team. A classic Trumpian logic and strategy. So when you wrote:

“What is a surprise is the Mountain View residents continue to elect grifters.”

The definition of a grifter can be(Web Link.):

“If there's one type of person you don't want to trust, it's a grifter: someone who cheats others out of money. Grifters are also known as chiselers, defrauders, gougers, scammers, swindlers, and flim-flam men. Selling a bridge and starting a Ponzi scheme are things a grifter might do.”

So far, the only group that really falls under that category is the Real Estate Agents, Appraisers, and Landlords. The City is not involved in chiseling because they are not cheating the City citizens. They are not defrauders because they are honest and transparent to the City citizens. They are not gougers, whereas it is almost certain that landlords and real estate agents have been gouging the market. You have provided no proof that they are involved in a scam because there is no fraud and there was no dishonesty, the City Council members are transparent regarding their work and intent. They cannot be swindlers because again they were transparent regarding their positions and intent. And again, they are not flim-flaming anyone, they were transparent from the beginning so there is no deception of confidence game here.

Thus no one here is a grifter.

This is nothing but another RED SCARE attempt.


Raymond
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Dec 17, 2020 at 2:45 pm
Raymond , Monta Loma
Registered user
on Dec 17, 2020 at 2:45 pm

I just wonder about flood insurance (subsidized, of course) and public expense of protecting north-of-Bayshore from floods in the future.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Dec 18, 2020 at 7:54 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Dec 18, 2020 at 7:54 am

Will GOOGLE owned commercial buildings get public paid flood protection and (yearly) subsidized flood insurance? Probably. "It's complicated" - ain't that the song lyrics? (and the micro-economics)

Merry Christmas - and Good Will to All (poor renters and job providing companies included)


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