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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, June 22, 2009, 1:54 pm

Healdsburg breaks ground on green, affordable rental housing

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    Healdsburg housing projectHEALDSBURG – Healdsburg Family Housing held a ceremonial ground-breaking for an affordable and green housing development on its site near downtown Healdsburg Wednesday.

    Construction on the city-owned land began two months ago, and the project is already 20 percent complete. The development is designed in accordance with the Build It Green GreenPoints rating system and expects to score 100 points. Also, being an affordable housing project, to qualify for funding through housing tax credits, the development will exceed Title 24 energy standards by at least 15 percent.

    “The city of Healdsburg is committed to expanding affordable housing opportunities for our residents,” said Eric Ziedrich, mayor of Healdsburg. “We want to provide high-quality, healthy green communities such as Healdsburg Family Housing for our low-income residents. Our partnership with Eden Housing helps us achieving our affordable and green-building goals.”

    Funding for the development is provided by the city, Silicon Valley Bank, U.S. Bancorp with 9 percent low-income housing tax credits and Federal Home Loan Bank AHP funds. U.S. Bank is investing $16.6 million in the project in exchange for tax credits.

    The development is designed for families earning 30 percent to 50 percent of the area median income, which is $32,100 for a family of two, $36,100 for a family of three and up to $40,100 for a family of four.

    Several years ago the city held a competition between nonprofit developers for the opportunity to develop the 3.18 acres. The Hayward-based affordable-housing developer Eden Housing won and worked with BAR Architects based in San Francisco to design a sustainable housing development. BAR itself was recently named a green business by the city of San Francisco.

    “It is a challenge in cities like Healdsburg to find sites for affordable housing,” said Linda Mandolini, executive director of Eden Housing. “But Healdsburg has been visionary in terms of its commitment to affordable housing.”

    There will be 64 family rental apartments with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Apartments will be arranged in 11 residential buildings with a community building on Grant Street.

    The community building will have space for recreational activities and have a computer lab and kitchen.

    Eden Housing is partnering with the local chapters of the Boys and Girls clubs to have their afterschool programs onsite in the community room.

    Green features of the development include solar hot water for the laundry rooms, photovoltaic electricity for the common areas, landscaping designed to minimize irrigation, recycled construction waste, Energy Star appliances and low-VOC paint.

    “Additionally,” said Ms. Mandolini, “we will provide staff and residents with training on the equipment and green features of the project.”

    In addition to the Boys and Girls Club being onsite, Eden provides residents with homework clinics and summer programs.

    One of the summer programs is the Digital Connectors program. Students age 13 to 18 who participate become quite adept at technology, Ms. Mandolini said. In San Jose, there are 50 kids involved with the local library, volunteering their time.

    “It is a win-win situation,” she said. “It is academic, but it also fosters knowledge of community service and its impact in the community.”

    Eden Housing has done four other affordable and green projects in Sonoma County.

    “This project is particularly exciting because of the location,” said Ms. Mandolini. “In addition to the green features, the location makes it possible for residents to walk to the local grocery store and other amenities, making it an even greener development.”

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