[caption id="attachment_19008" align="alignleft" width="188" caption="Project renderings made by Jon Worden in 2010"][/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- Construction of a 52-unit, $12.8 million affordable housing and commercial project in Downtown Santa Rosa is expected to go forward this September, funded by new financing after project developers were unable to obtain highly sought-after affordable housing funds to begin construction shortly after the project’s approval in 2010.

On the corner of Seventh and Humboldt Streets, the five-story project, a partnership between Santa Rosa’s Hugh Futrell Corp. and Community Housing Sonoma County NPR, LLC, will feature commercial space on its ground floor and offer 51 one-, two- and three-bedroom units to low-income tenants, according to Hugh Futrell. The final unit will be for the building manager.

Funding for the project includes $3.1 million from the city of Santa Rosa, a $6.4 million tax-exempt bond authorized by the city and held by Citibank, and $3.3 million in tax credit equity investment dollars from an affiliate of PNC Bank. The owner of the development is Humboldt Apartments L.P., whose general partner is an affiliate of Hugh Futrell, said the company’s CEO of the same name.

“Throughout this onerous process, the city of Santa Rosa has been extremely helpful,” said Mr. Futrell, noting the unsuccessful effort to obtain Multifamily Housing and other funding from the state.

[caption id="attachment_59056" align="alignright" width="360" caption="A former county building will be removed to make way for the 52-unit affordable development."][/caption]

The project, which is expected to begin taking applications in June of 2013, will be open to individuals making between 50-60 percent of the area median income, with rent ranging from $700 to $1,100 after utilities, Mr. Futrell said.

The affordability of the project will be maintained for 55 years and available to tenants of all ages, said Marjorie Jackson, affordable housing program specialist for the city of Santa Rosa.

“The more households you have within walking distance of the downtown, the more of an economic impact you’ll have in the downtown area,” she said.

The Santa Rosa City Council approved the tax-exempt bond to fund the project last week.

Burbank Housing Development Corporation was originally announced as co-general contractor and co-developer of the project in 2010, but discontinued its involvement after the unsuccessful attempt to obtain a deferred payment loan through the state’s Multifamily Housing Program. While the project still serves low-income families, the lack of funds required that tenants be admitted with income levels higher than Burbank Housing targets in its developments, said Pascal Sisich, director of housing development.

Burbank housing remains a strong supporter of the project, said Mr. Sisich.

“It’s definitely something to celebrate,” he said.

The project will include a community room, second-story courtyard and private parking, and is a short walk from Santa Rosa’s downtown core, transit hub and the passenger rail station planned for railroad square . The architect is Healdsburg’s Jon Worden.

Construction is expected to last one year, Mr. Futrell said. A former county building on the site will be demolished.