Santa Rosa’s new Dutton Flats affordable housing project attracts 1,600 applicants
Designed to serve low-income seniors and families with children, the Dutton Flats Apartments is a five-story, 100% affordable 41-unit community at the corner of West Third Street and Dutton Avenue in Santa Rosa.
The Sonoma County site has 11 one-bedroom, 15 two-bedroom and 15 three-bedroom units for those earning 30%–60% of the area median income. It is near U.S. 101 and a half-mile from the SMART station at Railroad Square.
Developers include Phoenix Development of Minneapolis LLC and owners Loren Brueggemann, principal with Phoenix, and Michelle Olson of Dutton Flats LP. They worked with co-developer Integrity Housing and principals Phil Wood and Anjela Ponce in this joint venture.
Dutton Flats residents have walkable access to nearby shops and the Santa Rosa Plaza downtown mall, with a bus stop and close to the city transit hub, with a variety of dining options and entertainment venues including movie theaters, Farmers Market and Courthouse Square events.
The first floor has a property manager’s office, computer center, mail room, fitness center, a bus shelter, bike kitchen and a storage area for residents. There is a game room, community garden, a children’s activity room, laundry room and a centrally-located outdoor patio and picnic area with a BBQ grill. Tenant community rooms are on the first floor.
All units have ample living space incorporating a great room, with an open kitchen, dining and living area. Energy Star appliances are installed throughout the project as well as LED lighting, high-efficiency heating and energy conservation windows and insulation.
According to Brueggemann, financing for Dutton Flats involved a conventional mortgage from Freddie Mac, a $3.1 million loan from the Santa Rosa Housing Authority, and included a 4% low income housing tax credit enacted as part of the 1986 Federal Tax Reform Act.
Construction began in April 2020, and a certificate of occupancy was received Sept. 1, 2021. About 1,600 applicants were on the wait list.
“All units are now spoken for,” Brueggemann said.
The project incorporates sustainable construction best practices, including the use of recycled and repurposed materials, with emphasis on energy and water conservation. Dutton Flats has a solar hot water heating system and a rainwater harvesting process to water drought-tolerant landscaping. An active resident services program is provided, including after school care, English as a second language and other programs addressing residents’ needs.