102 affordable apartments in upscale southern Marin community sold

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EAH Housing announced Wednesday the acquisition of The Hilarita Apartments in Tiburon. The property has 102 units, including one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments.

The property sold March 25 for $100 under federal rules that require transfers of subsidized properties between qualified nonprofits, according to San Rafael-based EAH. More than 200 people live at The Hilarita, including working families, middle- and high school-aged students, and low-income senior citizens, according to EAH.

“Acquiring The Hilarita is part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability and the preservation of affordable housing,” said Welton Jordan, vice president of real estate development for EAH Housing. “Through the EAH Housing Stewardship Initiative, we are ensuring that affordable rents are kept available in communities with high housing costs, and committing that EAH is ready to assist when the status of affordable properties are threatened or a board is in need of external support from a likeminded non-profit.”

The purchase of the property from the Hilarita-Tiburon Ecumenical Association will enable EAH Housing to renovate and preserve the property, the nonprofit said. Rehabilitation work is set to begin next year.

The majority of the units at The Hilarita are restricted to households earning up to half the area median income, according to EAH. Marin County has the highest median adjusted gross income by county in California, at $63,110 a year, according to the state Franchise Tax Board.

Of all the units, 91 are covered by project-based HUD Section 8 vouchers for rent equal to 30 percent of a household's income. Designated fair-market monthly rent for the area ranges from $2,499 for a one-bedroom unit to $4,346 for four bedrooms, the organization said.

“EAH Housing is taking ownership of an affordable housing development it built more than 40 years ago for a local church group,” said Leelee Thomas, planning manager for Marin County Community Development Agency, in the announcement. “This is a prime example of how the County of Marin works with non-profit organizations to provide housing stability to the most vulnerable populations and encourage socio-economic diversity in our communities.”

The property was built in 1975 by EAH Housing as part of the former Section 236 program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That program encouraged the development of multifamily affordable housing.

“We’re excited that EAH Housing was able to purchase The Hilarita,” said Carolyn Grey, board president of the association, in the announcement. “For the last two years, EAH has been managing the property, and knows the needs of the community. They have the resources and the expertise to provide quality affordable housing to our residents - people who have lived in Tiburon for years.”

Founded in 1968, EAH Housing develops and manages low-income multifamily housing for working families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. About 20,000 people live in its 110-plus properties in 55 locales in California and Hawaii. The organization said it is one of the largest nonprofit housing development and management organizations in the Western U.S.

Correction and updates: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development restricts the sale of property at market rate and limits the sale to another qualified nonprofit, according to EAH Housing. EAH purchased the property for $100. Marin County recorded the transaction at full market value of $8.53 million.

This story was updated with EAH details on rent subsidies at The Hilarita and market lease rates.

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