The Silicon Valley Voice

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Affordable Housing Relief Ahead for Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale is poised to gain some relief from the ongoing housing affordability and supply crisis in the coming years. Earlier this year the City bargained an agreement with developer Related California to design and build an 100 percent affordable housing project on a City-owned property between Charles Street, S. Mathilda and Iowa Avenues.

The site is currently known as “Block 15” (though the name will likely be granted an upgrade as the process progresses) and is located within Sunnyvale’s Downtown Specific Plan. It was also designated by City Council as a site explicitly geared for affordable housing.

“Related responded to an RFP sent out by the City of Sunnyvale and we were attracted by the possibility of creating affordable housing in an expensive area where it’s needed,” said Ann Silverberg, CEO, Related California. “Developing an affordable housing project like this is difficult to do, so the fact that it’s a City-owned property makes it a great opportunity to successfully accomplish.”

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The proposed development will rest on an 1.44-acre site that’s made up of six land parcels located northwest of the intersection of Mathilda and Iowa Avenues. The project is still in the early stages of the entitlement phase and so the bulk of the details have yet to be determined.

However, the project will likely offer between 70 and 90 rental units available only for low-income households whose incomes don’t exceed the incomes required by Federal Tax Credits, and at least 10 percent of the dwelling units will be at an affordability level set at 30 percent of the area media income (AMI). The units would range in size from studios to three bedroom units and 25 percent of the units will be reserved for individuals with developmental disabilities.

“The development’s location in the downtown Sunnyvale and its proximity to amenities such as jobs, shopping and public transit made this site ideal for affordable housing that could serve several client groups,” stated Jaqui Guzman, Deputy City Manager. “With the rise in rents, there is a strong need for affordable rental housing in the community. Therefore, the City Council prioritized the site for affordable housing, especially for extremely low income households making less than 30 percent AMI.”

Community outreach began in June 2017 and the official planning process with the City began last October. Construction is aimed to start in 2020 and be complete in 2021. The completed project would have a full-time on-site manager and other property maintenance staff.

“The project is still in the entitlement phase and so we’re working on the design with the City,” Silverberg explained. “The project will have multiple components but will feel like one building and a cohesive community with common spaces throughout. The details haven’t been solidified but there will certainly be a community room with a kitchen and a courtyard.”

Related is simultaneously working with the City on the design, as well as continuing the community outreach to solicit input from neighbors and working on securing financing for the project. A date for another community meeting hasn’t yet been set, but residents can expect a draft of the plans to be presented at the next gathering.

To learn more, visit www.sunnyvaleblock15.com

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