A below-market-rate housing development slated for construction in the Tasman East Specific Plan area will now feature fewer apartments, but those apartments will be more affordable.
At its Tuesday night meeting, the Santa Clara City Council approved reducing the number of affordable apartments at 2302 Calle Del Mundo from 238 to 150. However, rent on those apartments will now cost roughly $1,100 a month less than before.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the developer, ZAEN Partners, was unable to secure financing for development, Jonathan Veach, the City’s Housing Director, told the Council. The Council had previously approved sacrificing some apartments at moderate income (100 percent area median income) for an increase in low-income apartments.
The approval proved to be an issue after the pandemic hit, and ZAEN Partners, a division of Long Beach-based real estate group Ensemble, were unable to secure financing. To make the deal work, Ensemble is now partnering with Related. The development satisfied the affordable housing component for two projects for each developer.
Veach told the Council that the project’s design hasn’t changed, and it jives with the plan for the area. Further, the project “aligns philosophically” with the City’s affordable housing goals, he added. Over the anticipated 55-year life of the development, he said the original plan generates roughly $16 million in value while the new proposal tops $40 million.
“Why would the City take anything other than 238 units? The answer is in the affordability and the depth of affordability,” Veach said. “You can see the economic value far exceeds the loss of the moderate income units.”
Additionally, the City will recapture a $6 million loan invested into the project and another $6 million will begin trickling in in another seven or eight years, Veach said. The plan, he said, is to inject that money into other affordable housing projects, most likely the one slated for development at 1601 Civic Center Dr.
The entire Council lauded the project. Council Member Teresa O’Neill said the development is much-needed, especially because she has heard that the Association of Bay Area Governments may require Santa Clara to build more affordable housing than it had anticipated being required to build.
“This is a good start, and perhaps it can give us a model for the future,” she said.
The Council approved the changes unanimously.
Worker Retention For Hotel Workers Returns
The Council also approved moving forward with adding hotel workers to the worker retention ordinance, as discussed at its last meeting. However, at the behest of Mayor Lisa Gillmor, it continued the first part of the agenda item to Tuesday, Nov. 10, which was to adopt an emergency ordinance to add worker recall protections for hotel workers. Gillmor said she asked for the continuance to “tighten up a few issues.”
The worker retention portion of the item didn’t undergo many changes from what was proposed at the last meeting. Should a hotel change ownership, the ordinance would require the new owner to retain current employees for at least 90 days. The ordinance would apply to hotels with at least 50 guest rooms, and employees would need to work at least 8 hours a week for 90 days prior to the new ownership to qualify for retention.
“This is something we really need to do,” said O’Neill. “We need to do something for those who have been hit hardest.”
City employees will return to the Council for a second reading after 30 days, during which time they will conduct community outreach to refine the ordinance if necessary. If passed on the second reading, the ordinance would go into effect 30 days after its passing.
City, VTA Enter BART Agreement In Time Crunch
The Council gave the thumbs up to the second phase of a 6-mile extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). The terminus of the $6.86-billion project will be the Santa Clara station.
Because of time constraints, the Council approved the master agreement, which governs the relationship between the City and the Valley Transit Authority (VTA). However, Craig Mobeck, Director of Public Works, told the Council that a few details have been excluded, but the plan is to include them in follow-up agreements.
The station will feature a 500-space parking garage.
Consent Calendar Spending
During the consent calendar, the Council approved a $596,068 contract with Revel Environmental Manufacturing, Inc for maintenance, data collection and reporting for full trash capture devices.
The Council meets again Tuesday, Nov. 10 in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara.
Members of the public can participate in the City Council meetings on Zoom at https://santaclaraca.zoom.us/j/99706759306; Meeting ID: 997-0675-9306 or call 1(669) 900-6833, via the City’s eComment (available during the meeting) or by email to PublicComment@santaclaraca.gov