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Sunnyvale Affordable Housing Project Breaks Ground

Sunnyvale, CA – On Wednesday, March 23, a group of public and private partners gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of Sunnyvale Block 15, a much-needed affordable housing development that will serve Sunnyvale’s low-income families and households with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The 1.44-acre site located at the northwest corner of W. Iowa and S. Mathilda Avenues consists of six City of Sunnyvale-owned parcels and was approved for redevelopment by the City of Sunnyvale Planning Commission with significant community support in April of 2020.

“Planning for affordable housing has always been a priority for Sunnyvale,” said City of Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein. “Thanks in part to City-owned land and $17 million in City funds, this development will create new permanent housing for lower-income and developmentally disabled community members. It’s also in a terrific location near public transportation and our vibrant downtown. We are delighted to see construction begin and look forward to our continued partnership with Related to bring this project to fruition.”

Planning for the development began in 2016 when the City of Sunnyvale selected the development team of Related California, Affordable Housing Access, Housing Choices Coalition, and Steinberg Hart to redevelop Block 15, located within the Downtown Specific Plan Area. Since then, the extensive list of public and private partners has grown to include Project Access, County of Santa Clara, Santa Clara Housing Authority, San Andreas Regional Center (SARC), California Department of Developmental Services (DDS), Wells Fargo, Citibank, Housing Trust Silicon Valley and Google.

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“The Housing Authority is always excited when we can allocate project-based vouchers to a new development and get families into stable, affordable housing,” said Santa Clara County Housing Authority Executive Director Preston Prince. “With Sunnyvale Block 15, we’ll have the chance to connect 22 families to a new home and project-based rental assistance.”

At full buildout, this vital development will include seven townhomes and one 4-story apartment building, providing 90 affordable homes to residents earning 30-80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), with 25 percent of units set aside for tenants with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The mix of units will include 12 studio apartments, 32 1-bedroom, 23 2-bedroom, and 23 3-bedroom apartments. Housing Choices Coalition, a local community-engaged nonprofit, will provide targeted on-site supportive services for residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and Affordable Housing Access’s affiliate Project Access providing on-site social services for all residents.

“We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with stakeholders and partners to bring this development forward to this milestone,” said Ann Silverberg, CEO of Related California Northern California Affordable and Northwest Divisions. “Addressing California’s acute affordable housing shortfall is key to Related California’s mission, and we are pleased to be involved in such an impactful development in an ideal location in Sunnyvale.”

Designed by Steinberg Hart, Block 15 will be the transition from the Mathilda Avenue commercial corridor to the Washington Park single-family neighborhood. The GreenPoint Rated development has been thoughtfully designed with green building features, including photovoltaic panels, low water planting and efficient irrigation.

“This is what I hoped to see when I urged the Board of Supervisors in 2018 to commit $40 million to help create affordable housing for people of modest means with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. “Our collaboration with public and private partners means we’re closer to having more homes in our community where folks can live safely and independently, regardless of their circumstances.”

“This project is a testament to the partnership that private and public entities can make in ensuring that all people have a safe and affordable place to live, and in their communities,” said San Andreas Regional Center Executive Director Javier Zaldivar. “San Andreas Regional Center is committed to supporting developers in creating affordable and safe living opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.”

Several elected officials and project leaders were present to commemorate the ceremonial groundbreaking of Sunnyvale Block 15 including City of Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Housing Authority Executive Director Preston Prince, Santa Clara Office of Supportive Housing Director Consuelo Hernandez, San Andreas Regional Center Executive Director Javier Zaldivar, Google Head of Local Government Affairs and Public Policy for California Javier Gonzales, Related California Northern California Affordable and Northwest Divisions CEO Ann Silverberg and Deputy Executive Director of CDLAC/CTCAC, Ricki Hammett.

“Sunnyvale has been a great place for Google to call home for almost eight years, and as we grow here, it’s important to us that we continue to invest and respond to the needs of this community,” said Javier González, Google’s Head of Local Government Affairs and Public Policy, California. “We’re honored to be part of today’s milestone and thrilled to be one step closer to realizing much-needed affordable housing for Sunnyvale residents.”

Sunnyvale Block 15 is being financed with conventional debt, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and Project Based Section 8 Vouchers. The development is anticipated to be completed in Fall 2023.

“We are thrilled to have provided early financing for these safe and stable affordable homes in the heart of Sunnyvale—in the center of Silicon Valley— addressing the housing affordability challenges faced by so many of our community members,” said Noni Ramos, CEO of Housing Trust Silicon Valley. “I am immensely proud of this project and the public-private partnerships that made this development possible.”

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