USA accepting applications for Virginia Street Studios in San Jose

USA Properties Fund has started accepting applications for Virginia Street Studios, a soon-to-open affordable apartment community for residents at least 55 years old looking to right-size and enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle with a long list of amenities, including a community room and rooftop deck.

When completed in November, Virginia Street Studios will become the largest affordable apartment community for seniors in San Jose – and one of only a few modular construction multifamily projects in Silicon Valley, which cuts construction costs and the timeline.

“There is such a great need for affordable housing in the Bay Area, especially in San Jose,” said Sara Goldstein, Senior Asset Manager for The Pacific Companies. The Eagle, Idaho-based company is the developer of Virginia Street Studios, and has two other affordable apartment communities in San Jose. “Modular construction was a good option for Virginia Street Studios, and helps open the door to housing quicker for residents.”

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ENJOYING EVERYTHING OUR DOWNTOWN HAS TO OFFER’

From empty-nesters and retirees dreaming of downsizing to hardworking employees seeking a closer-to-work and lower-cost housing option, Virginia Street Studios could be just the right fit.

The 301-apartment community – located at 295 E. Virginia Street, at the intersection of Seventh Street – is just a few blocks from downtown and close to several neighborhood markets, dozens of restaurants, San Jose State University and a Walmart Supercenter.

“As we look to provide more housing options for our aging residents, projects like Virginia Street Studios can serve as a model for future developments,” said San Jose City Councilmember Raul Peralez, whose district includes Virginia Street Studios. “The location, amenities and cost of the units will allow these residents to continue to live in our growing city and enjoy everything our downtown has to offer.”

San Jose City Councilmember Raul Peralez

Virginia Street Studios also has easy access to Freeways 101, 280 and 87, and the Valley Transportation Authority bus and light-rail system that connects with Bay Area Rapid Transit at the Berryessa Transit Center.

“Virginia Street Studios is centrally located, whether you want to enjoy the neighborhood or the entire Bay Area, and has everything residents need,” said Angie Watson, Regional Manager for USA Properties Fund.

AMENITIES WITH A VIEW

It’s affordable and amenities-rich living in the heart of Silicon Valley – without the hefty rent. More than one of every three (34%) of renters in San Jose spend at least 30% of their income on housing, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

Virginia Street Studios is below that level, allowing low-income residents to spend less on rent, especially critical as the cost of everything, from food to gas, continues to increase at a historic pace.

Residents who earn 50% to 60% of the area median income for Santa Clara County – about $59,000 to $71,000 for a two-person household – are eligible for Virginia Street Studios. The studios rent for $1,436 to $1,600 per month, hundreds of dollars less than nearby market-rate apartment communities with studios, according to industry tracker Zumper.

But affordable is far from basic – or boring.

Apartments feature air conditioning, a ceiling fan, full-size appliances and vinyl plank flooring.  

And residents have access to a long list of community amenities, including a community room, fitness room, a picnic area with barbecues, a second-floor courtyard, and a seventh-floor rooftop deck with seating areas. The apartment community also has on-site laundry facilities, multiple elevators and controlled access for security.

LARGER LIFE IN A SMALL SPACE

But the best amenity could be enjoying a larger life in a smaller space, without the maintenance and yard work.

“Living in a studio is really about decluttering and simplifying your life, and focusing on what you want to do rather than what you have to do,” Watson said. “It’s also about changing your idea of home. The apartment is where you cook, shower and sleep. But the entire building should feel like home, since there are so many things to enjoy and some great spaces to hang out and relax.”

USA Properties is the property manager and an investor-partner of Virginia Street Studios along with The Pacific Companies and Autovol.

Nampa, Idaho-based Autovol combines highly skilled construction industry employees with robotic automation for next-generation modular construction. The company’s crews design and build sections of Virginia Street Studios at the Autovol factory and are then shipped about 670 miles to the site. “Automation and robotics will lead the world into the future of housing,” said Rick Murdock, Chief Executive Officer of Autovol. “Our investors and employees leaned in with lots of confidence, and now we’re seeing great results.”

Interested in living at Virginia Street Studios?

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Rendering showing the exterior of Virginia Street Studios, currently under construction in San Jose, CA

USA Properties Fund completes lease up of Vintage at Sycamore

As of February 28th, the lease up of Vintage at Sycamore, a 99-unit affordable senior apartment community, has been completed, a little less than a year after construction began.

This lease up was a monumental effort led by Teri Brown, Regional Manager, and Megan Underwood, Compliance Manager, who, along with their teams, processed and moved in 99 households in a 30-day period.

Vintage at Sycamore 100 percent occupied sign

In addition to the leadership of Teri and Megan, we would like to acknowledge those that worked tirelessly to lease apartments, process applications, and get the apartments and buildings ready for residents to call home. This includes:

• Madeleine Garcia, Community Manager, Vintage Crest Senior Apartments
• Joanne Salinas, Community Manager, Vintage Paseo Senior Apartments
• Daniel York, Community Manager, Avenida Crossing
• Megan Bonham, District Compliance Auditor
• Ben Viramontes, Maintenance Supervisor
• Kerry Eldredge, Senior Superintendent, USA Construction Management
• Nancy Menchaca, Assistant Superintendent, USA Construction Management
• Mark McDermott, Project Manager, USA Construction Management
• John Kozler, Senior Project Manager, USA Construction Management

USA Properties completes ‘beautiful’ Sierra Sunrise rehabilitation

$5.7 million investment adds long list of amenities and modern features while helping residents to age in place at affordable senior apartment community

USA Properties Fund has completed an extensive rehabilitation project of Sierra Sunrise in Carmichael, one of its largest-ever efforts for an existing property.

From new appliances, cabinets, flooring and lighting in the 119 apartments to converting a little-used indoor spa into a much-in-demand fitness center, the rehabilitation project has given a modern look to a community that opened in 1976.

“Walking into the building, I was very excited,” resident Dawn Jenkins said of her first time seeing the completed project. “It’s beautiful. It’s so well decorated, so well done.”

Sierra Sunrise – an affordable community for low- to very-low-income residents at least 62 years old just east of Sacramento – underwent a complete floor-to-roof rehabilitation. USA Properties, one of the largest developer-owner-managers of affordable apartment communities in the West, bought Sierra Sunrise in 2004.

“It doesn’t even look like the same space,” said Yvonne McDonald, Community Manager of the affordable senior apartment community. “It surpassed my expectations.”

The 18-month project included the easy-to-see – such as new furniture and paint – but also many behind-the-scenes improvements, like the installation of the company’s second-largest photovoltaic system that will cut energy costs and help the environment.

“We’re always looking at how to improve our apartment communities,” said USA Properties President Geoff Brown. “Sierra Sunrise is an example of what is possible, and how we can turn a decades-old building into a more comfortable, functional and modern community.”

‘They’re living in a brand-new home’

Residents are back home enjoying their new apartments and the community.

“It was nice to see the response from residents and to give them a home this nice,” said Construction Project Manager John Kelly, who oversaw the $5.7 million project. “They are very appreciative. They’re living in a brand-new home.”

Some of the changes include an extensive facelift to the community/dining room; a craft room with a kitchen where residents can enjoy hobbies and prepare their own meals; a comfortable media room for movie night; and a cozy library with floor-to-ceiling shelves and two computer stations.

Jenkins appreciates her just-like-new apartment, including the additional cabinet space and the new, black refrigerator. She also applauds the doubling of washers and dryers in the laundry rooms, and likes the new seating area near the main entrance, perfect for a late-night get-together with friends.

“There are so many areas that we put in for residents to congregate and share space,” said Megan Underwood, Compliance Manager for USA Multifamily Management. “Everything was to create a feeling of community.”

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Catering kitchen and on-site registered nursing program helps residents to age in place

Part of building “community” includes helping residents to age in place with their friends and remain at Sierra Sunrise as long as possible, a long-standing mission of USA Properties, said Tami Pedroia, a Senior Regional Manager for USA Properties.

For example, a catering kitchen with a commercial refrigerator and freezer and retherm tower will help Meals on Wheels provide meals every weekday to residents after the Covid pandemic. A free, on-site registered nursing program that meets with residents twice a week has a new office. And a sidewalk now goes around the entire property, allowing residents – some with limited mobility – to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

The sidewalk passes through an outdoor area that includes a new dog run, gazebos, a barbecue area with seating, and raised planters where residents can put their gardening skills to work.

“I love the sidewalk that goes clear around the building,” said Jenkins, who walks her dog along the path daily and oversees the raised planters in the garden for residents. “It’s freedom.”

From the remodeled community room to the patio with seating areas, “everything allows residents to socialize,” said McDonald, who has been part of the community management team since 2016.

Careful planning to relocate residents

Construction started in spring 2020, and the company was committed to cause as little disruption as possible to residents during the long-term rehabilitation project.

“We had to have a very strategic approach,” Pedroia added. “But, overall, it went very smoothly.”

Jenkins, who has lived at Sierra Sunrise since 2015, agrees.

“I knew with any remodel, there would be some inconvenience, but they kept it at a minimum,” Jenkins said. “Management went above and beyond.”

And the end result was well received by residents living in the 65 studios and 54 one-bedroom homes. They appreciate the new flooring, fixtures, LED lighting and Quartz countertops.

“Once all the dust settled, some were in tears,” said McDonald, adding that one resident didn’t want to leave her apartment during construction but was pleasantly surprised when she returned to her new home. “She cried about leaving … and she cried when she came back.”

Introducing Aurora, a 162-apartment community in Gold River, CA

Amenities include a clubhouse, heated swimming pool, dog park and bike repair station

GOLD RIVER, Calif. – USA Properties Fund Inc. has started construction on Aurora, a bike-friendly, luxury apartment community in Gold River, with easy access to the American River Parkway, restaurants, shopping, public transit and Highway 50.

The 162-apartment community, located at 2220 Cemo Circle, is the first new multifamily development in almost two decades in Gold River, a master-planned community known for its miles of nature trails, mature trees and lush landscaping about a mile south of the American River in Sacramento County.

“Aurora will be a one-of-a-kind apartment community that offers something for everyone, whether you’re an avid cyclist or a family that enjoys a leisurely walk to a nearby coffeehouse or the grocery store,” said Geoff Brown, President of USA Properties Fund. “We’ve been looking at this property for years, and are excited about the opportunity.”

The apartment community – featuring one, two and three-bedroom homes – will have a long list of amenities, including a clubhouse with a fitness room, hospitality kitchen and multiple lounge areas; a heated swimming pool; and a dog park and pet-wash area. The first residents could start moving in March 2022.

“It will be a real eye-opener in a wonderful community,” said Gabe Gardner of the USA Properties’ acquisition team. “It’s a suburban infill site that is pretty rare to find.”

Housing and transportation

The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) bought the eight-acre parcel for a possible park-and-ride lot for the nearby Sunrise light-rail extension in 1986. But two decades later, SacRT determined the land was not needed for its original purpose and started looking for a multifamily developer to help meet Sacramento County’s housing needs. SacRT and USA Properties have been in discussions for the property the past few years, and completed the transaction in recent weeks.

“Lack of housing is an ongoing challenge in the Sacramento region, and we are glad to see much-needed high-density housing will be built on this vacant property,” said SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li. “This is a perfect example of how public and private entities can partner together to improve the livability of the region.”

Aurora will offer more housing – and more options for residents to get around the Sacramento region.

The apartment community will help boost public transit ridership, with a bus stop a few blocks away and a half-mile from the Sunrise light rail station with direct routes on the Gold Line to downtown Sacramento and Historic Folsom. Aurora is also a couple blocks from Sunrise Boulevard – a popular north-south route – and a half-mile from Highway 50.

And Aurora will likely become a popular choice for those who prefer pedal power to horsepower. The apartment community will have 179 bike racks and a bike repair station. Residents will be close to the Sunrise Corridor Bikeway that connects with the Jebediah Smith Memorial Trail that runs along the American River.

A more like-home-feel with quartz countertops, vinyl-plank flooring, and full-size washers and dryers

Aurora will have seven, three-story buildings and a lengthy list of amenities and features for residents. In addition to the clubhouse, fitness room and swimming pool, Aurora will include an outdoor kitchen with barbecue grills, fire pit areas and a large patio.

All apartments will include vinyl-plank flooring, stainless-steel appliances, quartz countertops, a tile backsplash, and a full-size washer and dryer. Two-bedroom and three-bedroom homes will have two bathrooms, including a large, primary bathroom with a walk-in shower, Gardner said. Aurora will have 66 one-bedroom, 84 two-bedroom and 12 three-bedroom homes.

Aurora will include 291 parking spaces, including 24 garages and 162 carports.

Aurora’s more-like-home feel comes as an increase of people, many from the Bay Area, are looking to move to the Sacramento region. The average two-bedroom apartment in the four-county region has soared almost 20% during the past year, the biggest increase among the nation’s largest 100 cities, according to Zumper.

Nella Invest and East West Bank are partners with USA Properties on the $48 million project.

Nella Invest maintains a real estate portfolio spread throughout four western states, consisting of mobile home communities, office buildings, car washes and a Hyatt Place hotel.

“Aurora is our first venture into multifamily housing,” said Richard Teske, Investment Chairman of Nella Invest. “This project and our partnership with USA Properties Fund, are representative of how we seek to partner with industry leaders to bring valued and meaningful product offerings to the communities which we serve.”

USA Properties Fund, one of the leading affordable apartment community developer-builder-managers in the West, continues to expand in the market-rate apartment industry. The 40-year-old company has several market-rate apartment communities completed or in development in California, including two in the Sacramento region – Talavera Apartments in Folsom and Harvest at Fiddyment Ranch in Roseville.

“USA Properties and our partners are investing in the community, and we’re always looking for opportunities,” Brown said. “Every apartment we build – affordable or market-rate – becomes a home, and helps meet the desperate need for more housing in the state.”

Holiday decorations are a much appreciated and needed gift at Vintage Glen

Vintage Glen is decked out for the holidays, bringing some much-needed cheer to residents while following pandemic safety requirements.

Community manager Debbie Reynolds and her hard-working team – assistant community manager Delois and Steve in maintenance – decorated a Christmas tree in the mail area, strung lights on and around the main building and by the pool, and created a holiday winter display worthy of the big-name retailers in New York City (see photos).

“My sincere gratitude to you for everything you have done to help us live the safest and most comfortable life possible during these uncertain times,” said a longtime Vintage Glen resident. “Thanks also for the beautifully decorated and lighted Christmas tree in the mailroom. The message of hope and joy that Christmas brings was sorely needed by a number of residents and gives those who are lacking in mind, body or spirit to reflect on it and draw inspiration and courage.”

Vintage Glen, an affordable apartment community for seniors in Sacramento, closed its clubhouse when the COVID pandemic started to follow safety requirements. But Reynolds came up with an idea to bring some holiday cheer while also keeping residents safe. She replaced the plastic sheet barrier between the clubhouse and the mailroom with a holiday red divider, serving as the perfect backdrop for the community’s holiday tree.

So, when residents grab their mail, they can enjoy some holiday cheer – but not have access to the clubhouse. Of course, residents are following and frequently reminded to wear masks and stay at least 6 feet apartment at Vintage Glen.

“Debbie always goes out of her way, especially for holidays,” said Kristina Scott, regional manager for USA Properties. From Black History Month to Christmas, Reynolds and her team decorate, celebrate and embrace the holidays. “She and her team are amazing.”

USA Multifamily Management notice to residents about COVID-19

Due to the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and our continued concern for the health and well-being of our residents and employees, USA Multifamily Management has decided to initiate additional measures and changes to the community operations.

USA Multifamily Management is committed to supporting local health officials and government leaders in containing the virus. A way to reduce potential virus exposure is through social distancing. With this in mind we will be temporarily closing community gathering spaces, such as the clubroom, pool/spa, fitness center, computer area, craft room, beauty salon, etc. until further notice. At this time, mailrooms and laundry rooms will remain open.

To further mitigate potential virus exposure our community offices will close to the public beginning March 14, 2020. Our team will continue to be available to you via telephone and email. We will be responding to and following up with all resident emails and voicemails at our earliest availability.

Should the need arise for an in-person office visit, these will occur by appointment only. If you are ill or displaying cold-like systems, we ask that you reschedule your appointment and not utilize the available common areas. We are available to communicate with you via telephone or email.

Emergency repairs only during this period

Temporarily, in-home requests for repairs and service will be limited to emergencies only. In the event of an in-home emergency requiring immediate attention let the office know if you are ill, experiencing cold-like symptoms, or are not feeling well. Below is a sample list of the most common emergencies which you should immediately telephone our office:

  • Fire, water intrusion or concerns of personal safety
  • No heat, water, or electricity that is not the result of utility company shut-off
  • Non-operable smoke detectors, broken windows, broken door locks, etc.
  • Clogged toilet
  • Clogged kitchen sink
  • Appliance failures
  • Lack of heating or air conditioning

Where applicable, food bank distribution programs will be continued, however, social distancing guidelines will be implemented by limiting to no more than 10 residents at a time retrieving their food commodities.

Where applicable, LifeSTEPS services will be provided by appointment only and LifeSTEPS will provide further communication regarding these appointments and after-school programs.

Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19

USA Multifamily Management will continue to monitor the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and make decisions that we feel are in the best interest of our residents and employees. As a reminder here are some coronavirus (COVID-19) resources that may help you stay informed and update on simple steps you can take to avoid illness. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website has great information and resources about Coronavirus and answers to frequently asked questions about the virus available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html In addition, the CDC recommends every day preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illness, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

We also encourage you to stay informed about Coronavirus (COVID -19) by following updates and advice from the local public health authority in your area.

We are continuing to monitor information from these public health authorities and will follow their guidance in the event of an incident or concern at our community.

Newark Station Senior Apartments open in Bay Area

Affordable rent, central location lures seniors to 75-unit community

USA Properties Fund Inc. has completed a much-needed affordable senior apartment community in Newark, offering low-income residents easy access to numerous amenities and public transportation for about half the rent of nearby properties.

Newark Station Senior Apartments – 37433 Willow Street (at the intersection of Enterprise Drive and Willow Street) — is close to neighborhood shopping centers, a library branch, civic center, senior center and public park. The 75-apartment community is also near the Fremont BART Station, Interstate 880 and Highway 84.

“With the opening of the Newark Station, we now have 75 families housed in a wonderfully new complex and, most importantly, at affordable rates,” said Newark Mayor Alan Nagy. “We have a large demand for housing and we look at Newark Station as the model for additional senior housing in our community.”

A community for low-income residents 55 years and older

Newark Station is for residents 55 years and older who earn 60 percent or less of the median annual income for Alameda County – about $48,840 for one person or $55,800 for two people.

“The Bay Area is a very expensive region to find housing, especially for seniors living on a fixed income,” said USA Properties President Geoff Brown. “We’re glad that we could build an apartment community that helps address some of the need, but the demand for affordable housing – and housing overall – easily outpaces the supply.”

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment at Newark Station starts at $1,033 per month — about $1,400 less than the average rent in Newark, according to RENTCafe. Only 10% of apartments in the city rent for less than $2,000 per month.

Newark has a “large demand for senior housing … and the City Council is committed to providing our share of affordable housing in our community,” Mayor Nagy said. “We were delighted when USA Properties applied to build here.”

The $21 million Newark Station features a long list of amenities, from a 2,600-square-foot community clubhouse with a full kitchen and computer workstations to a pet-washing area. The four-story building offers controlled access, on-site laundry facilities and a parking space for each unit.

Apartments will feature ceiling fans, pantry cabinets, and either a balcony or private patio. They will also offer energy-efficient light fixtures, Energy Star appliances and low-flow faucets, shower heads and toilets.

‘An excellent example of what can be accomplished when partners come together’

Master developer Integral Communities chose USA Properties for Newark Station Senior Apartments. Integral donated the land and $4 million for the project. Boston Capital and US Bank also partnered with USA Properties on the project.

“Newark Station is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when partners come together and are committed to a project,” Brown said.

USA Properties Fund is one of the largest developer-owner-managers of affordable apartment communities in the West, with about 90 communities in California and Nevada. The Roseville-based company has also entered the market-rate industry, with communities planned in the Bay Area, the Sacramento region and Southern California.

“California has a tremendous need for more housing, and we are committed to providing quality apartment communities for residents,” Brown said. “With each additional apartment built, affordable and market-rate, we are helping address a critical issue in the state by providing housing to residents.”