164-apartment community is ‘an example of how partnerships … are an effective way to creating much-needed housing’
USA Properties Fund has started construction on College Creek, an affordable apartment community in Santa Rosa that will provide much-needed housing to residents that earn a range of income levels under a new state program.
College Creek – located at 2150 W. College Avenue, just west of Highway 101 and north of Highway 12 – could be home to early-in-their career school teachers, hardworking couples with children saving for a house, or retirees living on a fixed income.
College Creek “caters to everyone – families, the working class, seniors,” said Jatin Malhotra, Vice President of Acquisitions for USA Properties. “It’s exciting to see this come together.”
The 164-apartment community will be close to downtown Santa Rosa, large shopping centers, health care providers and several schools, including Piner High School and Santa Rosa Junior College.
College Creek is also near the Santa Rosa Creek Trail and Finley Community Park, which includes sports courts, walking trails and a swimming pool. The apartment community is also next to the Westside Transit Center, served by multiple bus lines that provide connections for the Downtown SMART station.
USA Properties acquired the 7.4-acre site from Sonoma County Community Development Commission, one of the partners on the project along with Bank of America and California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA). The public-private partnership was critical for the $69 million development to move forward.
Members of the partnership are committed to the development that ensures more housing for low-income residents in Sonoma County, where half of all households are considered “cost-burdened,” spending at least 30% of their income on housing, according to the California Housing Partnership.
ONE COMMUNITY, A RANGE OF INCOMES
College Creek apartments will be substantially less than nearby market-rate units in Santa Rosa – and available to residents that earn a wider range of income levels, thanks to CalHFA’s Mixed-Income Program.
“I am thrilled to see CalHFA’s Mixed-Income Program help finance affordable housing for residents of Sonoma County,” said Tiena Johnson Hall, Executive Director of CalHFA. “This development is a great example of how partnerships between local and state government, and private affordable housing developers like USA Properties, are an effective way to creating much-needed housing for people at a mix of lower incomes.”
College Creek – the sixth affordable apartment community in Santa Rosa for USA Properties – should be completed in fall 2023.
“We’ve been working with the City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County for many years, and we share a commitment to provide quality housing that meets the needs of the community,” said Geoff Brown, President of USA Properties.
The company helped the community recover from the devastating Tubbs Fire in October 2017, providing supplies and support to residents for what was then the largest-ever wildfire in California history.
“As Santa Rosa and the North Bay continue to rebuild after so much housing lost to wildfire, the College Creek project from USA Properties adds new, high-quality affordable housing for residents in the region’s workforce,” said Jason Foster, Bank of America North Bay President. “Bank of America was proud to help finance this important housing project.”
College Creek will be available for low-income residents that meet an expanded range of income limits established by the Tax Credit Allocation Committee. With the program, renters earning 30% to 70% of the area’s median income – about $24,450 to $57,050 for a one-person household leasing a one-bedroom apartment – could qualify for College Creek.
“Sonoma County prospers best when it is a place with housing opportunities across the income spectrum,” said Dave Kiff, Interim Executive Director of the Sonoma County Community Development Commission. “The affordability of the College Creek project’s housing units is part of making Sonoma County that place. We are so thankful that USA Properties has stepped up with county government, the City of Santa Rosa and CalHFA to build it.”
College Creek residents will benefit from substantially lower rents compared to market-rate apartments in Santa Rosa. One-bedroom apartment rents will range from $615 to $1,488 per month, depending on the income of residents. Two-bedroom apartments will lease for $730 to $1,777, while three-bedroom units will rent for $836 to $2,046.
The average one-bedroom apartment rents for about $2,100 in Santa Rosa, according to RENTCafe.
AFFORDABLE – WITH A LONG LIST OF AMENITIES
But affordable does not mean basic or boring for residents at College Creek. The apartment community – a four-story building and two three-story buildings – will offer a long list of amenities, including a community room complete with computer workstations; a fitness room; a swimming pool; a tot lot; and on-site laundry facilities.
Apartments will feature energy-efficient appliances and light fixtures, ceiling fans and low-flow faucets, showers and toilets.
“It will be a very nice apartment community,” Malhotra said. “It’s designed to meet the community’s needs and the neighbors around it.”
USA Properties worked closely with the community, including the City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, and neighbors on the project that has been in the planning stages for several years.
“It took a little bit of everything to bring this project to life,” Malhotra said. “It’s a true public-private partnership and a template for how public agencies and developers can work together to create more affordable housing.”