Council approves $2.5 million to move Downtown Stockton housing project forward

Construction could begin as early as next March on a forty-unit mixed-use affordable housing project – Cal Weber 40 – in Downtown Stockton after the City Council unanimously approved a $2.5 million loan as well as the sale of a city-owned lot to DFA Development Tuesday evening.* The money covers only part of the estimated $12 million project and is contingent upon the developer receiving other monies not yet awarded, including up to $8 million in federal low-income housing tax credits.

Rendering of the Cal Weber 40 project on the corner of Weber and California Streets in Downtown Stockton (c/o ArtifexWest)

Rendering of the Cal Weber 40 project on the corner of Weber and California Streets in Downtown Stockton (c/o ArtifexWest)

Support for the project was widespread among both the council and city staff.

“I’m really excited for this project,” said Council member Dyane Burgos-Medina whose district encompasses the Cal Weber 40 project. “This is going to be a real catalyst in the area.”

“It’s good to see a coalition of people trying to do something downtown,” commented Council member Michael Tubbs. “This really highlights public-private partnership.”

The development, which would be situated at 506 and 520 E. Weber Avenue, is slated to go up where two iconic Stockton buildings now sit; the Cal Weber and McKeegan. Architecturally, the design submitted to council Tuesday evening was bold and modern, featuring plenty of glass exterior and solar panels on top of the roof as well as 16,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. The design also calls for use of the vacant lot adjacent to the Cal Weber building– where the Land Hotel used to sit– as a raised tenant parking lot which would additionally encompass the city-owned public lot to the east and feature a tenant playground and open space area on the top level.

Thirty-nine of the forty units would be income restricted to family households making between $25,000 to $40,000 (thirty to sixty percent of area median income). That translates to rents for the two and three bedroom units ranging from $345 to $860 depending on respective family income. One unit would be reserved for an on-site manager. The units, per federal regulation, would be rent restricted for a minimum of 55 years, ensuring long-term affordability.

Preliminary plans for the project include a parking structure with a  second-story playground for building residents. (c/o ArtifexWest)

Preliminary plans for the project include a parking structure with a second-story playground for building residents. (c/o ArtifexWest)

The lone dissenter of the evening was a current downtown resident, who cautioned the council that an affordable housing development was a far cry from the market-rate units the city has been hoping for. The resident also expressed concern that DFA Development wasn’t local and questioned the $300,000 per unit sticker price.

“I’m concerned that this project wouldn’t fly in Lincoln Village or Brookside, but it will here. I’m happy for the 39 people who get to live there, but I don’t see this moving us forward,” he said.

His concerns were not shared by the council or city staff. City Manager Kurt Wilson and Burgos-Medina both spoke to changing perceptions of who lives in affordable housing.

“These are not criminals,” said Wilson. “These are just people who don’t have a lot of money.”

The city’s financial support to Cal Weber 40 will allow the project to be submitted to the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee for additional funding. DFA Development will find out in September if its application was awarded. If so, construction would have to begin no later than March 2015.

*Disclosure: The Cort Group is also a partner in the Cal Weber 40 project. SCL Editor David Garcia is an employee of The Cort Group.

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Categories: Development News

6 Comments on “Council approves $2.5 million to move Downtown Stockton housing project forward”

  1. Jon Seisa
    June 25, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    Good Grief, would you want to live there, in this bland industrial-type office building that completely lacks beauty and the human touch? This is a start, I suppose, for downtown mixed-use, but historically the Stocktonian civic leaders are notorious for not having any design or aesthetic knowledge. Why do they approve odd and unsightly aesthetics that do not fit into the “character of downtown”? They need to get design input from professional designers and architects before approving such horrible and visually skewed directions.

    Here is a better and more perfect example of what the structure should actually look like for downtown Stockton’s urban aesthetics, adding integrity and pleasing visuals to the area and a classic enduring look that will have great lasting aesthetical longevity, not bland starkness that will look completely dated and obsolete in another decade:

  2. June 25, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    I agree with Jon Seisa’s remarks. The rendering, he provides a link to, is a stunning and classic building. Very fine! Let’s hope it gets a LOT of press!!!

    • Jon Seisa
      June 26, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Thank you, Janet, for your support.

      Sadly, the quality of the approved design is on the level of an ordinary contemporary mini-mall, very low caliber. In fact, and to be frank, it’s a mini-mall with housing on top. It has pre-fab features, like the commercial sheet glass windows with the typical standard industrial aluminum frame-trim found in business and industrial parks, sans genuine urban architectural features, obviously to cut costs, but unfortunately, at the severe sacrifice of any sense of high quality design style or standard. This structure will look very CHEAP once it’s completed.

      The city council members really need to look at the historical design style of downtown, with its many and wonderful brick and mortar buildings, and be mindful of approving designs that integrate well into this urban style aesthetics. For urban residential living, they need to promote and advance this style, not incongruent diversions that break up the continuity and aesthetics of the HISTORICAL URBAN STYLE OF CLASSICISM. It’s in the area of office skyscrapers, residential high rises and modern grand hotels that the more daring architectural styles may be applied as landmark statements.

      If the council members keep approving the wrong out-of-place architectural design aesthetics, then Downtown Stockton will ultimately look like a chopped up hodge-podge of mix-n-match oddities… a big visual mess.

  3. Kristine
    June 26, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    Hi Jon and Janet,

    Just to be clear, the proposed design has not yet been approved by the city’s planning department; it’s merely a proposed rendering and has yet to undergo the review process.

    • Jon Seisa
      June 26, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

      Kristine, what a relief! Thanks for making this clear.

      I certainly hope the community will voice their objections to the design at the open meetings, and call for a drastic design overhaul so that the structure becomes something more aesthetically appropriate for the historical “character style” of Downtown Stockton, something charming for residential living, shopping and dining, because right now the design is just plain awful and unwelcoming.

  4. Alberto Puentes
    September 24, 2014 at 11:44 pm #

    What downtown Stockton really needs is something that will attract people. Something that stocktonians will say WOW! When they see it. Something that gives Stockton and the downtown area a twist, a face lift, something that represents Stockton and the The San joaquin county. For example Mission Bay Blv. N in San Francisco. I know that this will may seem impossible, but if we have faith that Stockton will blossom someday, it will!

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