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.
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.
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.