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September 18, 2007 > Irvington hosts housing of the future

Irvington hosts housing of the future

A combination of low cost rental units and "for sale" town houses occupies the former location of Tri-City Patio World and Sporting Goods on Grimmer Blvd. at Davis St. in the Irvington District of Fremont. Groundbreaking of "Irvington Village" was held on April 12, 2006; now architect drawings have been transformed into homes for waiting families. "Park Lane," for sale units, is being developed by Regis Homes and "Irvington Terrace," an apartment complex, is a product of BRIDGE Housing Corporation, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing. TCV spoke with BRIDGE Director of Communications and Media, Lyn Hikida and Project Manager Jeff Smith of Regis Homes of Northern California for a progress report.

Irvington Terrace by BRIDGE Housing Corporation:

TCV: What is the occupancy level at this time?

HIKIDA: Over 800 applications were submitted for 100 apartment units. No more applications are being accepted at this time. A lottery was held to determine those who would have priority. About 20 of the units are now occupied and we are currently processing the remaining applications.

TCV: Who is renting at Irvington Terrace?

HIKIDA: We expressed a preference for local residents and the project manager has indicated that just about everyone in our pool of eligible applicants is from Fremont. Most of those moving in will be families, partially due to the size of the apartments; 25 one bedroom, 35 two bedroom and 40 three bedroom apartments.

TCV: Who qualifies to rent?

HIKIDA: The target market for our apartments is those who make 30%-50% of median area income based on the federal Housing and Urban Development Department data. For Alameda County, the median income is $84,500. Tenants are typically employed but have a difficult time paying market rate rent. The range of monthly rent at this property is $429 - $740 for a one-bedroom; $510 - $883 for a two-bedroom; $587 - $910 for three-bedroom apartment.

Irvington Terrace will have a community room, a children's play area, two landscaped courtyards, a laundry facility and a parking garage. All BRIDGE properties have on-site management.

TCV: When will all apartments be occupied?

HIKIDA: We anticipate that all apartments will be occupied by November of this year.

Park Lane by Regis Homes of Northern California:

TCV: How much of the project has been completed?

SMITH: Of the first master phase including 115 units, 105 are under construction. We have completed (closed escrow) 30 units. To date, we have 55 sales. Completion of the first master phase is expected to be April 2008. Those who have purchased a home at this time will all be able to move in this year. We expect to sell the remaining units in this phase and complete occupancy by spring '08.

The second master phase of 168 units has just begun construction of two model buildings and the podium garage. Site work including utilities is in progress. The models and swimming pool complex is scheduled to open June '08.

TCV: Who are the buyers?

SMITH: They are very local. The majority of buyers are finding us by four off-site signs we have located in the area. These are local people, many families, who are aware of the development. Many are young professionals; couples who are highly qualified for standard financing.

TCV: How much do these units cost?

SMITH: They started at the low $500,000s and the high mark was $630,000. Right now, the price is in a range of about $575,000.

TCV: Have you experienced any trepidation from buyers about the BRIDGE apartments in close proximity?

SMITH: No. People do ask, but we have worked with BRIDGE for a long time and know that they maintain some of the nicest apartment communities in the Bay Area. BRIDGE Residents are not the low income, stereotype that many assume. These are working people and families who are thoroughly qualified. We have had a very good working relationship with BRIDGE during construction continuing through leasing and move-in of our buyers.

TCV: Is the high density of this development an impediment to sales?

SMITH: No. In fact, the two dense condominium products are selling better than the separated town homes. Our buyers are definitely "value buyers" interested in bedroom count. Density is not a problem. The square footage of our properties ranges from 1300 to 1650. A majority of the condominiums have a garage on the ground level and two stories above that.

TCV: Have sales met expectations?

SMITH: There has definitely been a slowdown in sales this summer. New selling programs have been instituted to induce people to buy although not the big giveaways of some builders, mostly in options. We are expecting sales to increase in September and October and rebound in 2008. Somerton is a bit above our projections and Providence is a bit below.

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