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June 22, 2010 > Affordable transit-oriented housing brings jobs and revitalizes Station District

Affordable transit-oriented housing brings jobs and revitalizes Station District

Submitted By Beth Fraker

Photo and image courtesy of Mid-Peninsula Housing

On June 17, 2010, Lynn L. Jacobs, Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development and Union City leaders celebrated the groundbreaking of Station District Family Housing, an affordable, mixed-use rental apartment community being developed by Mid-Peninsula Housing (Mid-Pen) in Union City. The ceremony was held at 11 a.m. at 34800 11th Street, Union City.

Station District Family Housing is a response to the tremendous need for affordable workforce housing in Alameda County which is ranked in the top 20 least affordable housing markets in the entire U.S.

Expected to open in late 2011, Station District Family Housing is an innovative, pedestrian-friendly community located across the street from the Union City BART station, on the former site of a PG&E facility. Phase One, which began construction in May, will bring 100 affordable rental apartments for families, 8,600 sq. ft. of commercial space, outdoor gardens, community patios, a pool and children's play areas. Phase Two, which is shovel-ready and awaiting tax-credit funding, will provide an additional 57 affordable homes.

"I'm glad my office could play a role in helping the Station District project get started," said State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, Chair of the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, whose mission is to encourage private investment in affordable rental housing through the use of tax-credits. "Affordable housing is a critical piece of California's economic revitalization. This project will create jobs and provide a needed source of housing for low-income families and individuals."

Station District Family Housing is part of a larger, master planned transit-oriented district which includes commercial space, new streets and walkways, renovations to the BART station, and a pedestrian plaza. Mid-Pen's affordable housing development enabled the City of Union City to access additional funds from the California Department of Housing and Community Development which helped finance the larger plan.

"We are very pleased to help finance this innovative community," said Lynn L. Jacobs, California Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development. "Station District Family Housing is a perfect example of the vision behind our TOD Funding and Infill Infrastructure Grant programs which are designed to leverage other funding to develop large transit-oriented communities like these."

"Mid-Pen is excited to expand our affordable housing portfolio in Union City with Station District Family Housing," said Matthew O. Franklin, President of Mid-Peninsula Housing. "We believe that this community will become a model for best practices in infill, transit-oriented development and we applaud the City of Union City's vision for using affordable workforce housing to catalyze growth in this vital part of their city."

Phase One of Station District Family Housing will provide 16 one-bedroom, 54 two-bedroom and 30 three-bedroom apartments for families with incomes no greater than 30% - 45% of Area Median Income which translates to $21,690 to $43,920 for two - five person households. Award-winning architect David Baker & Partners designed the apartment building which attractively wraps around a courtyard with an open community feel. The development incorporates many green features and has been designed to achieve LEED Gold Standards.

"With Station District Family Housing's close proximity to the BART station, bus stops, retail stores and other community amenities, this will be an environmentally-friendly and truly walkable community," said Richard Valle, Vice Mayor of Union City. "Residents here will be able to walk or take public transportation, spending less time in their cars and more time with their families. We are proud of this transit-oriented community which is good for our city and good for our environment."

Financing for the development was provided by Union City's Community Redevelopment Agency, the Alameda County Housing Authority, JP Morgan Chase, Union Bank, California Municipal Finance Authority and the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

"We're very excited to see this development move forward. There has been much coordination between the city, planners and developer. Planning has been going on for the past twelve years. We're building on the success of revamping the facade for BART. We have focused on architecture for this project; this should be a landmark and a catalyst for the Station District," added Union City Planning Manager Carmela Campbell.

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