As long as the rain holds off, construction crews are expected to be finished at the Turley Flats Apartments, 1105 Pope St., in a couple of weeks. Shortly after that, the eight two- and three-bedroom apartments are expected to be rented, with rents ranging from $1,100 to $2,258 per month.
During an open house on Feb. 6, people wandered through the second-floor apartments, seeing the finished kitchens complete with appliances, the small bedrooms and finished bathrooms. The eight apartments range in size from 727 square feet to 979 square feet for an apartment with three bedrooms and two baths.
Larry Kromann, president of Calistoga Affordable Housing, which developed and owns the apartment complex, said the open house was held so that prospective tenants could view the apartments, fill out an application and officially begin the application process.
Napa’s Crown Realty is handling the applications, first available on Aug. 1, through their website. On Thursday, property manager Kevin Nickerson said he has applications from 75 people and added he would be showing the property on Monday, Feb. 11 and again on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Nickerson said a majority of prospective tenants are from St. Helena and the Napa Valley, although he said others were from Clearlake, Vallejo, Napa, Angwin and as far away as Stockton.
The governing documents spell out how the apartments will be rented: first to the eight families displaced in 2011, then to Turley vineyard workers and then to the St. Helena community.
“If there are any left after that, it goes to the low-income families in the county,” Kromann said.
It is named Turley Flat Apartments because in 2012 vintner Larry Turley bought the property and sold it to California Affordable Housing for $1, with the stipulation that affordable housing be built on the site.
Angwin’s Helmer and Sons has been the general contractor for the affordable housing project. Doug Helmer said construction has taken six months, a little bit longer than expected, “because there were some things that caused a little bit of delay,” including January’s frequent rains. In July, a large crane was used to stack the eight manufactured homes on top of each other.
The affordable housing project cost an estimated $3.4 million, with Poppy Bank funding $1.4 million in mortgages, $835,000 in loans from the City of St. Helena’s Affrordable Housing Trust Fund, $650,000 in loans from Napa County, $150,000 grant from the Gasser Foundation and the rest came from other foundations.
With the $835,000 contribution from the City of St. Helena, the current balance of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund is $192,396. (The city has provided $1.16 million from the fund for the Brenkle Court project.)
St. Helena Mayor Geoff Ellsworth toured the site on Monday – he was in meetings on Feb. 6 – and said, “The opening of Turley Flats apartments is significant in laying a portion of the groundwork for achieving St. Helena’s housing goals, not just on paper but in creating real housing for people to live in. It’s the first of its kind in the county using this innovative approach of high quality, attractive modular units and cross jurisdictional partnership. Though the process was challenging, a pathway has now been outlined for creating more housing sooner. Excellent work!”
One of those touring the property on Feb. 6 was former St. Helena mayor Alan Galbraith. He said the completion of the project “has been a long time coming. I’m delighted to see it coming to fruition, because these projects are difficult. You have to admire the dedication of the folks who are behind them,” he said, “because they faced lots of obstacles, many of which are unforeseen.”
Galbraith said during the time he was mayor, he was pleased that he backed the Turley Flats Apartments “always and completely.”
Kromann said the project started in November 2011 when the city red-tagged two properties at 1103 and 1105 Pope St., citing building code violations and unsafe living conditions. Eight families were living there at the time. Seven families left immediately and the last family left within 60 days, according to the stories published in the Star at that time.
“In my way of thinking, this project took a long time,” Kromann said. When asked why, he answered, “Because of all the hoops you have to go through and the process and because you have to raise the money.” He said St. Helena and Napa County contributed 40 percent of the financing as loans.
According to a fact sheet from Calistoga Affordable Housing, each of the apartment includes quality kitchen and appliances, unique safety light switches, in-unit laundry options, economical heat and air conditioning, child safety window blinds, six-inch insulated walls with double pane windows, and easy to clean flooring. The apartment units are on the second and third floors, on the first floor there is lighted vehicle parking and individual storage.
The modular design was created by Farrell-Faber Associates of Santa Rosa and hybridCore-hybridBuilt Homes served as modular consultants. The eight units were built and furnished by SilverCrest Homes of Ontario, California.
Calistoga Affordable Housing has built five projects since 2001, although Turley Flats was the first in St. Helena.
“In Calistoga, we have built 50 percent of all housing built in the last 20 years, but that’s not very much,” Kromann said.
Will they build another in St. Helena?
He answered, “We’ll go wherever we can pick up an opportunity of land and money.”
(This article has been changed to include the correct addresses for the units that were red-tagged: They were 1103 and 1105 Pope St.)