Our Town St. Helena, the nonprofit behind the Brenkle Court project, wants to pursue another affordable housing project at 963 Pope St.
The property already has one two-bedroom house. Our Town wants to rent out that house for about $2,400 a month and build four new townhomes that could be rented at $1,200-$1,600 a month.
The goal is to build the new units in 2020 to house local workers, seniors and small families, Our Town’s Erica Roetman Sklar told the City Council on Tuesday.
The 0.29-acre lot was appraised at $1.3 million, but Our Town has negotiated a charitable sale price of $850,000.
Our Town is looking for the city’s help to finance the project. On Tuesday the City Council told staff to work out the terms of a no-interest, two-year, $450,000 loan from the city’s housing funds, which will be supplemented by a loan from the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.
The terms of the loan will come back to the council on Aug. 27 for final authorization. Our Town representatives said the property owner wants to close the deal by Sept. 3.
City councilmembers discussed the terms of the loan, including how the city will be repaid if the development never materializes, and considered delaying their decision. But Our Town representatives urged them to commit to the project and keep it on track.
Marisol Vargas is resident manager at Hunt’s Grove Apartments, which has a waiting list of three and a half years.
“It might be only four units, but those are four families that will not come to my office crying because they cannot pay their rent and cannot find a place to live next month,” Vargas said.
Preliminary designs show four townhomes with shared walls at the back of the property, but Sklar said Our Town could opt for two duplexes or some other configuration. The final design will have to go through the city’s regular approval process.