Manzanita Family Apartments

This artist’s rendering shows the entrance to the Manzanita Family Apartments, a cluster of 51 affordable rental units to be built at 2951 Soscol Ave. in Napa north of La Homa Drive and facing the Old Soscol Way split.

Napa’s approval of a state bond issue will provide millions of dollars to the developer of the Manzanita Family Apartments, plugging the largest remaining gap in its budget and putting the affordable housing complex on course to start construction next spring.

Tax-exempt bonds issued by California Municipal Finance Authority will generate up to $35 million for the 51-unit apartment project, which will occupy surplus city land at the intersection of Soscol Avenue and Old Soscol Way in north Napa. The council — which federal law requires to hold a public hearing as condition for such financing — unanimously approved the step on Tuesday.

With the funding, the nonprofit developer Satellite Affordable Housing Associates is within $750,000 of obtaining all its financing for Manzanita, according to city Housing Manager Lark Ferrell.

Repayment of the bonds will be SAHA’s responsibility and not the city’s. Last week, Ferrell said the builder expects to borrow $22.8 million of the maximum, repaying all but $2.54 million when the complex opens. The remaining sum is to be leveraged with a mix of state, county and city funds as well as 1.85 acres of former city land, which became expendable after it realigned Old Soscol Way.

Groundbreaking is expected in April at the Manzanita apartments, which SAHA will rent to tenants whose incomes fall below Napa’s median. The first renters may move in by the fall of 2021, Ferrell told the council.

Various units will be reserved for those earning less than 30, 50 or 60 percent of the median level, and the city will provide 20 Section 8 rent vouchers for use at the complex. Prospective renters will be interviewed by SAHA staff and then chosen by lottery, the company has said.

After Napa selected Berkeley-based SAHA in 2015 to develop affordable housing at the site, the developer came back with a layout that includes a pair of three-story buildings facing a courtyard, with open balconies and façades of stucco and wood. The project won council approval in September 2017.

Manzanita will follow in the path of other affordable housing complexes that have been built, approved or cleared for renewed funding in recent years.

Oak Creek Terrace opened in 2016, and 50 lower-rent apartments are under construction at the Stoddard West site west of the Soscol Avenue commercial strip. Earlier this year, Napa approved bond issues to overhaul two existing affordable rental properties, River Park Manor on South Jefferson Street and Charter Oaks on Browns Valley Road.

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City of Napa/Town of Yountville Reporter

Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.