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Lottery will determine who gets to live in Napa's new affordable apartment project
Housing

Lottery will determine who gets to live in Napa's new affordable apartment project

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Some 51 Napa families could have a brand new address by the end of this year.

Manzanita Family Apartments, a cluster of 51 affordable rental units at 2951 Soscol Ave., is about half way through construction, said Susan Friedland, CEO of Satellite Affordable Housing Associates.

What's the status of the 51 affordable housing units on Soscol Ave. in Napa? Called Manzanita Family Apartments, the homes will be available to families who meet certain income guidelines.

The project, located just north of La Homa Drive and facing the Old Soscol Way split, is due to be completed by this fall, said Friedland.

The application process for potential residents should begin later this spring, she said.

“As a nonprofit affordable housing developer, we’re keenly aware of the desperate need for affordable family housing,” said Friedland. “Especially in areas where housing costs are high and the imbalance between housing costs and wages is acute.”

“We’ve been thrilled to work with the city of Napa to be able to provide beautiful high-quality homes for working low income families in Napa.”

The project is going well. “It’s kind of a miracle we were able to start construction one month into the pandemic,” she said. Fortunately, construction on affordable housing was deemed “essential,” and the project was able to continue amidst COVID-19 restrictions, she said.

“We’re pleased we’ve been able to continue this project, safely, on time and within budget, given the challenge of operating during a pandemic,” said Friedland.

Construction at Manzanita Family Apartments started May 2020. Today, workers are wrapping up the electrical and plumbing and beginning to install drywall.

Additionally, “The roof is beginning to get prepared for solar panel installation and we are also preparing to install siding,” said Friedland.

The $25 million project is intended to put apartment rentals within reach of households unable to cope with ever-rising prices in Napa’s open market.

SAHA will offer apartments in the 51-unit complex (with one dwelling set aside for a property manager) to tenants making less than 60% of Napa’s median income, which can be as low as $523 a month for a one-bedroom unit for a person in the lowest income tiers.

SAHA, which also built an American Canyon apartment center for lower-income seniors, has promoted its Napa project as a landing spot for those working in Napa who otherwise cannot live close to their jobs.

The city of Napa, which owned the vacant 1.85-acre site off Soscol Avenue’s west shoulder, opposite Old Soscol Way, chose SAHA in 2015 to develop affordable housing at the site. The builder produced plans for two three-story buildings around a central courtyard, with a stucco-and-wood façade, open balconies and staircases set away from nearby streets.

Amenities at Manzanita will include a bicycle storage room, vegetable garden, outdoor dining tables and seating, and a small play area for children, according to Glen Simmons, senior architect with the Dahlin Group.

Apartments will be a mix of 25 one-bedroom units and 13 each of two- and three-bedroom dwellings. Tenants will pay rents based on their income levels, ranging from $474 to $1,039 for one bedroom, $559 to $1,237 for two bedrooms and $633 to $1,416 for three. Prospective renters will be chosen by lottery, according to Friedland.

“We expect there to be quite a lot of applicants,” perhaps as many as 1,000, she said.

The nonprofit CEO said that applications will be accepted five to six months before completion. Information is posted on a banner at the site and online at sahahomes.org/apply.

Friedland said SAHA doesn’t have currently any other projects in the works for Napa County, “but we’d be delighted to do more.”

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You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 256-2218 or jhuffman@napanews.com

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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