What was old is new again at one of Napa’s oldest hubs for affordable housing.
Nearly half a century after its opening, the Napa Park Homes are presenting a newly restyled face on Lincoln Avenue, as well as fully overhauled accommodations for its 140 households.
A two-year, $84 million renovation has endowed the property at 790 Lincoln Ave. with a contemporary blue-and-green paint job as well as new kitchens, bathrooms and energy-saving climate control units, creating a modern backdrop shown to visitors at the apartment complex’s formal reopening Tuesday.
For some of Napa’s elected city and county leaders, the apartments’ return to the rental market was a long-sought bit of good news for a community that has spent years coping with tight housing supplies that have sent rents soaring – well beyond the means of many lower-wage workers in a tourism magnet.
“We’re here to celebrate this project, but we’re also here to celebrate the state of affordable housing here in Napa,” Supervisor Ryan Gregory said at the dedication hosted by Napa Valley Community Housing, the complex’s nonprofit operator. “… Affordable housing is about quality of life; people need to feel safe, to feel good about where they live.”
Completed in 1971, the Napa Park Homes had received a variety of smaller fixes over the past dozen years, including new windows, siding, roofing and drainage work. But Community Housing turned to a $45 million bond issue by the California Municipal Finance Authority, a partnership that includes Napa and more than 240 other cities, to pay for the apartments’ most extensive upgrades since the agency bought the property from a private owner in 1995.
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The Napa City Council approved the bond issue in 2016, a necessity under state law for tax-exempt financing.
“We basically gutted every apartment,” said Kathleen Reynolds, Community Housing’s president and chief executive. Along with the other improvements at the complex, 14 apartments were remodeled with wider doors and hallways and redesigned bathrooms to accommodate disabled tenants, she said.
Renovation was carried out in stages, with the first tenants returning to their apartments about 18 months ago, according to Reynolds.
Most of the Lincoln Avenue apartments are set aside for families who earn between 20 and 60 percent less than Napa’s median income and receive rent vouchers through the federal Section 8 assistance program, while 24 units are reserved for middle-income renters. Units range from one to three bedrooms, spread across several two-story buildings on the property.
Napa Park Homes is one of 15 properties overseen by Napa Valley Community Housing, which manages more than 600 residential units in Napa, Yountville and St. Helena.