Estrella Vista – Housing Insecurity Has a Trickle-Down Impact
The Commercial Real Estate News
October 18, 2020
EMERYVILLE, CA – The newly completed Estrella Vista is an affordable, multi-family, mixed-use community between Emeryville and Oakland. The transitory development is the culmination of a partnership between public and private organizations such as the cities of Emeryville and Oakland, Alameda County and Oakland Housing Authority, which have worked together to provide much-needed affordable housing.
“Living is health. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of housing and the role it plays in our overall public health and wellbeing, “said Libby Schaaf, Oakland Mayor. “Estrella Vista symbolizes what can be achieved when you work together for the common good.”
The Estrella Vista is less than a mile from the MacArthur BART station on San Pablo Ave. 3706 away near several bus routes, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and entertainment venues.
“The location near transit, employment, shopping and services gives families the opportunity to live close to their workplaces and brings vitality to the neighborhood and community at large,” said Christian Patz, Mayor of Emeryville.
Because of the high cost of housing, low-income families have little left for other important expenses, leading to difficult budget compromises. Affordable housing increases the amount that families can spend on other important household needs and savings for the future.
In addition, stable, affordable housing has a positive impact on families and communities as these residents achieve economic stability. Access to affordable housing provides crucial stability for families with insecure housing and reduces the risk of vulnerable families becoming homeless.
“Estrella Vista is 100% occupied by nearly 250 residents, mostly families, seniors, veterans, people with special needs and the ex-homeless,” said Welton Jordan, chief real estate development officer at EAH Housing, a nonprofit for affordable things Housing GlobeSt.com. “We also have several apartments for people with physical, hearing and visual disabilities and HIV-positive residents.”
There are 87 rental units, including studios, one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units ranging in size from 569 square feet to 1,572 square feet. Rents range from $ 590 to $ 2,002, which corresponds to a median income level of 20 to 60%. At the high end, 60% of the median annual income for a family of four living in Alameda County is $ 78,300 (100% is $ 119,200), according to the Alameda County’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
“Affordable housing is critical to making sure our neighborhoods offer opportunities for all,” said Jordan. “It is fundamental to the sustainability and success of our society.”
Studies show that housing instability has serious negative effects on the health of children and adults, jeopardizes children’s performance and success in school, and can contribute to permanent performance gaps. High quality, affordable housing helps create stable environments for children, improves educational outcomes, and can improve health by providing stability and freeing up resources for food and health care.
Designed by KTGY Architecture + Planning and built by JH Fitzmaurice general contractor, the goal was to design the residences around four outdoor areas intended to serve families at different stages of life. A central courtyard offers play equipment for children, while the zen garden, the outdoor sky deck and the adult lookout provide space for young adults and parents to retreat. Other common features include a common room, computer learning center, fitness center, and laundry facilities on site.
“To realize the unified vision of diverse public and private stakeholders, the goal was to provide affordable, high quality homes to families in Alameda County near transit, jobs, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and entertainment,” Jessica Musick, assistant director of The KTGY Oakland Office, tells GlobeSt.com. “The site used to be a wasteland due to previous on-site car repair work and has been converted into a high quality, affordable housing that is indistinguishable from the market price.”
Estrella Vista implements environmental features like photovoltaic solar panels, a solar water heating system, low flow plumbing fixtures, energy efficient equipment and lighting, water efficient landscaping and an emphasis on recycled materials. Estrella Vista also includes charging stations for electric vehicles and a bicycle storage room.
Energy-efficient improvements reduce the long-term operating costs of subsidized apartment buildings. This helps stabilize the portfolios of affordable housing providers, preserve the affordable rental housing stock and protect tenants from instability.
Energy costs can add significantly to the overall financial burden of housing and make housing unaffordable for many families. Building health has a major impact on the inmate’s mental and physical health.
Estrella Vista energy efficiency not only increases affordability by reducing energy bills, but can also improve the health outcomes of low-income families, especially children at risk of asthma. This, in turn, can help improve school performance by reducing asthma symptoms and missed school days.
“The sustainable design / LEED Gold certification and proximity to employment, services and education make it more affordable for residents who have few affordable housing options, especially larger families,” Musick told GlobeSt.com. “Walk Score rates the location of Estrella Vista as Walker & # 39; s Paradise (90 Walk Score) and Biker & # 39; s Paradise (94 Walk Score). The living, working, shop and play environment minimizes and reduces commuting the pollution. ”
Estrella Vista development costs were $ 64 million. More than a dozen organizations have contributed to the funding, including the cities of Emeryville and Oakland, Alameda County, the Oakland Housing Authority, the Housing Authority of County Alameda, the California Community Reinvestment Corporation, the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the California Municipal Finance Authority, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, Federal Home Loan Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank, which provided both tax-exempt bond loans and low-income equity tax credits.
As with many affordable housing providers, EAH Housing had to change its services to residents and change the way it manages property to include COVID-19 security measures. The property management offices are closed to the public, but EAH Housing has increased the cleaning of common areas to several times during the day, issued PPE to all on-site employees, and incorporated COVID-19 safeguards into responding to maintenance and service requests.
“Due to COVID-19, we had to change our Resident Services program and focus on reducing the impact of COVID-19 on the Estrella Vista community,” Jordan told GlobeSt.com. “We’re helping our residents with things like food security, distance learning, and bridging the digital divide.”
EAH does this in a number of ways. First, there are weekly food distributions. EAH offers residents assistance with applying for CAL Fresh, unemployment or other support services. Second, EAH offers free WiFi and will be launching a digital literacy program in the near future made possible by a grant from the California Public Utilities Commission. Third, EAH Housing also worked with children and parents on a distance learning program last summer, encouraging residents to take part in the 2020 census and sign up to vote.
EAH Housing is working on six new affordable housing developments in the East Bay, says Jordan.
“Last summer, we were selected by the Emeryville City Council to develop a new affordable, 68-unit community at 4300 San Pablo Ave.,” Jordan told GlobeSt.com. “In Oakland, we’re working on a 53-unit housing estate on 500 Lake Park Ave. We’re also working on two new developments in Hayward and two in Richmond. “