Affordable Seniors Housing Breaks Ground in Silicon Valley

Morgan Hill, Calif.--Ground will be broken this week for Horizons at Morgan Hill, a 49-unit affordable seniors housing property in the city of Morgan Hill in Santa Clara County in northern California.

Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Morgan Hill, Calif.–Ground will be broken this week for Horizons at Morgan Hill, a 49-unit affordable seniors housing property in the city of Morgan Hill in Santa Clara County in northern California. The project is a collaboration between Santa Ana-based developer Urban Housing Communities (UHC) L.L.C. and the City of Morgan Hill Redevelopment Agency, and was designed by KTGY Group Inc., Architecture and Planning.

Upon completion in the summer of 2011, this $21.2 million Horizons at Morgan Hill will offer apartments to residents 55 years and older earning between 30 percent and 50 percent of Santa Clara County median income. Rents are expected to range from $597 to $1,193 per month, based on family size and income level.

The property will include 36 one-bedroom, one-bath units and 13 two-bedroom, two-bath apartment units, averaging about 778 square feet and 1,025 square feet respectively, and occupying a single three-story building. Horizons at Morgan Hill will also feature a 3,000-square-foot community center with a computer lab, media center, laundry facilities, community garden, swimming pool, picnic and barbecue area, and landscaped courtyard areas. The community center will serve as the location for support services programs provided by UHC’s nonprofit partner, Central Valley Coalition for Affordable Housing, such as credit counseling, resume writing, computer training, physical fitness instruction and health/nutrition classes.

UHC began collaborating with the City of Morgan Hill’s Redevelopment Agency in 2005 to develop housing for low-income seniors who were long-time residents. The agency committed funding through a soft loan and UHC secured financing through the 9 percent tax credit program. As usual for affordable housing of any kind, its other sources of financing were many and varied, including money from National Equity Fund, Bank of America Community Development Corp., the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (that is, the stimulus), the County of Santa Clara, the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, and the Affordable Housing Program of the Federal Home Loan Bank.

The property has been designed to be energy efficient, with solar panels generating electricity for community room and outdoor common area lighting; insulated walls, ceilings, floor joists, and roofs; and energy-efficient roofing that contains recycled content and is manufactured in plants that are ISO 14001 certified. Additional green features of the project will include zero-VOC interior paint and primer; formaldehyde-free insulation; fiber cement siding that contains recycled content; and landscaping that features minimal turf areas and drought-tolerant non-invasive plants.

Will the green features of the property attract renters? KTGY’s studio director Alan Scales thinks so. “Outside of rent, one of the largest expenses for residents is utility costs,” he tells MHN. “By creating savings in utility costs, Urban Housing Communities further promotes the long-term sustainability of this affordable community.”

Horizons at Morgan Hill is UHC’s fifth project to begin construction in less than 120 days. UHC recently broke ground on the Crossings on 29th Street, a 34-unit affordable community in South Los Angeles; the Crossings at North Hills, a 38-unit rehab property in the San Fernando Valley; the Crossings at Big Bear Lake, a 42-unit affordable housing community targeting families in Big Bear Lake; and the Crossings at Escondido, a residential community that will feature 55 affordable apartment homes for working families in San Diego County. KTGY was the designer for all five projects.

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