By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Marin County, Calif.—Bridge Housing Corp., one of California’s largest nonprofit developers and owners of affordable housing, has bought a 3.5-acre site in unincorporated Marin County. The company plans an affordable housing development for the site.
The development is still in its early stages, however. Following the acquisition, Bridge anticipates that it will take about a year to complete the master-plan entitlement and environmental review processes and assemble a plan of finance.
The Marinwood Plaza site has been the focus of an extensive planning effort led by the county. In 2006, the County Board of Supervisors adopted the Marinwood Village Conceptual Master Plan, which called for the redevelopment of the site as a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented village center with 90 to 100 units of affordable residences. The recent opening of the Marinwood Market fulfills one of the plan’s aims, which was to have a full-service grocery at the location.
Bridge doesn’t anticipate undue difficulties in financing the development, but the new austerity at all levels of government threatens to make projects like it much more difficult, the company says. “At the federal and state or local levels, it’s already becoming more challenging to find public dollars for affordable housing,” Cynthia A. Parker, Bridge president and CEO, tells MHN.
“In California, for example, we have just seen the demise of redevelopment agencies, which provided a major source of capital for affordable housing in the state,” Parker continues, though not without noting that experienced affordable housing developers are well aware of the difficulties and are adjusting their strategies accordingly. “Bridge and our colleagues in the field are working together to help chart a new public policy course so we can continue to create affordable homes,” she says.