Google backs two more Bay Area affordable housing projects

Google and Housing Trust Silicon Valley have backed two more affordable housing projects in San Jose and Sunnyvale, pushing forward on a major commitment to jump start Bay Area development.

McEvoy Apartments in San Jose and Orchard Gardens in Sunnyvale, backed by $32.7 million in loans from the tech giant and the non-profit, are expected to create nearly 500 new, fully-subsidized units for low-income families and residents with developmental disabilities. First Community Housing of San Jose is developing both projects.

Google is providing about $18 million in loans, with the rest coming from the housing trust.

“Affordable housing development is more urgent now than ever given the devastating impact of COVID19 on our communities,” Javier González, a government affairs manager for Google, said in a statement. The company’s partnership with the housing trust has yielded loans for the construction of a total of 700 affordable apartments across the Bay Area since July.

The two new projects are part of recent commitments from major tech companies to back affordable housing projects in the Bay Area. Within a few months last year, Google and Facebook each promised $1 billion toward long-term support of subsidized housing, while Apple pledged $2.5 billion to ease the region’s crushing housing crisis.

Bay Area housing costs remain among the highest in the country, with many lower wage workers spending more than the recommended one-third of their income on rent. The new apartments are expected to mainly serve workers making 60 percent of the region’s median income — about $87,000 for a family of four.

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McEvoy Apartments in San Jose is a 365-unit project about a half-mile from Diridon Station. Google and Silicon Valley Housing Trust are splitting a $29 million investment on the property. The loan is the largest in the trust’s two-decade history.

The McEvoy Street project, a few blocks from Google’s planned Downtown West community, will have a pair of 12-story towers — one for families, and another filled with studio apartments. Construction is expected to begin in 2022.

The buildings will incorporate several green features for energy and water efficiency. Residents will also be given Eco Passes for VTA bus and light rail, encouraging fewer vehicle trips, according to developers.

“This will be our best example of high density, transit-oriented development yet, located right in the heart of Silicon Valley to allow our 365 households economic opportunity in a thriving, service-enriched community,” said First Community Housing CEO Geoffrey Morgan.

Orchard Gardens on the 200 block of W. Weddell Dr. in Sunnyvale received a $3.7 million loan to move forward on a renovation and expansion of an existing affordable housing complex. The apartments will serve three major groups: adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities, families that qualify for rapid re-housing, and also families with moderate or low incomes.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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