City Planner Joel Andrews recently gave an update on upcoming housing construction in the area known as the Villages of Patterson, on the northeast side of town, bordered by North First Street and stretching to Hartley Street and Olive Avenue. The project was approved in 2007, and has been on hold due to the economy. “The market’s back up to where the project pencils out,” Andrews said. There are currently four housing projects moving forward: two affordable and two market-rate.
Stonegate Village Apartments
Self-Help Enterprises, which is developing the Stonegate Village Apartment project in the Villages of Patterson area approved earlier this year, recently received funding for construction of the apartment complex. Upon completion, 23 buildings on the site will contain a total of 138 one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The complex, as approved, will feature a community center, picnic area, basketball court, computer lab and laundry facilities. All of the units will be available to low- or very low-income households.
(Editor’s note: The City Council on Nov. 5 approved a $16 million bond for the first 66 units on behalf of Self-Help Enterprises.)
Andrews said obtaining funding for affordable housing projects is challenging, because it generally must come from multiple sources.
Community Development Director David James added that the project has received a tax credit allocation, the process for which he described as being “hugely competitive – like winning the lottery. So you really have to have a good project.” As a tax credit project, he said, the complex will be “well-managed,” with “a lot of oversight. A lot of times there are misconceptions about affordable housing,” he said, pointing out that those who qualify for Section 8 housing would not qualify for this project. He described a similar affordable housing project in his former jurisdiction of Tehachapi as “literally the nicest apartment project in all of Kern County.”
He explained that “developers have to stay in it (the project) for 80 years, so this isn’t a ‘flip’ thing, where they build it, and fill the units up and then spin it off. They are committed. The tax credit folks that build these tax credit apartments – that’s all they do.” He described the project as “a critical part of our ability to house everyone in a decent place to live.”
Construction on the project should begin very soon.
Self-Help Enterprises 41-unit single-family homes
Self-Help Enterprises is also starting on 41 units, Andrews said, and the infrastructure is in place for those units, which the new owners will help build. Building permits have been pulled for first the 10 single-family homes. A requested update on the status of potential homeowners had not been received by press time.
Patterson is not unfamiliar territory to Self-Help Enterprises; the nonprofit has been involved with construction of 167 self-help homes in town to date. The current single-family project, when completed, will put the total over 200.
Market rate housing
250 single-family homes
A project to build 250 single-family homes north of Walnut Avenue is in process; roads and infrastructure are moving forward, and the builder “should be able to pull building permits in the near future,” Andrews said.
Villages of Patterson Apartment Project
Andrews also referenced a 121-unit apartment project approved for the southeast corner of Olive Avenue and Hartley Street. The project was approved to include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, and, two-story townhouses, to be rented or leased. It will also feature a two-story, mixed-use building with retail on the first floor and a few one-bedroom flats above. Other approved amenities include a community room with kitchen, outdoor pool and indoor and outdoor gathering areas.
The project was designed as a neighborhood community, with a large central park area and a smaller retail area within walking distance of the units. Andrews said at an earlier Planning Commission meeting that the area was designated in the Master Plan as the Village Circle, and had been planned to be the physical and social center of the Villages of Patterson area.
The building plans have been approved, he said, and the project will be ready to move forward once some fees have been resolved with the school district.
James pointed out that the project will provide market-rate housing, as opposed to affordable housing, which has income restrictions. The project “will provide, for a lot of younger folks, work force housing.”
“At 5:30 in the evening,” James said, eastbound Las Palmas Avenue is “just an ocean of headlights heading towards Turlock and Modesto, because these folks work at Amazon and different places, and have nowhere to live here.” He added that the apartments will provide “an opportunity for schoolteachers; people that aren’t quite ready” for starter homes to live in the community.
If the market holds, Andrews said, there should be about 1,000 new housing units in the next few years.