LIVERMORE — The 130-unit affordable housing plan for Eden Housing Inc. has changed since the one presented to the public over the last two and a half years.
The new design for the site located between L and K streets, Railroad Avenue and Veterans Way rolled out during last week’s Dec. 7 workshop. It revealed an updated version with the same number of units, a building increased by approximately 42% and a smaller park. The park space between the buildings was reduced by about 32%.
The plan approved by the council in 2018 showed four separate buildings set for 130 units. The newer version offers two larger buildings. The building located to the north will house 79 units, reaching four stories. The building to the south will include 51 units with a maximum height of three stories.
In addition to workforce housing, the development will provide units for low-income and homeless individuals. According to a Jan. 21, 2020, Alameda County staff report, which identified a $14.4 million Measure A1 loan for the Eden project, the development met requirements by proposing to provide affordable housing to 78 low-income households, including 16 units targeting the homeless populations and 62 units at 50% of the area median income (AMI). The Measure A1 document does not address the income level for the remaining units.
In order to explain why the larger buildings were needed, Matt Graves, Eden Housing project developer, explained at the workshop that in the 2018 version, the four buildings each had a footprint of roughly 8,000 square feet.
“If you’re trying to get 130 units, that gets you about 32 to 33 in each (building), and if you use 900 square feet on average for a unit to fit into that footprint, that gives you four floors,” Graves explained. “And that would be just apartments; that wouldn’t account for corridors, elevator shafts, stairs, laundry facilities, offices — all of the things that you would want in an apartment building wouldn’t be able to fit into those footprints.”
Buildings will now have resident meeting spaces, on-site laundry, two administrative offices and units set aside for staff, he noted.
To make everything fit in that older plan, Graves said the project would need to reduce the unit size below the tax credit standards.
“It would actually be unfinanceable,” he explained. “Plus, we really feel that larger family size units would adequately represent what families would want.”
He said the previous parking garage plan was inefficiently laid out. Graves stated that the older design also doesn't show a bus turnout along Railroad Avenue, nor additional utility easements, which were added later.
The project now provides a parking ratio of one unit to one stall. The city’s standard requirement is one unit to 1.1 stalls. Eden Housing was asked to address the fact that only one entrance/exit has been provided.
In regard to the project timeline, Linda Mandolini, Eden House president, stated that construction must begin by January 2022, unless Eden’s requested extension is granted. The county A1 agreement authorizes the county’s housing director to “extend this commitment by six months as needed for project