Public-Private Partnership Extends Life of Housing Complex
SUISUN CITY — A $4.7 million renovation of the Village II apartment complex in Suisun City has been completed providing residents of the 106-unit affordable housing complex modern kitchens, bathrooms and other amenities.
The modernization project of the 40-year-old complex was undertaken by the Solano Affordable Housing Foundation (SAHF), with support from the City of Suisun City and numerous other federal, state and local public programs.
“The renovation of the Village II is a textbook example of how the community benefits when public and private entities work together,” said Suzanne Bragdon, Suisun City Manager. “Creating partnerships is how we get things done in Suisun City.”
With new affordable housing projects difficult to complete, it was important for the community to extend the lifespan of existing complexes such as the Village II, located at 506 Civic Center Blvd., in Suisun City.
Coordinating the strengths of government programs, a non-profit developer, and for-profit construction and management companies resulted in upgrades averaging $44,000 per unit. Many units received all new kitchens and bathrooms, washer/dryer, and upgraded electrical systems. The complex exterior and grounds also were upgraded.
The work pumped several million dollars into the local economy during a period when many construction projects are frozen. Local subcontractors performed $2.2 million of the construction work, with the balance awarded to companies in neighboring counties. Contractor Tricorp Hearn has offices in Vacaville, and the key on-site personnel are Solano County residents.
“SAHF strives to utilize as many local contractors as reasonably possible when building or renovating a complex,” said Michael Rice, President of Suisun City-based builder Main Street West Partners and a member of SAHF’s Board of Directors.
Financing the project was complex and involved federal, state, and local government agencies. The starting point was the City of Suisun City, which approved the use of tax-exempt bonds for the debt structure of the project. Though the City took on no obligation for repayment, it had to approve the bonds as meeting a public purpose. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided the mortgage insurance needed to secure the financing, and two departments of the California Treasurer’s Office issued the bond and tax-credit allocations.
Several private sector entities also participated, including the transaction lender PNC Financial of San Francisco. Equity for the transaction was provided by Oakland’s Merritt Community Capital Corporation (MCCC), a non-profit affordable housing investor that has provided several million dollars for Solano County affordable housing.
The project developer and general partner for the ownership group is SAHF, a non-profit corporation located in Fairfield, charged with increasing and improving the supply of affordable housing in Solano County. In its 20-year history, SAHF has constructed or renovated more than 1,000 dwelling units, and brought more than $80 million in affordable financing for housing to the County.
“Affordable housing transactions are very complex requiring the teamwork of a number of both public and private entities,” said Dennis McCray, Executive Director for SAHF. “The result for Village II was particularly positive: in 9 ½ months the team temporarily relocated 106 families and their belongings, and performed more than $40,000 per unit in improvements. The relocation tab alone was just shy of $1 million. The success of the project is largely due to the expertise of Tricorp Hearn, the contractor, the supervising architect, Construction Services Division of John Stewart Company, and the relocation firm of David Richman.”
Because affordable housing is increasingly difficult to build due to ever-increasing costs and complex regulations, upgrading 106 existing affordable units to current standards is a substantial benefit for both the community and building residents.
Tenants at the Village II were very pleased with the results.
“I had all original fixtures in my apartment, now I feel like I have a brand new home!” said Veronica Champine, a 12-year resident of the Village. “I love my new kitchen with so much more cabinet space, the new bathroom is wonderful, and I got brand new carpet, which was a surprise. We now have air conditioning too! I love coming home. It’s the closest thing I have to owning my own home. I love it!”
“It’s just lovely!” said 14-year resident Marvin Leaks, fondly referred to as “Mr. Marv.” “We are so excited about our new kitchen cabinets, countertops, the new flooring, beautiful new closet doors, and air conditioning. We love our new home so much we bought a few new decorations for it. Property management did an excellent job preparing us for the construction process and temporary relocation. I love the whole deal.”