Affordable Workforce Housing Breaks Ground in Downtown San Jose with a Twenty Percent Set-Aside for the Homeless

Mayor Sam Liccardo joins other leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking for Donner Lofts, 102 workforce efficiency apartments for individuals in San Jose.

Groundbreaking at Donner Lofts, a Development of MidPen Housing

January 8, 2015 — San Jose, CA — On January 8th San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez will join other city and county leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of Donner Lofts, an affordable, mixed-use rental apartment community being developed by MidPen Housing. The ceremony begins at 11:00am at 156 E. St. John Street in downtown San Jose.

Donner Lofts is a response to the tremendous need for affordable workforce housing in San Jose, a city where rents are among the most expensive in the nation.

Expected to open in summer 2016, Donner Lofts is an environmentally-friendly, mixed-use community which will provide 102 affordable apartments for working individuals. Twenty units will be reserved for the formerly homeless who will receive onsite supportive services. The development also includes over 2,500 square feet of retail space on the street level and a computer lab, exercise room, community room and outdoor courtyard where residents can gather.

“It is important to the economic health and vitality of our city that all of our residents be able to afford to live in San Jose,” said Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose. “Donner Lofts will provide affordable homes for more than 100 people, many of whom work downtown. We want these valuable workers to be able to live near where they work and be able to maintain an excellent quality of life.”

Named in honor of Eliza Donner, a surviving member of the Donner Party, the community is located on the site of her former home, the Donner-Houghton estate, which was a city landmark prior to its destruction in a 2007 fire. Since that time, the site has been vacant.

“We are proud to partner with the City of San Jose on their vision to transform an underutilized site into a vibrant, mixed-use community,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President of MidPen Housing. “Donner Loft residents will be able to work, shop and play within walking distance of their downtown homes.”

Donner Lofts will provide 92 studios and 9 one-bedroom apartments serving individuals earning up to 50% of Area Media Income which is $35,700 for a single person household.

Several environmentally sustainable building practices will be employed in developing Donner Lofts which is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The infill site will be transformed into high-density, transit-oriented housing that incorporates measures to reduce energy usage. Green building features include solar photovoltaic panels and solar thermal hot water heating, ENERGY STAR appliances and high efficiency lighting and plumbing.

In partnership with a network of service providers, MidPen Resident Services Corp. will coordinate and manage many onsite programs for all Donner Loft residents including financial literacy courses, vocational development, computer lab assistance; health and wellness programs and access to other community resources. In collaboration with the Santa Clara County Department of Behavioral Health Services, the 20 formerly homeless residents will receive additional supportive services which include case management to address individual needs and social integration services to promote a sense of community and connection. MidPen Property Management Corp. will provide onsite professional property management.

Financing for the $30.8M development was provided by the City of San Jose, the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara, Santa Clara County Department of Behavioral Health Services, California Department of Housing and Community Development, CalHFA, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.