In an exceedingly rare opportunity to partner with a nonprofit developer to leverage publicly owned land for affordable housing, the City of San Mateo and MidPen Housing are preparing to break ground on a new apartment community in downtown.
Nonprofit MidPen Housing will begin construction in the coming weeks on an entirely affordable apartment community known as Kiku Crossing and a new publicly-accessible parking garage on two city-owned sites.
• 100% affordable, 7-story apartment building with 225 units at 480 E. Fourth Ave.
• 5-story parking garage with 689 spaces, including 525 publicly accessible spaces at 400 E. Fourth Ave.
• City is contributing land under long-term ground lease and $12.5 million towards construction.
The new housing development is one of the first in California to use Assembly Bill 1763, which allows for increased density and height on transit-oriented properties when all of the homes are offered at below market rates. Instead of the 164 units originally proposed, MidPen will be able to create 225 below-market-rate apartments. The land, currently used as surface parking lots, were purchased in the late 1990s with former redevelopment agency funds. After the 2012 dissolution of all redevelopment agencies in California, the City negotiated with the state to retain these properties for public benefit.
“We have an incredible partner in the City of San Mateo, who shared the vision to add more apartments to Kiku Crossing when California’s Density Bonus Law was amended,” said Mollie Naber, Associate Director of Development at MidPen Housing. “This allowed MidPen to increase housing affordability on the City’s public sites, and we look forward to starting construction on this community.”
The parking garage is expected to open in Spring 2023, while the new 7-story affordable housing building will open in 2024. Site work will soon begin with the current parking lot at 480 E. Fourth Ave. closing Dec. 22, 2021, followed by the lot at 400 E. Fourth Ave. closing Jan. 3, 2022. The nonprofit Samaritan House’s Worker Resource Center, currently located on one of the sites, will relocate to 171 N. Amphlett Blvd. Kiku Crossing will also bring new art to downtown by artist Harumo Sato who designed three large murals that will adorn the new parking garage.
“This project is a great example of how we can work collaboratively with a nonprofit to build much-needed affordable housing on publicly-owned land.,” said San Mateo Mayor Eric Rodriguez. “Kiku Crossing will help keep our downtown thriving by meeting our parking needs and by housing hundreds of working families who want to call San Mateo home.”