200 Affordable Homes for Families Preserved in Watsonville

Renovation celebration at Sunny Meadows, an affordable housing development of MidPen Housing

Partners and supporters gather to celebrate the Grand Re-Opening of Sunny Meadows, 200 newly renovated affordable apartments for families in Watsonville.

On April 24th, Watsonville Mayor Dr. Nancy Bilicich and other City leaders celebrated the Grand Re-Opening of the newly renovated Sunny Meadows, an affordable rental apartment community developed and owned by MidPen Housing. Renovated units will be open for viewing.

Originally constructed in 1971, Sunny Meadows is a 200-unit, two-story, garden-style, affordable housing community in the City of Watsonville. MidPen Housing purchased the property in 2010 when the original owners, Green Valley Apartments – a non-profit housing corporation formed by the First United Methodist Church and United Presbyterian Church – were looking to sell and wanted to ensure that the new owner was committed to preserving affordability for existing and future residents. In 2012, MidPen began an extensive renovation of the entire community which upgraded and beautified the buildings to result in a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly development.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the outstanding renovation of these homes for 200 of our Watsonville families,” said Dr. Nancy Bilicich, Mayor of Watsonville. “Sunny Meadows is one of the largest apartment communities in the County of Santa Cruz and provides much-needed affordable housing for our workforce here in Watsonville.”

Designed by award-winning architect, The Dahlin Group, the extensive renovation of the 22 buildings across the 14 acre community replaced all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and increased energy efficiency by over 30%. All homes received new windows and flooring throughout; kitchens were overhauled with new cabinets, counters, appliances, and lighting. In addition, roofs were replaced and photovoltaics were installed to offset 50% of the common area energy requirements. The renovation also included repaving all roads and parking lots and the installation of a brand new, highly efficient irrigation system and landscape.

“We’re proud to have been able to preserve the affordability of 200 homes for hard working families,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President of MidPen Housing. “The Sunny Meadows residents were wonderful to work with through this process. The sense of community that they’ve established with their neighbors is clear and it’s great that they now can also enjoy many upgrades to their homes and enhancements to the common areas.”

“My family has always enjoyed living here near so many friends,” said Paloma Collazo, a High School Senior at Ceiba College Prep who has lived at Sunny Meadows with her family for over 10 years. “Now we absolutely love our apartment too. Everything is so beautiful and high-quality. It feels like a brand new home! Plus I have my own room for the first time which gives me a wonderful space to do my homework in quiet.” When Paloma graduates from high school this coming June, she’ll be the first in her family to do so. An honors roll student, she looks forward to attending the highly acclaimed Earlham College in Indiana in the fall.

The rental apartments house individuals and families with incomes no greater than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) which is $55,860 for a family of four. Maximum rents range from between $529 for the least expensive studio apartment to $1,755 for the most expensive four-bedroom apartment.

In partnership with a network of service providers, MidPen Resident Services Corporation manages manage many onsite supportive services including financial literacy courses, wellness programs, computer training, vocational development, and an academically-based After School Program for the youth. MidPen Property Management Corporation provides professional, onsite property management.

Financing for the $36 million rehabilitation was made possible by the City of Watsonville Redevelopment Agency, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee and Wells Fargo Bank. MidPen also financed a portion of the rehab through property reserves. L & D Construction is the contractor.