A New Affordable Workforce Housing Community Which Survived the NorCal Fires Finally Celebrates its Official Grand Opening in the Heart of Sonoma Springs

Grand Opening of Fetters Apartments, a Development of MidPen Housing

On January 18th, Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin joined other county and regional leaders to celebrate the Grand Opening of Fetters Apartments, an affordable rental community developed by MidPen Housing.

Located in the heart of the Sonoma Valley wine region, Fetters Apartments is part of a master-planned, intergenerational community where people of all ages can live, work, attend school, shop, have easy access to transportation and enjoy many community amenities. In one of the nations’ most expensive housing markets, Fetters provides affordable workforce housing for families – many of whom work in the regions’ extensive service industry. As evidence of the need, Fetters received 669 applications in just two weeks during lease-up and 90% of those applicants either lived or worked in Sonoma County.

Fetters sky before the fires, top, and during the fires, bottom

Fetters sky before the fires, top, and during the fires, bottom

The official Grand Opening of Fetters was originally scheduled for October 17th but was postponed due to the deadly NorCal fires that swept through the region in October 2017. In fact, that week Fetters’ new residents were evacuated and the property was surrounded by flames. Remarkably, and in large part thanks to Sonoma County’s first responders, the community was unscathed by the fires and Fetters’ residents were able to move back into their new homes.

“This is a very exciting and meaningful day,” said Susan Gorin, First District Supervisor for Sonoma County. “We’re celebrating the realization of a longtime vision to transform an underutilized site into a vibrant community that provides much needed affordable housing for our county’s valued workforce. And the fact that Fetters survived the fires which devastated much of what surrounds it, makes this community and its residents a beacon of hope as we look to rebuild.”

Fetters Apartments provides 60 affordable apartment homes and is part of Phase 1 of the master development which also includes many infrastructure improvements: a 1.4 acre playground shared by the Sonoma Charter School; a section of the brand new 2 mile Central Sonoma Valley Bikeway that connects to two public elementary schools and various public parks and ends at Maxwell Farms Regional Park in northwest Sonoma; the frontage beautification of Hwy 12 with a new tree-lined sidewalk – all of which were developed by MidPen and are complete. Still in development is Vailetti Plaza, a commercial center being built by the Vailetti Family Trust which will provide community residents with walking access to shopping and banking.

Sonoma County leaders join MidPen Housing in celebrating the Grand Opening of Fetters Apartments

Sonoma County leaders join MidPen Housing in celebrating the Grand Opening of Fetters Apartments

Expected to begin construction later this year, Phase 2 of the master development will include MidPen’s Celestina Gardens Apartments, an affordable housing community with 40 apartment homes for seniors and a community garden accessible to both Fetters and Celestina Gardens residents, as well as the Sonoma Charter School.

“We’re honored to partner with the County of Sonoma on this visionary community which is a model for infill development at its best and a great example of what’s possible when civic, non-profit and business leaders work together in innovative ways,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President of MidPen Housing. “This kind of collaboration is more important than ever after the fires displaced thousands of residents across the county and we look forward to continuing to work alongside county leaders on innovative housing solutions.”

Fetters provides 19 one-bedroom, 22 two-bedroom, and 19 three-bedroom apartment homes for low-income households earning up to 60% of Area Median Income which is $52,860 for a four-person household. The property also features a community room, a computer lab, and an after school program classroom for youth. Fetters residents have easy access to the new public bike trail, adjacent playground with ball fields and, once finished, will enjoy community gardens.

Financing for the nearly $27.5M development was provided through both public and private sources including the Sonoma County Community Development Commission, the Sonoma County Housing authority, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, the Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program, Wells Fargo Community Lending and Citi Community Capital.

“There’s an acute shortage of high-quality affordable housing in Sonoma County,” said Daniel Perl, Senior Vice President, Community Lending and Investment at Wells Fargo. “We feel privileged to partner with MidPen Housing to help create 60 affordable homes that will benefit the community for years to come.”

MidPen Services Corporation provides onsite programs and services designed to empower Fetters residents to advance in key areas of their lives. These include academically-based After School and Summer Programs for the youth, financial capabilities courses, vocational development, health and wellness programs, computer labs, and connection to other community resources. MidPen Property Management Corp. provides professional, onsite property management.