Grand Opening of Sweeney Lane, a Development of MidPen Housing
On November 9th, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa and Daly City Mayor Glenn Sylvester joined other county leaders to celebrate the Grand Opening of Sweeney Lane, an affordable rental community developed by MidPen Housing.
Sweeney Lane is a response to the tremendous need for affordable workforce housing in San Mateo County which is tied for the #1 most expensive housing market in the entire United States. As evidence of the need, within a 2 week application acceptance period, Sweeney Lane received 4,527 applications for its 52 apartment homes.
Located less than a mile from BART and within walking distance to several major bus lines, Sweeney Lane supports the vision of the Grand Boulevard Initiative (GBI) which encourages higher-density, transit-oriented development and aims to transform El Camino Real into a safe, attractive and welcoming place to live, work and play. (El Camino is called Mission Street in Daly City.) Sweeney Lane received a GBI Award Honorable Mention in 2016.
“Sweeney Lane brings much needed affordable workforce housing to Daly City,” said Daly City Mayor Glenn Sylvester. “Moreover, this beautiful community is a catalyst for the transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly revitalization we envision along Mission Street which serves as the Northern Gateway to the Grand Boulevard.”
Named after the Sweeney family who owned a portion of the site from 1889 to 2005, the property has a rich, transit-oriented history. First as a blacksmith shop for horses and carriages, then as a Studebaker dealership complete with show room, gas station, and repair garage, the site has long furthered transit along this integral Peninsula thoroughfare. In 1976, the original shop was torn down and the site was leased to various used car dealers for decades while some adjacent parcels were purchased by the City who began to cultivate a vision for transforming the site into an affordable housing community. That vision became a reality in 2014 when MidPen was able to acquire the corner parcel, the City donated their parcels, and an innovative partnership was born.
“We’re honored to partner with the City of Daly City on their vision to provide quality homes for hard working, low-income families,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President of MidPen Housing. “Sweeney Lane is a tremendous model for infill development, transforming an underutilized site into a vibrant transit-oriented community where families are able to live, work, shop and play.”
Nearly 40% of the funding for Sweeney Lane came by way of equity raised through 4% low-income housing tax credits, a federal program that is proposed for elimination in the GOP tax reform plan unveiled last week. The plan calls to eliminate the tax exemption on private activity Multifamily Housing Bonds which allows bond-financed multifamily developments to access the 4% Housing Credits which, today, accounts for over 40% of affordable housing production nationwide. In 2016, California received $2.2 billion worth of 4% housing credits which was the single largest funding source for affordable housing production, resulting in over 20,000 new affordable homes.
For a development project to be eligible for 4% tax credits, the credits must be combined with lower interest rate tax-exempt bonds. In the case of Sweeney Lane, the California Municipal Finance Authority (CMFA) and Citibank provided the bond and Wells Fargo bought the credits, generating $13,214,169 in equity which comprised a significant portion of the overall development costs.
“As evidenced with MidPen’s Sweeney Lane, the 4% tax credit program is an integral tool in the production of affordable housing, one that’s routinely accessed to leverage additional funding,” said U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier. “Losing it at a time when our region faces an unprecedented housing crisis would have devastating consequences on many of our state’s hard-working families, seniors on fixed incomes and people with special needs and could negatively impact our state for decades.”
Sweeney Lane provides 20 one-bedroom, 16 two-bedroom, and 16 three-bedroom apartment homes for low-income households earning up to 60% of Area Median Income which is $78,960 for a four-person household. Two of the apartments target the formerly homeless and four are reserved for families who are receiving housing assistance and support through HIP Housing’s Housing Opportunities Program.
The property also features a community room, computer lab, fitness center, outdoor courtyard with a play area for children, and common lounge areas – as well as 2,200 square feet of retail space on the street level.
Sweeney Lane achieved a Platinum GreenPoint rating from Build It Green by employing many green features including: solar hot water/ PV panels; high-efficiency plumbing and lighting; Energy Star appliances; Low to no-VOC paints; drought tolerant landscaping with native plant species; and bicycle storage.
Financing for the nearly $34M development was provided through both public and private sources including the City of Daly City, Daly City Housing Department Finance Agency, the County of San Mateo, the Housing Authority of the County of San Mateo, Citi Community Capital, Wells Fargo Community Lending and Investment, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, the California Municipal Finance Authority, the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.