SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KRON) — A new affordable housing project broke ground in Sunnyvale that will serve low-income families and households with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

On Wednesday, a group of public and private partners gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of Sunnyvale Block 15, a 1.44-acre site located at the northwest corner of W. Iowa and S. Mathilda Avenues. 

The site sits on six city-owned parcels and was approved for redevelopment by the City of Sunnyvale Planning Commission with significant community support in April of 2020.

“Planning for affordable housing has always been a priority for Sunnyvale,” said City of Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein. 

“Thanks in part to City-owned land and $17 million in City funds, this development will create new permanent housing for lower-income and developmentally disabled community members. It’s also in a terrific location near public transportation and our vibrant downtown.”

Planning for the development began in 2016 when the City of Sunnyvale selected the development team of Related California, Affordable Housing Access, Housing Choices Coalition, and Steinberg Hart to redevelop Block 15, which is located within the Downtown Specific Plan Area. 

Since then, the list of public and private partners has grown to include Project Access, County of Santa Clara, Santa Clara Housing Authority, San Andreas Regional Center (SARC), California Department of Developmental Services (DDS), Wells Fargo, Citibank, Housing Trust Silicon Valley and Google.

From left to right: Preston Prince, Executive Director Santa Clara Housing Authority; Ricki Hammett, Deputy Executive Director CDLAC/CTCAC; Javier Gonzalez, Head of Local Government Affairs and Public Policy, CA Google; Supervisor Joe Simitian; Mayor Larry Klein; Ann Silverberg, CEO of Related California Nor Cal Affordable and Northwest Divisions; Noni Ramos, CEO Housing Trust Silicon Valley; Javier Zaldivar, Executive Director, San Andreas Regional Center; Supervisor Otto Lee; Consuelo Hernandez, Director, Office of Supportive Housing County of Santa Clara. Courtesy: Related California.

“The Housing Authority is always excited when we can allocate project-based vouchers to a new development and get families into stable, affordable housing,” said Santa Clara County Housing Authority Executive Director Preston Prince. 

“With Sunnyvale Block 15, we’ll have the chance to connect 22 families to a new home and project-based rental assistance.”

The development will consist of seven townhomes and one 4-story apartment building, providing 90 affordable homes to residents earning 30-80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), with 25% of units set aside for tenants with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

The mix of units will include 12 studio apartments, 32 1-bedroom, 23 2-bedroom, and 23 3-bedroom apartments. 

Housing Choices Coalition, a local community-engaged nonprofit, will provide targeted on-site supportive services for residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Affordable Housing Access’s affiliate Project Access will provide on-site social services for all residents.

Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein. Courtesy: Realted California.

“We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with stakeholders and partners to bring this development forward to this milestone.” said Ann Silverberg, CEO of Related California Nor Cal Affordable and Northwest Divisions. 

“Addressing California’s acute affordable housing shortfall is key to Related California’s mission, and we are pleased to be involved in such an impactful development in an ideal location in Sunnyvale.”

Block 15 was designed by Steinberg Hart and will be the transition from the Mathilda Avenue commercial corridor to the Washington Park single-family neighborhood. 

The development has been designed with green building features, including photovoltaic panels, low water planting and efficient irrigation.

“This is what I hoped to see when I urged the Board of Supervisors in 2018 to commit $40 million to help create affordable housing for people of modest means with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. 

“Our collaboration with public and private partners means we’re closer to having more homes in our community where folks can live safely and independently, regardless of their circumstances.”

Sunnyvale Block 15 is being financed with conventional debt, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and Project Based Section 8 Vouchers. The development is anticipated to be completed in Fall 2023.