By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Santa Rosa developer Hugh Futrell is planning a six-story downtown apartment building for 140 low-income seniors.
The $30 million project on Fourth Street near Brookwood Avenue will include a medical center and other services for seniors on the first floor, features Futrell says are crucial for an aging population.
“The exploding demographic of low- and very-low income elderly has created an urgent need for affordable housing linked to affordable preventive medical care and supportive services,” Futrell in a statement.
The project is another example of how developers are rethinking what they can build in response to a real estate market still recovering from a historic collapse and a tight lending environment heavily reliant on tax credit financing for low income housing.
Futrell is currently building a five-story low-income project on Humboldt Street. He also recently scaled back his Museum on the Square project at the former AT&T building, eliminating five stories of apartments in an effort to close the deal and begin construction in August.
Futrell has owned the vacant three-quarters-acre lot at 888 Fourth Street for about five years. In 2008 he won approval for build a seven-story building with 52-market rate condominiums. The recession killed that deal, so Futrell later tried to resurrect it as 116 units of rental housing. That also went nowhere.
Then last year, he began talking to two potential partners to take the project in a new direction.
Episcopal Senior Communities, the owner of Spring Lake Village in eastern Santa Rosa, and Jennings Court south of Coddingtown, saw the opportunity to house seniors close to downtown and the nearby medical services district anchored by Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
“They were conscious of how quickly someone could be at the hospital in case of an emergency,” Futrell said.
ESC would manage the housing and supportive services, such as counseling services and meal delivery, of the complex.
The medical center would be leased and run by Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, which operates five health centers around the city mostly for people who don’t have private health insurance. They saw the project as a way to expand services to the city’s growing senior population.
The two organizations would coordinate their efforts to ensure needed services are delivered effectively, Futrell said.
The project could get underway by the end of the year. It will be financed through a combination of private lending, owner investment and low-income housing tax credits, he said.
(You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or email@example.com. On Twitter @citybeater)