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Groundbreaking in Downtown Sacramento for first affordable housing development under Governor’s Executive Order

In keeping with safety precautions and social distancing due to COVID-19, CACDC and CFY Development held a virtual groundbreaking for Sonrisa on Friday, June 4, 2021 at 10:30 am. In-person attendance at the ceremony was limited to the project partners.

Sonrisa is the first project to break ground under Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-06-19 for Affordable Housing Development, which prioritizes affordable housing development on excess State-owned property and pursuit of sustainable, innovative, and cost-effective construction methods. Located at 1322 O Street, Sonrisa features 58 microunits of affordable housing and 1,300 SF of ground floor community space. All of 58 units will be affordable at low and very low income levels.  The project is expected be completed by November 2022.

“Sonrisa means ‘Smile’ in Spanish and there’s lots to smile about with this project. Thanks to the help of our partners who helped back this innovative/creative/unique project as well as our future affordable housing project at 17th and S Streets, we will be able to offer a product that eases the affordability challenges facing many Sacramentans right now,” said CACDC President Wendy Saunders.

The $20.9 million investment is centrally located one block south of the State Capitol on an underutilized infill site with exceptional public transit accessibility, walkability, and proximity to jobs and services. The Zero Net Energy (ZNE) building envelope will be constructed as a five-story Type-3B using mass plywood panel for the horizontal components of the building.

The project is feasible through multiple layers of public financing including a development ground lease with the State of California Department of General Services (DGS), a Capitol Area Development Authority loan, Federal tax credits and bonds, and an HCD Transit-Oriented Development Program loan.

The project was one of the most competitive TOD Program applicants, for which it was awarded $10 million. The Program aims to increase public transit ridership by funding higher density affordable housing developments near transit, as well as infrastructure improvements to support transit and housing connections. The project sponsor also collaborated with SacRT on two companion TOD infrastructure grant applications, which were awarded over $2 million to further the Light Rail Modernization Project at the 13th Street and Archives Plaza Stations.

The project financing partners are DGS, CADA (a joint powers authority between the State of California and the City of Sacramento); California Department of Housing and Community Development; WNC & Associates, Inc; CalHFA; and JPMorgan Chase Bank.