Almanac

News - January 22, 2014

Menlo Park to loan $2.8 million for VA housing

by Barbara Wood

An apartment complex designed for low-income veterans and Menlo Park residents and workers moved a step closer to reality Jan. 14 when the Menlo Park City Council agreed to loan the developers up to $2.86 million to help finance the project.

The 60-unit, two-story apartment structure will be built on the grounds of the Department of Veterans Affairs on Willow Road in Menlo Park. The VA is providing the land, valued at over $13 million, at no cost to the developers, CORE Affordable Housing.

There are 54 studio and six one-bedroom units in the planned building, as well as a two-bedroom manager's unit that will not be part of the low-income program. The complex will help Menlo Park meet its state-mandated obligation to plan for more affordable housing in the city.

Rent maximums will range from $574 to $792 per month, depending on income, with a $35,520 annual income for a family of two as the current maximum to qualify. The city financing is coming from its below market rate (BMR) fund so low-income Menlo Park residents or workers will be given first priority for 11 units. Qualifying veterans who live or work in Menlo Park will be given even higher priority. In the remaining units qualifying veterans get top priority.

CORE officials had asked for a $3.5 million loan, but they since have received other funding, including $2.2 million from San Mateo County. The city also will loan CORE up to $360,000 to offset any fees the city charges the developer.

Darci Palmer, project manager for CORE, said the development is the only one currently planned for VA property in Northern California. The company hopes to start construction this fall, she said.

"I think this is a great project," said council member Kirsten Keith.

The vote approving the loan was unanimous.

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