Partners in creating a new affordable housing community in Fountain Valley gathered Wednesday to celebrate the completion of a project estimated to have cost $28.3 million.
Prado, a project by Related California, is Fountain Valley’s first development dedicated solely to affordable housing in nearly two decades.
The 50-unit complex is located on the east edge of town at 16790 Harbor Blvd. It was created for renters who earn between 30% and 60% of the area’s median income, which was $89,924 according to the US Census for the years 2016-2020.
There are four residential buildings and one community building on the 4.5 acre site, which is close to recreational opportunities. The new units are a stone’s throw from the Santa Ana River Trail and offer beach access for bikers. Mile Square Park is also a few blocks west.
“The City of Fountain Valley is committed to the challenging task of creating opportunity for new affordable housing developments in our community,” said Patrick Harper, Mayor of Fountain Valley. “New housing development in Fountain Valley is difficult due to the lack of vacant land and the high cost of available land. Building affordable housing is even more difficult and generally requires a collaboration of many sources to fund and build a new development.
“Prado Family Homes is the exciting result of the committed partnership between Related California, the Foundation for Affordable Housing, Orange County and the City of Fountain Valley to provide much-needed affordable housing and support services to Fountain Valley residents.”
Groundbreaking for the project took place in November 2020 and the development attracted widespread interest. More than 600 people expressed their desire to move into the complex, which has been fully rented since the end of May.
“This city has been tremendously collaborative,” said Bill Witte, executive director of Related California. “They helped us financially through the acquisition of the site, which was privately owned, and then really streamlined the process. … The city has really worked hard on this project. That is my great insight from today.”
Prado consists of 23 one bedroom, one bath units (465 to 563 square feet), 14 two bedroom, one bath units (792 square feet), and 13 three bedroom, two bath units (1,090 square feet). ). Rent ranges from $640 to $1,450 for a one-bedroom apartment, $701 to $1,727 for a two-bedroom apartment, and $760 to $1,981 for a three-bedroom apartment.
The two and three room apartments have a terrace on the ground floor or a balcony on the upper floors. There is also an open plan area with outdoor exercise equipment, a children’s playground and a BBQ area.
“You have to treat it as high-quality, standard living space,” said Witte. “…These are market quality apartments but due to affordability, occupancy is limited. If you don’t think like this, you will not succeed.
“I don’t want to overdo it. This is not like a luxury apartment, but a quality rental complex with open spaces, amenities and services for residents.”
Fountain Valley city officials, including Harper and Mayor Pro Tem Kim Constantine, toured the complex during the event. A few residents invited tour groups to tour their homes.
Modern kitchens contain electric ranges and quartz countertops with refrigeration units included. The apartments also have vinyl floors and there is some artwork hanging in the hallway.
Jessica Rodriguez, 35, moved in with her family in the last week of March. She said they lived in Anaheim with her mother in a two-bedroom apartment. Rent at her former location was $3,100, she said. Now Rodriguez and her mother both live at the Prado but in separate units.
“I don’t mind the area,” Rodriguez said. “I like that. It’s closer to the beach, closer to Mile Square Park.”
Eight of the 50 units are dedicated to housing veterans currently experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Robert Hill, an Air Force veteran and resident of the property, was one of many who felt it was a fine thing.
“I served in the military because I know it helps other people,” Hill said. “We have to defend others. I have been in education for over 30 years because it helps people go to a better place. It helps people afford to live in Orange County. … This is a beautiful property. It’s modern. It’s clean. It smells good.”
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