Blighted motel transformed into new apartment complex

Blighted motel transformed into new apartment complex

Michele Ellson
The Park Alameda

Housing advocates and city leaders gathered Wednesday to celebrate the long-sought transformation of the former Islander Motel into an apartment complex for low-income workers.

“It took a really long time to do this. There were a lot of people involved. But it was certainly worth everyone’s while,” Housing Authority Executive Director Mike Pucci said over the din of the crowd that packed The Park Alameda complex’s new, sun-soaked community room to chat over plates of catered treats and a jazz band outside.

Pucci said the city had sought to acquire the blighted, 40-year-old motel for 15 years before its owner agreed to sell to the city, in 2011. The motel, which had 69 units – seven of which were crafted illegally from a garage – had been described as a “magnet” for crime.

The city and its affordable housing developer partner, the Berkeley-based Resources for Community Development, also had to piece together financing for the $19.53 million project which ultimately included bonds financed by $8.6 million in future property taxes, $8.3 million in tax credits and another $2.7 million in federal housing money provided to the city and Alameda County.

They used it to transform the motel into a sustainably built complex with 62 studio apartments, whose occupants receive bus passes and help accessing any social services they may need. The complex, which also boasts the community room, a laundry room, a new office building and bike racks, is just two blocks from Park Street, at the corner of Park and Central avenues.

Apartments in the complex, which was completed in April, were made available to people earning between 20 and 50 percent of the median income for Alameda County, or between $19,340 and $48,350; some of the units in the complex, which is full, were set aside for disabled people. Rents are between $300 and $785 a month for the units, which house one to two people each.

Resources for Community Development also built the city’s Breakers at Bayport and Shinsei Gardens affordable housing complexes; the Park Alameda is being managed by The John Stewart Company.

Ground was broken on the complex in January 2012, on the last day cities had redevelopment agencies they could use to funnel future property taxes into development and affordable housing projects. At that time, about half of the residents still at the complex – about a dozen – were expected to be eligible to stay.

Comments

Submitted by Bacchante on Sun, May 19, 2013

Sadly, if last night was any judge, things won't have changed much at the new complex. Just after midnight, there was the same old screaming, sirens and police there, that there had been when the motel was there.

I hope I'm wrong, but maybe we should worry less about Scobie's. For the most part, they haven't done anything wrong.

Submitted by jcp on Tue, May 21, 2013

Very odd - there were two comments about Scobies being in close proximity to here that have been deleted. Can the admin please let us know why there were deleted?

In support of those posts, I'd like to point everyone to this:
"Large Brawl and Stabbing at Scobie's Sunday Morning"
(This is not new and is not the fault of the hotel residents, as the earlier post seems to be saying)

http://alameda.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/stabbing-at-scoobies-s...

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