Mayor Steinberg's Cap and Trade legacy produces millions of dollars for Sacramento affordable housing
Two affordable housing projects planned near downtown Sacramento will receive nearly $34 million from a state program spearheaded by Mayor Darrell Steinberg in his former role as leader of the state Senate.
The California Strategic Growth Council made the awards at its June 21 meeting. More than half of the money, $18.8 million, will go to construct the first buildings in a modern, mixed-income community planned for the now-demolished Twin Rivers public housing complex in the River District.
Another $15.2 million will fund affordable housing in The Railyards development just north of downtown Sacramento.
The money comes from state Cap and Trade funds administered under the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, which was created through negotiations between Mayor Steinberg and former Gov. Jerry Brown. They agreed that 20 percent of the proceeds from the state’s auctions of carbon credits would go to fund affordable housing projects that reduce carbon emissions through proximity to public transit, jobs and routes for biking and walking.
Mayor Steinberg said he considers the program one of the most significant victories in his legislative career. To date, it has funded 6,050 affordable housing units around the state and eliminated an estimated 1.58 million tons of carbon emissions.
Not only does the money build affordable housing, it funds the type of environmentally sustainable communities envisioned in one of Mayor Steinberg’s signature pieces of legislation, SB 375.
“Having an ongoing source of state funding for affordable housing is crucial in California, where high rents continue to drive more people into homelessness,” Mayor Steinberg said. “Everyone in our community and state deserves a decent place to live.
“At the same time, we need to grow in a way that creates healthier communities where people can walk, bike or take public transit instead of depending solely on expensive, polluting cars.”
The Twin Rivers award will allow construction to begin this spring on the first 123 units, which will be spread in a mix of townhouses and one four-story apartment building. One hundred of these units will be reserved for low-income tenants, while 23 will be rented at market rates, said Rachel Hazlewood, a senior project manager with the City of Sacramento. Eventually the development — renamed Mirasol Village — will have 487 units.
“This was the linchpin to getting started,” Hazlewood said of the state funding.
The project is being built by McCormack Baron Salazar, one of the nation’s leading affordable housing developers, in partnership with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.
Earlier this year, SHRA was awarded $23 million in Cap and Trade funds from the Strategic Growth Council, mostly for a light rail station that will be built adjacent to the new development.
The second award, of $15.2 million, went to Railyards developer LDK Ventures to help finance 69 affordable housing units planned as part of a 303-unit mixed income housing complex.
The planned complex will be the first housing constructed in the former railyards, which once employed thousands of people but has sat dormant for decades. The Railyards is poised for a significant breakthrough with plans for a new Major League Soccer stadium and adjacent development by Sacramento Republic FC and a new Kaiser hospital.