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Santa Clara Approves Agrihood, City's Largest Affordable Housing Project In Pipeline

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Rendering of Agrihood in Santa Clara
Rendering of Agrihood in Santa Clara

Santa Clara has approved its largest affordable housing project in the pipeline — an "agrihood" that will combine urban living with farm life.

The city approved the project, a public-private partnership between the city and developer The Core Cos., last week. Called Agrihood, the mixed-income property will have 361 apartments, with 181 of those below market rate, 160 of which will be for low-income seniors. A 1.7-acre urban farm and community retail and open space will complete the neighborhood.

The city had the site earmarked for senior housing for more than a decade.

“This project was borne out of a dire need to bring affordable housing through a truly creative, community-driven process. The Core Companies has kept this mission and urgency at the center of its work and dialogue with the city and community stakeholders," The Core Cos. Senior Development Manger Vince Cantore said in a statement. “Santa Clara’s seniors have already waited more than a decade for housing at this site. An available below-market home for a senior can be the differentiator between a comfortable, safe environment in which to spend one’s golden years, or an extended period of financial stress and uncertainty.”

Rendering of Agrihood in Santa Clara
Rendering of Agrihood in Santa Clara

The project will be across from Westfield Valley Fair near San Jose on the former UC Davis agricultural research and development site. Westfield Valley Fair has been undergoing a $1.1B overhaul to create an entertainment and shopping destination.

There have been disputes between Santa Clara and San Jose in recent years about large projects on their border. Most notable, the cities settled a legal fight at the beginning of 2018 over Santa Clara's City Place and San Jose's Santana West mixed-use developments. The cities had argued that such large projects on the border would increase traffic congestion in the neighboring city and the project in Santa Clara would create more jobs without adequate housing. As part of the agreement, Santa Clara committed to build more housing.

Rendering of Agrihood in Santa Clara
Rendering of Agrihood in Santa Clara

The Core Cos. was selected in 2015 as the former UC Davis site's master developer and has met with neighbors, community leaders and public officials and held public meetings to discuss the design and programming for the site, addressing some of the pushback from those who wanted the property to be agricultural. In addition to the housing provided at the Agrihood site, the on-site farm will provide local food while also bringing outdoor recreational and educational resources to the residents and surrounding neighborhoods. The agrihood will be designed by Steinberg Hart Architects with CMG Landscape Architecture. Construction is expected to begin in 2020.