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Sacramento project signs up nonprofit senior housing

On the third floor of the parking garage at Sacramento City College, developer Paul Petrovich stands with the Curtis Park Village site sitting in the abandoned rail yard to the east of the campus. A long-contentious infill development proposal to turn an abandoned railyard near Curtis Park into a new landscape of homes and stores goes soon to City Hall in search of approvals while arguments over the plan continue. Developer Paul Petrovich says his vision for the 72-acre railyard site will complement the neighborhood. But a powerful Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association still says it will badly clash, bringing an auto-oriented suburban-style development into an historic area developed from the 1890s to the 1920s. July 21, 2009.

Nonprofit builder and property manager Bridge Housing of San Francisco will build 90 senior apartments in Sacramento’s proposed Curtis Park Village development if the project wins city approval, developer Paul Petrovich announced Friday.

Bridge Housing is the first builder to formally sign on in Curtis Park Village, a planned 72-acre project on an abandoned Western Pacific railyard site between the historic neighborhoods of Curtis Park and Land Park. The plan calls for more than 500 dwellings, a grocery store and several smaller retail outlets on the infill site near Sacramento City College.

Petrovich is proposing the senior apartments to fulfill a city requirement – and another from the state based on its award of housing bond funds – that part of the project’s housing be affordable to lower-income people.

“We only negotiated with them,” Petrovich said of Bridge Housing. “We’ve entered into a long-term agreement to build the housing.

The newly minted deal calls for Petrovich to provide 1.3 acres of land to Bridge at no cost and build the infrastructure and a sound wall between the apartments and nearby railroad tracks. Bridge Housing will build and manage the apartments, said Brad Wiblin, vice president of the nonprofit group.

The apartments are among the first Sacramento ventures for Bridge, which has built 13,000 residential units since its 1983 founding. About 2,000 of them are senior apartments and condominiums across California.

“We have thousands and thousands of units in the Bay Area, and are kind of moving toward Sacramento, Stockton, Solano County and West Sacramento,” Wiblin said.

Bridge, specializing in bond funding and tax-credit financing, is best known in the Bay Area. But it’s built more than 3,000 residences in Southern California since opening an office there 12 years ago.

“We’ve been talking with all manner of folks in Sacramento,” said Wiblin. He said the nonprofit organization has an agreement to buy a site in downtown Sacramento, though he declined to disclose the site. It’s also allied with the West Sacramento Redevelopment Agency and Sacramento-based Fulcrum Property to build 70 income-qualified apartments in the city’s riverfront Bridge District.

The Curtis Park Village apartments are years from a move-in date. Petrovich needs approvals from the city of Sacramento and the state to begin construction. He faces some resistance from the Sierra-Curtis Neighborhood Association, which is worried about suburban- style development in a historic area.

First up is certification of an environmental impact report for the project. Petrovich said he expects to take that before city planning commissioners in February and to the City Council in March. City officials could not be reached Friday to confirm the schedule.

Petrovich also must win approval from the state Department of Toxic Substances Control for a new cleanup plan at the development site. More toxic contamination has been found at the railroad site since an initial state-approved cleanup plan.

Petrovich said he will return to City Hall later this year for votes on zoning changes necessary for the plan to go forward.

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