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September 22, 2023

3 affordable housing projects move forward

WATSONVILLE—Earth-moving equipment is carving up three lots off of Freedom Boulevard to make way for more than 200 affordable housing units set to be completed by nonprofit developers over the next two years.

MidPen Housing is leading projects on Miles and Atkinson lanes that combined will produce 152 units, while Eden Housing is moving forward with a 53-unit development at the corner of Freedom Boulevard and Atkinson Lane. Both MidPen and Eden are nonprofit developers with years of experience in the field and several affordable housing complexes throughout Watsonville and the greater Central Coast.

The land at 139-161 Miles Lane and 201 Kimberly Lane is being redeveloped to make way for a 72-unit affordable housing project. Approved by Watsonville City Council in 2020, the joint project between MidPen Housing and Encompass Community Services will spread out over a 4.7-acre grassy lot. The completion date is slated for spring 2024.

MidPen will construct five 3-story apartment buildings and one 2-story community center with a manager’s unit. Two separate buildings will be used by Encompass as inpatient and outpatient facilities. Plans call for 16 studio apartments ($644-1,288) as well as 19 1-bedroom ($644-1380), 18 2-bedroom ($490-1319) and 19 3-bedroom ($828-2,134) units. 

MidPen’s other development is reshaping the land at 78 Atkinson Lane to make way for an 80-unit affordable housing complex between Atkinson Lane and Brewington Avenue.

The project, part of a multiphase development plan approved some two decades ago, will feature three 3-story buildings, an open gathering space and 137 parking spaces. 

It is the second phase of the Pippin Orchards development. The first phase was completed at 56 Atkinson Lane in 2019. Like that project, every unit of the new development will be deed-restricted under the county’s affordable housing policies. Of the 80 units, 39 of them will be deed-restricted to farmworker families, 37 would be filled through vouchers from the county’s Housing Authority and all of them would be listed between 30-60% of the area’s median income.

The entrance to the 78 Atkinson Lane development will stem off Brewington Avenue and not allow through traffic from Brewington Avenue to Atkison Lane.

Additionally—just down the block—the groundwork is well underway on Eden Housing’s 53-unit apartment complex at 1482 Freedom Blvd. The development is expected to be completed by fall 2023. River Nursery & Flower Shop formerly called that location home.

Half of thoe units will go to farmworker families, and it will also serve people experiencing homelessness, and those with developmental disabilities.

It is slated for people earning between 25% to 50% of the area median income.

The project will offer a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, and includes environmentally friendly features such as solar panels over carports, low-flow water fixtures, Energy Star appliances and indoor bike parking. 

It will also include a computer room, a community room, laundry facilities and an outdoor barbecue and play area.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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