watsonville affordable housing project Midpen
An aerial view view of the proposed site of the 72-unit affordable housing project on Miles Lane in Watsonville. — courtesy of the City of Watsonville

WATSONVILLE—A 72-unit affordable housing project on Miles Lane off Freedom Boulevard is moving forward.

The Watsonville City Council at its Tuesday meeting unanimously approved the development, a joint project between MidPen Housing and Encompass Community Services that will reshape a 4.7-acre lot which has mostly sat vacant.

The council also approved $2.3 million worth of loans to MidPen, a nonprofit developer, in order to advance the project.

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.

There will be 16 studio apartments as well as 19 1-bedroom, 18 2-bedroom and 19 3-bedroom units. Monthly rent will range between $490-2,134, MidPen said.

Altogether, those buildings will total roughly 101,000 square feet on 139-161 Miles Lane and 201 Kimberly Lane.

Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2021.

The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval for the project at its May meeting. The project also garnered support from Watsonville Wetlands Watch Executive Director Jonathan Pilch, as well as representatives from Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, Santa Cruz Community Health and Dientes Community Dental.

MidPen has constructed and currently manages dozens of affordable housing complexes throughout the Central Coast and Bay Area. The developer has seven such properties in the Watsonville area, including the recently constructed Pippins Orchards Apartments on Atkinson Lane.

City staff said the impact on traffic will be minimal, but additional signage for the tricky intersection at Marin Street and Auto Center Drive will be added. The council also suggested additional signage be added to the intersection at Freedom Boulevard and Miles Lane.

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Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor of The Pajaronian for five years and three years as Managing Editor. He is a Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus.


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