Construction will soon begin on an affordable housing apartment complex and public parking garage project in downtown San Mateo called Kiku Crossing to address the dearth of affordable housing, with developers and the city excited about the project’s potential.

“People on the Peninsula are pretty well aware now of the affordable housing crisis that we have, and this development makes a big dent in addressing that with 225 units,” said Mollie Naber, associate director of development at MidPen Housing, the project developer.

According to a San Mateo press release, the project will be a 100% affordable housing development, with a seven-story apartment building with 225 units at 480 E. Fourth Ave. MidPen will also construct a public five-story parking garage holding 525 public spaces and 164 private spaces. The development will also have a pedestrian bridge connecting to the residential building. MidPen expects to complete the parking garage in 2023 and the apartment in spring 2024. Of the 225 housing units, MidPen added 61 units to the original concept by leveraging Assembly Bill 1763. The state law allows buildings with more density and height on transit-oriented properties when all units are below market rate. The city has helped the project by contributing land for leasing and $12.5 million toward construction. The site is currently composed of multiple public parking lots. In 2012, the city negotiated with the state to retain the properties for public benefit. Naber said San Mateo was an incredible partner over the last three years during the development phase to help get building permits and help with financing.

“They have been an excellent partner, and even with that excellent partnership, it still feels like a holiday miracle to have everything come together so that we can break ground next month on schedule,” Naber said.

MidPen reached a new milestone earlier in the month when it closed financing for the project. Closing financing means a project has received committed funding from various development sources, like city, county, state and private investors, similar to buying a house. Construction will start construction in January, with a groundbreaking celebration in February.

“That’s a huge accomplishment given the sides and complexity of the development and the number of partners involved, so that’s fantastic news,” Naber said.

Naber said MidPen is open to working on similar projects in the future with other Bay Area cities to build affordable homes like the Kiku Crossing development, citing recent affordable housing developments in Redwood City like the Arroyo Green Apartments.

“We are always happy to build on the success of Kiku Crossing and our previous affordable housing developments on public land to continue to try and address the housing crises in our community,” Naber said.

There will also be several changes to buildings and occupants currently in place. The current parking lot at 480 E. Fourth Ave. closed Dec. 22, while the lot at 400 E. Fourth Ave. is closing Jan. 3. The nonprofit Samaritan House’s Worker Resource Center, which helps connect workers with employers in San Mateo and surrounding areas, will relocate to 171 N. Amphlett Blvd. starting Jan. 3. The city is helping with the relocation process.

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