MODESTO, Calif. — Entry-level workers, like those in the retail and restaurant industry, will have to wait a bit longer for the arrival of Modesto's new affordable apartments.
The 1612 is the project that'll transform the shuttered Clarion Inn on Sisk Road into 150 new apartments. The workforce housing project from the Stanislaus Regional Housing Authority is meant for workers who make too much for subsidized housing but still struggle to make rent.
Barbara Kauss, CEO of the housing authority, said the project's delay to mid-2022 comes after shortages of building materials and workers.
“Some of the issues with the contractors are not just materials but also their staffing- trying to get employees. Then, even bids that we had at times have had to be... renegotiated or actually rebid because the contractors can’t honor prices before due to materials or due to staffing. There’s been a lot of stop and go.”
Phase 1 of the project, which builds a new home for the housing authority, is still on track to be completed before the end of this year. Jim Kruse, deputy director for the housing authority, said this part of the project is still moving along even with some prior supply chain issues.
"There have been delays on backside due to weather delays when we had the roofing construction completed and also steel shortages. It took about an extra four to six weeks to get the steel in we needed to complete that portion of the project,” Kruse said.
The workforce housing project, on the other hand, will be delayed to early fall or late summer of 2022.
“It looks like the workforce housing is about 6 months delayed due to the COVID-involved delays," Kruse said. "We’ve had a lot of staff that were out, working from home. Some of them were actually out of work so we finally caught up with that… we’re getting back on schedule but we’re running about six months off schedule on that one.”
Kauss added that most of the things that were taken for granted or thought would be straightforward ended up being more of a challenge than expected.
“We were kind of taken back at first too because we thought ‘oh wow, we’re going to order all this material and make people happy locally and make jobs and all of this' and it just wasn’t out there,” she said.
However, she has no doubts that the project will come through in the end.
“I think our community needs a win, and I think this is going to be one of the things that people feel good about because we’ve all come together,” she said.
The renovated hotel will provide 150 apartment units, translating to 142 studios and eight one-bedroom apartments. The studios will be around 300 square feet and cost about $850, a price that includes WiFi, utilities, and cable.
Other features include a washer/dryer unit for the apartment, kitchenette, microwave, sink, and a "Murphy bed," which is a bed that folds up into the wall to provide more space.
All in all, beyond being housing, Kauss said the project is being designed as a micro-community.
"We’ll have a community there that has some business, some enterprise, some livability, 150 units, plus our offices and also affordable rentals for people needing training spaces or spaces for social events. It’s a micro-community, the first of its kind, definitely, in Modesto,” she said.