STOCKTON, Calif. — It may not look so flashy quite yet, but a block-and-a-half long stretch of buildings on Miner Avenue and Hunter Street in Downtown Stockton will soon be transformed into 65 units of affordable housing.
"What's so exciting here is we are actually developing it into housing and commercial space," said Carol Ornelas, CEO of non-profit Visionary Home Builders of California.
The Stockton developer is behind the $41-million Grand View Village project, which coincidentally sits right across the street from their headquarters on San Joaquin Street.
"It's easy to say, 'Oh, it's going to bring down property value.' But, through my experience and developing affordable housing, when you do it right, people don't know it's a low-income community," said Ornelas.
The project, across from the downtown movie complex, is four years in the making. Funding is a mix of loans and grants. Visionary has built 2,300 affordable housing units and single-family homes in its 35 years in business.
The plans also call for improvements, like landscaping and getting people to walk and to bike more, as well as use public transit on buses and rail.
"Part of the program is to get people out of their car and to using other modes of transportation," Ornelas explained.
Below the units, retail development will include something the heart of downtown hasn't seen in years: A grocery store.
"I think it's a big deal. It's adding much needed units for downtown," said Stockton Economic Development Director Micah Runner.
Runner says more than 150 affordable housing units are either under construction or in the approval stages with more units expected down the road throughout the city.
"I think we're looking forward to the different funding sources that are being discussed and how we may use those sources to better the community and provide more housing for individuals who need it," Runner said.
This latest project still has some funding to lock in before it's completely a done deal. If all goes as planned, the renovations and building will begin about a year from now.
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