Most of the elderly residents are already settling into their new apartments, starting new lives in the old downtown Sacramento high-rise once known as the Riverview Apartments.
But today is the official ribbon-cutting and open house at the renamed Edge Water Apartments the renovated affordable housing building for low-income seniors at 626 I St. The project marks the last of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency's share of state redevelopment funds, said SHRA's director of public housing, Nick Chhotu.
The allocation of those tax increment funds for redevelopment contributed $3.2 million toward the $20 million mixed-use housing renovation, which includes office space on the first three floors.
"These redevelopment funds were committed in 2009," said Chhotu. "But for now, no more of these projects, not with the loss of these tax increment funds. A couple of million dollars of investment is significant."
Built in 1972, the 12-story building was in need of serious repair by 2007, when the last occupants of its 108 units moved to housing elsewhere.
The roof leaked, flooding residential units as well as offices on the lower floors. Plumbing and electrical were outdated and dangerous. The heating and air system needed major overhaul. The building was out of compliance both with accessibility laws and city code.
"It needed significant rehab," said Chhotu.
With a $10 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's public housing transformation fund one of 15 such grants awarded across the country the building received the face-lift it needed, complete with a new roof and windows, new plumbing, electrical and heating systems and updated kitchens and bathrooms.
Community block grant funds and federal Housing and Urban Development financing also contributed.
Now few openings remain in the building. Residents have already moved into more than 100 of the Edge Water's units, which are designated for extremely low-income older adults: people whose incomes are at or below 30 percent of the area's median income.
"When they retire and move into the fixed-income category, they're not able to afford to continue living where they already are," said SHRA spokeswoman Angela Jones. "They need to live somewhere affordable. There's no question that need is continuing and will be increasing over time."
The Edge Water is one of three downtown high-rises that SHRA designates for low-income older adults.
"It's not nearly enough," said Chhotu.
The waiting list for elderly-only housing never closes, said Jones. Applicants for affordable housing undergo a lengthy screening process that includes income assessment and criminal background checks. (To apply, go to wWww.sacwaitlist.com.)