The riverfront has long been Anthony Cargile’s home. What’s new is the roof over his head.
In March, Cargile became one of the first residents to move into a brand new building in a budding development along the American River. Before then, he slept on the riverbank, the shadow of the Cannery Place Apartments growing in his proverbial backyard.
“It’s humbling to be so close to where I slept outside that when I go walking, I can pass right by,” said Cargile, 53, a recovering cocaine addict who has struggled with addiction and homelessness for the past decade. “Whenever I’m having a bad day, all I need to do is go walk by that river and remember how many people haven’t made it out from the other side of that levee, how many people haven’t found their way home.”
Cannery Place Apartments, located at 601 Cannery Ave., was officially unveiled Monday by investors, entrepreneurs, and local and state officials who invested heavily in the $40 million affordable housing project. It was heralded as the beginning of a new era for Sacramento’s River District, which is undergoing a complete makeover as Township Nine, a 65-acre transit-oriented development along Richards Boulevard north of downtown Sacramento.
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But for people like Cargile, who want to live near downtown but can’t afford most of the available housing, it’s also a lifeline, said La Shelle Dozier, executive director of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.
“This really serves as an example of what affordable housing should look like,” Dozier said in an interview. “People hear about all the projects and services that are coming downtown with the arenas and different restaurants, but they don’t really think about the fact that there has to be someplace for those people (who work downtown) to live.”
Township Nine is part of a large-scale plan to revitalize land that once housed railyards and industrial plants and turn the area into a “diverse, urban, mixed-use district,” according to development officials.
180 Number of one- and two-bedroom units at Cannery Place Apartments, a new affordable-housing complex in Sacramento’s River District
A city-sanctioned master plan directing the redevelopment of the River District calls for 2,500 new housing units, 840,000 square feet of office space and 145,000 square feet of retail to fill out the area at the end of Regional Transit’s Green Line.
The Cannery Place complex, which contains 180 one- and two-bedroom apartments, was about 70 percent filled as of Monday’s grand opening. The units are rented out to residents who qualify for affordable housing based on their income status and family size. Additional subsidies from SHRA are also available.
Cargile is living in a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate, and they pay just over $900 a month. He said he relies on Social Security payments to cover his rent while he pursues a degree at American River College.
The apartment building surrounds a 185-car concrete parking garage and offers residents two community decks with decorative greenery, metallic picnic tables and chairs. Units come with their own patios or stoops, depending on what floor the apartment is situated.
Officials expect the building to be at 100 percent capacity by the end of June.
“This is one of the jewels of Sacramento right here,” said City Councilman Jeff Harris, in whose district the new development resides. “The River District has been largely neglected for years … but this is really going to be a destination for people to come to live and walk and just hang out.”