California Construction News staff writer
California’s Department of Housing and community Development (HCD) and the California Department of General Services (DGS) are seeking qualified developers to build housing on five state-owned properties.
The new sites include former office buildings of the state water resources board in Fresno, former offices of the department of corrections and rehabilitation in Covina, a single-story commercial building in Sacramento, a vacant California Department of Transportation site in Oceanside and a buffer zone near the Atascadero State Hospital in Atascadero.
Governor Gavin Newsom said the state is also working to turn the historic L.A. County Hospital into hundreds of housing units for homeless Californians. With a $50 million challenge grant, Newsom says he is kickstarting the public-private initiative “that’ll turn this dream into reality”.
The building has been vacant for more than 10 years, and officials say the 1.1 million s. ft. of space could be turned into over 800 units.
“It’s a question of ingenuity. It’s a question of prioritization, a question of maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit to address tis crisis head-on,” Newsom said.
The latest announcement under the Excess Land for Affordable Housing program is the 16th partnerships between the state, affordable housing developers, and local communities to produce sustainable, innovative, and cost-effective housing on state-owned excess sites. There are currently more than 4,400 new homes under construction in various stages of development.
Legislation was also enacted earlier in September to create more affordable housing.
“California’s housing affordability crisis has been more than a half century in the making and the state is tackling this foundational challenge with an innovative ‘all of the above’ approach,” Newsom said.
“We’ve made unprecedented investments and progress to create more housing in California over the past four years, including using state-owned land to build homes – one of my first actions in 2019.”
Newly passed SB 561 codifies the Excess Land for Affordable Housing Executive Order and requires DGS and HCD to identify state surplus land that can be used for affordable housing development.