Sonoma County’s booming housing market set another record in July. The median sale price of a single-family home reached $825,000, signaling “a continued frenzy in the housing market emerging from the pandemic that has exacerbated affordability for middle-class families striving to become homeowners,” according to The Press Democrat.
In Healdsburg, one of the most expensive places to live in Sonoma County, affordable housing options are few and far between, especially in the wake of the pandemic, which has made high-earning urbanites able to relocate to larger homes in less-populated areas as they continue to work from home.
Aligning with the goal to expand workforce housing in one of the North Bay’s most expensive markets, a new housing development in Healdsburg will feature 41 low-income rentals available to Healdsburg residents and workers. The housing development, named The Exchange, will offer affordable units to those earning below 50% of the annual median income — $58,150 for a family of four and about $40,000 for an individual.
The Exchange will be part of the $500 million Mill District mixed-use development that will include luxury condominiums. The project recently broke ground on the site of a former lumber mill property just off the Healdsburg Plaza.
“These units are critical. I also think it’s a good opportunity for people to live in mixed-income units,” said Stephen Sotomayor, Healdsburg’s housing administrator, in an interview with The Press Democrat in November 2020. “Studies show a mix of incomes in different areas, including affordable housing units, makes for a more healthy community, instead of clustering certain incomes in a certain area.”
Replay Destinations, a Vancouver-based real estate developer, is in charge of turning the former lumber mill property into Mill District, which, in addition to luxury residences, will feature a retail and commercial space, a boutique hotel and a public park. The company has partnered with Eden Housing of Hayward, an affordable housing developer, to create the affordable apartments that will make up The Exchange.
The 41 affordable units, designed by Oakland-based Pyatok Architecture + Urban Design, will feature modern interiors, new energy-efficient appliances and will have central heating and air-conditioning. Common outdoor areas will have barbecues and 21 raised garden beds available to residents.
The luxury residences will be designed by Seattle-based architect Olson Kundig. The interiors will have a “restrained modern aesthetic” with open-concept floor plans, appliances by Miele, wine fridges and sliding and fixed glass walls that will connect indoor and outdoor spaces.
At a recent groundbreaking event, spirits were high as developers, investors and local leaders came together to celebrate the beginning of the new mixed-use development. The projected completion date for the Mill District is September 2022. Healdsburg council member Ariel Kelley mentioned at the event that those interested in living at The Exchange can prepare for eligibility now by working on improving their credit scores and filing income taxes.
To apply for an affordable unit, join the interest list here: edenhousing.org/properties/mill-district-affordable-apartments
To become a reservation holder for a luxury unit, connect here: milldistricthealdsburg.com/residences