2019 was a big year but 2020 is poised to be an even bigger year thanks to the wide variety of new developments that will be coming to the Salinas area including the following:
The exterior work on the MoonGate Plaza affordable housing complex in Chinatown is done, said Betsy Wilson, director of special projects at MidPen Housing, which is developing the project.
It will offer 88 units for low-income tenants, with half of them reserved for those referred by health officials, she said. MidPen is waiting on some final work on elevators and then approval from inspectors.
“Just as soon as that’s done, we’re going to be ramping up to moving people in,” she said.
MidPen has received more than 800 applications — 23 had been approved as of last week, Wilson said. Most of the units are studios.
Workers in early 2018 began building the complex, which will also dedicate five apartments for artists.
State and federal tax credits provided the lion’s share of the $38.9 million price tag. The city donated the property, valued at about $500,000, and $2.5 million.
The project also has space for storefronts and retail on the ground floor.
Wilson said she hopes MoonGate will be ready for tenants to start moving in by the end of January. She doesn’t expect to have all the rooms filled until all applications are finished, which may take several months.
MidPen currently isn’t building any other housing complexes in Salinas, Wilson said.
“This is… our first community in Salinas,” she said. “… We continue to look for opportunities but there are a lot of constraints, the primary one being a lack of local funding.”
Indeed, Salinas has an enormous affordable housing crunch and is well short of its 2023 goal of 2,229 homes being built, according to the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership.
A permanent homeless shelter
Salinas will be getting a new homeless shelter, expected to be completed by December 2020, at 855 E. Laurel Drive.
The 16,000 square-foot facility will have 100 beds and a fully functional kitchen, according to Monterey County. The board of supervisors in November awarded the $5,760,231 contract to Avila Construction, which is expected to begin work in January, according to a staff report.
It will also replace the current homeless shelter, which is housed in a repurposed modular at 111 W. Alisal Street.
But the East Laurel Drive location prompted protests and galvanized Creekbridge residents to oppose the location.
They lobbied the Salinas city council to oppose the project, which is a joint effort by the city and the county, over concerns about it attracting crime and drug use to their neighborhoods.
Ultimately, the project moved forward. The county is handling the construction side, including awarding the bids.
About $6 million in state funds are paying for the project, with Salinas and Monterey County sharing the remaining costs, most of which are for professional services, testing, inspections and permitting, according to the county’s Resource Management Agency.
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