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$36M affordable housing project at former Roseville Hotel site takes shape

Southern California developer secures $1.25M from county, $5.8M in loans from city
By: Graham Womack, Staff Writer
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In its final years of operation, the old Roseville Hotel fell into disrepair, becoming a reliable source of nuisance complaints and code violations.

The hope of one developer is that by 2020, something quite different will take its place.

The Roseville City Council is expected to vote Wednesday on approving a development agreement with Southern California-based developer Meta Housing Corporation to construct a 75-unit affordable housing complex on the site of the former hotel, 130-134 Main Street, and an adjoining parcel at 304 Washington Boulevard.

The council is also expected to vote on a related item that would allocate $150,000 of federal Community Development Block grants to demolish the former hotel.

It’s the latest movement in an ongoing effort to replace a blighted hotel with something that might help defray Placer County’s affordable housing crisis. Maureen Bauman, a social worker for Placer County, said there’s a shortage of new housing locally, with just a 1.5-percent vacancy rate in the county.

“We have a shortage of affordable housing,” said Bauman, who’s optimistic about what this project can do. “It’s exciting we’re all working together to see what opportunities we have to increase (affordable housing) capacity.”

The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted Feb. 7 to give $1.25 million in state Mental Health Services Act funding to Meta Housing Corporation, in exchange for the developer designating 10 units of that project as guaranteed housing for county residents who qualify under the act.

It could be a while before these 10 units are available. A development schedule submitted by the developer to the county shows a three-and-a-half-year timeline for the project, with construction to be completed in July 2020.

Roseville Housing Manager Danielle Foster said it’s normal for affordable housing projects to need an extended amount of time.

Foster said Meta Housing’s project is actually moving at a quicker pace than affordable housing projects elsewhere in Roseville by Mercy Housing and St. Anton Capital, which were each in pre-development stages for more than five years. Mercy Housing’s project is on Vernon Street, and St. Anton’s is at Pacific and Church streets.

“This is a fairly fast schedule that they’re after,” Foster said.

Meta Housing Corporation Vice President Aaron Mandel said his company is in escrow for the building with a private owner, with a tentative closing date of month’s end. He expects demolition of the old hotel six months after the close of escrow.

Demolition will displace the one remaining tenant in the two-story building, Fast Freddie’s Pizza. Adan Lopez, who has owned the business for 11 years, said no one from the city has talked to him and that he learned of plans for his building from a Press Tribune story in January.

Lopez said Monday that he’s had to call the police many times about his building, including a few days before when people broke into a vacant room next door to his business and started a fire to keep warm.

“I worry one of these days they’re going to go out and make a fire and (set fire to) the whole building,” Lopez said.

Mandel said a professional relocation consultant will be provided for Lopez at no cost to him or his business.

“We intend to provide relocation benefits, as appropriate,” Mandel said.

Financing for the $36.7-million project that will take the hotel’s place hinges on the approval of roughly $11.7 million in tax credits, as well as $5.8 million in loans from the city. Mandel isn’t flinching. He said his company looks forward to making a positive impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

“This is exactly the type of project that we like to do,” Mandel said.