EAH Housing, one of the largest and most respected nonprofit housing development and management organizations in the western United States, initially developed Centertown in 1992 with BRIDGE Housing, a leading nonprofit developer, owner, and manager of affordable housing on the West Coast. The joint developers began renovation efforts at the property in 2021 and focused on the rehabilitation of the building envelope, including the windows, roof, and siding. The developers implemented substantial seismic and ADA upgrades, as well as a new entry access system and energy-efficient interior and exterior lighting. Residents can also enjoy access to a new community building on the first level of the property’s courtyard and an outdoor gathering space with a BBQ area on the courtyard’s upper level.
“As we navigate the challenges of homelessness and housing instability in our beloved city, the re-opening of Centertown is a significant step forward in our ongoing commitment to ensure that every resident of San Rafael has a place to call home,” said Mayor Colin. “This renovated affordable housing development signifies our city’s commitment to providing not just roofs over heads, but nurturing environments where individuals and families can thrive. We understand that a strong community is built on the strength of its people, and these apartments are designed to foster a sense of belonging.”
The five-story development provides 60 units comprising one-, two-, and three-bedroom rentals available to San Rafael families and individuals making 30 percent to 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI). The residences are arranged around the central two-level landscaped courtyard and include a mix of flats and townhouses.
“This celebration shows the power of our collective will to strengthen communities and improve the lives of residents,” said Ken Lombard, President and CEO of BRIDGE Housing. “Quality affordable housing options improve communities for everyone, and we’re proud to partner with EAH Housing and our funding partners to ensure residents of Centertown have a firm foundation to build their lives here in San Rafael.”
Located at 855 C St., Centertown is one block from the culturally rich downtown corridor of San Rafael, which boasts a variety of shopping and dining options. The property is within walking distance of retail markets Safeway and Walgreens, as well as several public parks, the post office, and the San Rafael Community Center. Residents are in proximity to public transportation for convenient access to hospitals and police and fire stations.
On-site amenities include a 103-space parking lot with indoor options available, elevator access to the upper levels of the building, a communal laundry room, rooftop solar panels, a management office, and a resident services coordinator office. Adult education, health and wellness, and other skill-building classes will be offered as part of the resident services program. Future plans include offering food bank deliveries to residents at the property.
“In the heart of San Rafael, Centertown will not only offer affordable homes but also serve as a foundation for stability and growth,” said EAH Housing CEO Laura Hall. “Collaboration has the power to transform communities, and the partnership between EAH Housing and BRIDGE Housing for the rehabilitation exemplifies this transformative spirit. This development stands as a testament to the power of partnership, resilience, and our shared vision of a brighter future for all.”
Funding for the rehabilitation project was provided by the City of San Rafael, the County of Marin, the California Department of Housing & Community Development, the National Affordable Housing Trust, and Umpqua Bank. TWM Architects + Planners were responsible for overseeing the architectural plans for Centertown’s substantial renovations.