Housing Rehab

To go with its facelift, Del Monte Manor will soon get a new name. Tenants and the board have narrowed it down to four options.

Faced with aging buildings and the rising toll of maintenance, the board of the Del Monte Manor housing complex in Seaside is planning a major renovation to the property.

The overhaul of all 192 units and the common areas at Del Monte Manor is estimated to cost about $30 million, according to Matt Locati, president of Terrex Development Corporation, a Lafayette, California-based firm that was hired to manage the financial process and construction.

Seaside City Council has agreed to give Terrex a low-interest loan of $800,000 to pay for initial costs including architectural, engineering and legal work, and permitting fees. Speaking before the council on Aug. 15, Locati said conditions attached to the loan would protect affordable rent levels for all the units at Del Monte Manor for 55 years.

Getting started on the renovation project will allow Terrex to collect more than $20 million worth of low-income tax credits. Terrex plans to sell the credits to another company and use the proceeds to pay back Seaside by the end of the year and to fund the construction.

It would be the first major renovation at Del Monte Manor in the 50 years since the property was built. With 98 units getting subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the rest offered at below-market rent, Del Monte Manor provides more low-income housing than any other development on the Monterey Peninsula.

“But it’s falling apart at the seams,” says Darryl Choates, president of the Del Monte Manor board. “We spend millions of dollars a year trying to keep up this place.”

Choates is a member of Greater Victory Temple Church, one of five local civic organizations that founded Del Monte Manor and maintain ownership over it. There was a sixth owner, the Seaside Chamber of Commerce, but earlier this year, the chamber gave up its stake.

Everything in the apartments, from the interior walls and windows to the carpets and appliances, will be replaced, Choates says. The complex is also going to be made more accessible to people with disabilities. Some doorways will be widened and handrails will be installed, for example. “We are going to give the residents a new home to live in,” he says. “My hope is that this will lift up the pride of everyone who lives there.”

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No one will be permanently displaced by the construction, he adds. Using a “rotational process,” residents will take turns moving out of their homes for three-week periods, staying meanwhile in vacant units at Del Monte Manor. Management will pay the costs of moving and storing belongings.

Those with Section 8 federal subsidies will pay the same in rent but other residents might see “minor adjustments” to what they pay, he adds.

Earlier this month, the Weekly reported that Del Monte Manor’s management company, TerraCorp – the other arm of Locati’s real estate business – sent eviction notices to six households over a rap music video that was filmed on site. Public outcry followed, and the board decided to give the residents an alternative process to eviction.

“They have a chance to stay if they agree to comply with the process,” Choates says, declining to provide details.

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Asaf Shalev is a staff writer at the Monterey County Weekly. He covers higher education, the military, the environment, public lands and the geographic areas of Seaside, Monterey, Sand City, Big Sur and Carmel Valley.

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