Making Rooms

The Calle Principal Garage in downtown Monterey could possibly be redeveloped with up to 50 affordable housing units according to city planning staff.

Where some see a two-story concrete parking garage on Calle Principal in downtown Monterey, others see a housing solution for dozens of low income residents. That’s one vision of the Monterey City Council, which has its eyes on four city parcels for construction of buildings that would be made up of 100 percent affordable housing units.

After Dan Silveri, the developer of the affordable Monterey Hotel Apartments, approached planning staff about redeveloping the garage into a building with parking, retail and all affordable apartments, staff members investigated other city properties that might make good affordable housing sites. They narrowed the list to five locations that could be developed in a public-private partnership with a developer. The city would lease out the land for possibly $1 annually, similar to the Van Buren Senior housing development completed last year.

The council first considered the list on Aug. 20, and again on Sept. 3.

One of the five, the Monterey Peninsula American Legion Post on Veterans Drive, was a non-starter. Councilmember Alan Haffa called replacing the post “a hornet’s nest.”

That left four: a complex of offices and old homes on Dutra Street behind City Hall; a parking lot across from Jacks Park on Adams Street; the Harbor Yard on Figueroa Street; and the Calle Principal Garage, which was mentioned often as a favorite of councilmembers.

The caveat for the Council was that all units must be for low income residents.

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“If we’re giving water and land it should be 100 percent affordable,” Haffa said.

At the Sept. 3 meeting, City Manager Hans Uslar told the council that staff would analyze and rate all four and return with a report within several months.

The council asked for an update in three months.

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(2) comments

Marilyn Galli

Monterey city council wants to take away the parking for the airbus riders in downtown for affordable housing. Where are the riders going to keep their cars while out of town?

Leigh Fitz

Monterey County and all of California is having a severe housing crisis. I love this simple but creative idea and I hope everyone can get behind it! Since we are not having a parking crisis I'm sure everybody will understand what are priorities have to be

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