With approval from Grass Valley’s government to build the western portion of a new connecting road from Bennett Road to Railroad Avenue without a sidewalk, a Roseville developer is moving forward on plans to build 120 affordable senior housing units off Bennett Street — a location fraught with development challenges.
Developer Ionic Enterprises Inc. is working with contractor Stamas Corp. to build the housing unit on 5.4 sloping acres on the hillside opposite Hills Flat Lumber Co. and DeMartini RV Sales, on the edge of the city’s limits on Bennett Street.
The site, currently covered with blackberries, cedar, oaks and nonnative grasses, poses architectural challenges, said Sam Stamas, corporate counsel for the development firm bearing his name.
“The buildings are going to look like a bunch of smaller buildings connected by breezeways,” Stamas said. “I’m really happy with the design of it. I’m very pleased with our architect, given the terrain he had to work with.”
However, the area eyed for development has also housed encampments of homeless people since at least the Great Depression, according to Juanita Browne’s 1987 book, “A Tale of Two Cities and a Train.”
The Bennett Street encampments have sprawled across both city and county territory and have been raided and repopulated numerous times throughout the years.
“We’ve been trying to build up there for quite awhile,” Stamas said, noting the need for senior housing in Nevada County, where more than 21 percent of the population is 65 years or older, according to the 2012 census.
“There is a definitely a demand for senior housing up there,” Stamas said. “Our market studies indicate there is a very strong demand.”
Stamas Corp. has built other senior and low-income developments in Sacramento, Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln and Cameron Park.
After first applying for the development in May 2012, the Grass Valley City Council most recently granted the modified residential street standard, eliminating the construction of one sidewalk at its June 25 meeting. Stamas said the next step is to submit plans to the city for review, followed by obtaining building permits.
“We’re going to get started early next year,” said Stamas, noting an anticipated nine-month construction period. “There is a possibility we’ll move some dirt late this year. Because of the winter, it will probably be easier to start next year.”
Stamas declined to disclose the estimated cost of the development but said that phase one of construction would build the first 80 units, and the second phase would erect the final 40 units.
“As far as design and concept, we’re all on the same page,” Stamas said.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story listed the wrong road that the proposed new road would connect Railroad Avenue to, due to an error contained in a Grass Valley staff report.
“There is a definitely a demand for senior housing up there. Our market studies indicate there is a very strong demand.”