Join us in celebrating the opening of Coliseum Place in Oakland on May 5th at 10am as part of A link to: East Bay Housing Organization’s Affordable Housing Month. A link to: RSVP today!
Coliseum Place is a new construction development that provides 59 affordable apartment homes adjacent to the Coliseum BART Station. This transit-rich neighborhood is an ideal location for the development’s new residents: low-income families with children and formerly homeless households.
We will also be celebrating the grand opening of Quetzal Gardens in San Jose on June 13th at 1:30pm. More details to come soon!
Quetzal Gardens is a mixed-use, new construction development that provides community-serving commercial space and 71 new apartments. This vibrant community also provides new space for A link to: SOMOS Mayfair, A link to: Excite Credit Union and the A link to: Latino Business Foundation.
We are grateful for the amazing individuals and organizations that work with RCD on our exciting and increasingly complex affordable housing developments. We cannot do it alone and we are so grateful we don’t have to try. Among our many valuable partners, Union Bank has occupied a special place in our RCD hearts! Over the past 15+ years, we have worked together as business partners to bring a remarkable 18 affordable housing developments to fruition, including Ohlone Gardens, Berrellesa Palms and Victory Village (pictured above). Altogether, these 18 developments provide over 1,000 new homes to 2,000 people.
“Union Bank has been a steadfast partner and supporter of RCD through thick and thin. Up and down the ranks, the team at Union Bank ‘gets it.’ They’ve been invaluable thought partners and problem solvers and approach each deal in a way that demonstrates their understanding of RCD’s needs and an appreciation of our mission,” says Eric Knecht, RCD’s Chief Financial Officer.
“Suffice it to say, RCD is a stronger and more robust organization because of our partnership with Union Bank,” says Eric.
In addition to being a strong financial partner, Union Bank is a longtime charitable contributor RCD and a consistent sponsor of our annual fundraiser.
“Union Bank has truly enjoyed being a financing partner and philanthropic supporter of RCD over the years,” says Elizabeth Van Benschoten, Managing Director of Northern California Community Development Finance for Union Bank.
“We’ve watched RCD’s portfolio grow and remain impressed with the projects they take on and the quality of their work. Our shared commitment to affordable housing makes us great partners, but the respect and admiration we have for the leadership and organization makes the enjoyment personal as well.”
We look forward to celebrating more milestones with Union Bank this summer with the Grand Opening of Quetzal Gardens and at Sparking Connections 2022!
Nicole Brown, a Project Manager in RCD’s Real Estate Development department, has already had a very busy year! In the past few months, she led two project teams through closing on construction financing and breaking ground on two affordable housing developments: Sango Court in Milpitas and Maudelle Miller Shirek Community in Berkeley.
She recently sat down with us to discuss her journey to preserving and building affordable housing in the Bay Area, what she’s excited about for her projects and some fun facts about her.
How did you get involved with affordable housing?
When I was an undergraduate, I became very interested in urban design and urban planning, really about how our built environment is socially constructed. When I was pursuing my Master’s in Urban Planning, I took an Affordable Housing studio which got me hooked. After my master’s, I worked on the finance side of affordable housing in Sacramento. Through that work, I was supporting project managers but wanted to transition to actual project management and become more involved in the design and construction process.
What’s your favorite part of being a Project Manager?
The variety! I like working directly with all the different players – the design team, the contractors, the lenders. It’s exciting to see all the pieces of the puzzle and then work on putting them together.
What are you most excited about for Maudelle and Sango?
I’ve been working on both developments since I started at RCD three years ago, so it’s been exciting to see both projects progress and get to the point of starting construction. For Maudelle, the project progressed very quickly by getting entitlements through SB 35, new state legislation that streamlines local planning approvals for affordable housing. This put us on a trajectory to get necessary funding and quickly move the project towards construction start.
Sango Court is RCD’s first modular project which means that the units are pre-fabricated and manufactured in a factory off-site. As our first modular project, it’s been interesting to learn about the different modular factories and to figure out how to find the right partner. I can’t wait to see how the technology all comes together.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love playing music and going to see live shows. I play guitar, bass and a little piano with bass being my main instrument.
What are some of your favorite places in the Bay Area?
Black Cat, a jazz club in San Francisco. Also, there’s really nothing better than biking to Lake Merritt on a sunny day.
Maudelle Miller Shirek Community is a mixed-use development located across the street from Ashby BART in Berkeley. that will provide 87 new affordable homes above a new office and programming space for Healthy Black Families, a local non-profit focused on providing people with knowledge, skills and strategies to make social systems and policies more equitable for Black people and communities. We look forward to the completion of this transit-oriented development in early 2024.
Continuing RCD’s expansion into the South Bay, Sango Court will provide 102 new affordable homes near the Milpitas BART station. Our first modular development broke ground in February 2022 and will be completed in late 2023.