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Civic Center Family Housing


1601 Civic Center Drive, Santa Clara, CA 95050

Project Overview

• Project Type: 100% Affordable Residential

• Owner/Developer: Charities Housing

• Presented to our members: June 2022

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Catalyze SV evaluates project sustainability, equity, and vibrancy. Learn about our project review process.

Civic Center Family Housing Project Scorecard
Project Overview:

Charities Housing's Civic Center Family Housing proposes to construct a five-story building with 108 residential homes, including two manager units. At 77 dwelling units per acre, this 100% affordable project will have a mix of studios, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom homes. The project proposes a total of 82 parking spaces, including 4 ADA spaces and 8 electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations, as well as 108 secured bicycle parking spots. Resident amenities include a community room with kitchen & pantry, on-site shared laundry, and a children's play area. The site will also pursue GreenPoint Rated (GPR) Gold through an all-electric building, solar panels, and water-efficient landscaping.

Civic Center Family Housing scored an overall 4.1 out of 5 from our Project Advocacy Committee members.

Community Score: 4/5

Our members were happy to hear there has been extensive community engagement efforts. They really liked the engagement of local schools and a nearby church, both trusted community focal points. As we understand, Civic Center Family Housing has also engaged surrounding residents through a series of community meetings beginning in 2021. Such meetings continue, with the latest being held on July 20, 2022. Yet some members believe underrepresented voices should be included in the engagement process - the individuals and families who this project seeks to serve.

Vibrancy Score: 3/5

Catalyze SV members were happy to see a number of amenities available to future onsite residents. This includes a community room with an integrated kitchen and pantry, a child’s play area, and ground floor front courts. The combination of amenities and proximity to Civic Center Park ensures this project will be a great option to house families and children. Our members liked the amenities and landscaping, yet there were mixed-feelings about the design layout. Specifically, our members wish to see more windows overlooking the vast parking lot. This ensures eyes on the parking lot and provides a sense of safety for residents arriving very late at night. In addition, our members hope to see a more attractive and active ground floor level design.


Transportation Score: 4/5

Our members were happy to see a project with adequate parking and within proximity to nearby transit options. At 82 parking spots, including ADA and EV charging stations, the project will accommodate parking needs of many residents. In addition, our members were happy to see up to five VTA transit stops within a 10-minute walking distance of the project – Routes 21, 22, 52, and 59. The best-received feature was the 1:1 bicycle parking ratio with a secured bike room. Overall, our members believe the proposed parking is appropriate due to proximity to transit, as well as walking distance to many shopping options on El Camino Real. Two recommendations from our members are the inclusion of a designated rideshare area, as well as providing VTA transit passes to residents.


Intensity/Zoning Score: 5/5

At 77 dwelling units per acre this project doubled the unit count from its original proposal. Our members believe this density is appropriate and necessary to tackle our housing crisis. Every home counts, and so our members were impressed that Charities Housing found creative ways to add two more homes in space which was underutilized. Overall, our members liked the density levels and wish to see no changes to downsize the number of homes or height.


Sustainability Score: 5/5

As we understand it, the project will pursue GreenPoint Rated (GPR) Gold. Our members were very impressed with this pursuit and see this as an example of an ambitious commitment to sustainability. Among the best received features in this category are the all-electric building, water-saving appliances and landscaping, and the inclusion of solar panels. Overall, our members were very happy to see the integration of sustainable design.


Affordability Score: 4/5

Our members were very happy to see this project as 100% affordable. As we understand it, the project targets earners between 30% to 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Our members are happy to see this range, as it means many individuals and families in the workforce will have affordable housing options. Yet some members would like to see the project allocate spaces for Section 8 holders to make them accessible to those on fixed-income and/or most financially vulnerable.


Legacy Score: N/A /5

Members of Catalyze SV didn’t think this category was applicable to this site. However, they would like to highly encourage Charities Housing to include a marker, plaque, and/or piece of art that acknowledges the Native American land.

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