More than 40 affordable housing units will eventually be built near the old San Juan Capistrano City Hall on Paseo Adelanto—a development South Orange County officials expressed excitement about during a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, March 8.
Jamboree Housing Corporation, a nonprofit housing developer, is partnering with the City of San Juan Capistrano to build the affordable housing complex, which will have 49 affordable housing units and one additional unit for an on-site manager.
The project will also incorporate a new City Hall facility on the same grounds. The housing is intended for veterans, low-income families, and formerly homeless people. The old City Hall building, considered “temporary” for decades, is being demolished.
“Developments like this are creative, unique, and visionary. That just doesn’t happen on its own. It’s a whole group of people that get together,” Jamboree President and CEO Laura Archuleta said. “I was just telling your creative, courageous city manager that I just didn’t think this day was going to happen. We met, and he was like, yes, yes, yes, I think we can do it.”
“We ran into trouble along the way,” Archuleta said. “We just kept pushing. City Manager Ben Siegel was just really visionary on this, and he worked with the City Council along the way.”
The project began when Jamboree responded to a request for proposal from the city in 2019. The overall project is expected to cost $47.9 million, including $37.7 million for the new housing development and $10.2 million for the new City Hall.
The housing complex is intended to provide shelter for people earning no more than 50% or below of the area median income. In 2019, the area median income for San Juan Capistrano was $91,600, according to the City of San Juan Capistrano’s latest Housing Element.
Designed around a large open courtyard, the three-story, 45,598-square-foot residential building will create a “sense of home for residents with many first-floor amenities and common areas, as well as a variety of outdoor amenities,” including barbecue areas and a community garden, a news release said.
San Juan Mayor Howard Hart said the “incredible project” complements the city’s “ongoing efforts to address homelessness and set the standard for what is possible to becoming part of the solution.”
“In many ways, this unique public-private partnership is the first of its kind—certainly, the first in Orange County,” Hart said. “San Juan Capistrano’s once again leading the way, and we hope other agencies find opportunities to explore, similarly, imaginative approaches to housing.”
The new City Hall facility is expected to be completed by fall of 2024 and will be two stories. City services have temporarily moved to office space on Rancho Mission Viejo Road and will remain there during the interim.
The City Council held its last meeting at City Hall this past November. City Council meetings have since temporarily transitioned to the Nydegger Building on La Matanza Street and will permanently move to the San Juan Capistrano Community Center once a new Council Chamber is built there. That project is expected to finish this year.
Orange County Fifth District Supervisor Katrina Foley said that while progress has been made to get formerly homeless veterans into homes, more work must be done.
“This project is going to help us do that,” Foley said. “Everyone needs housing. We can’t address mental health, drug addiction, or physical ailments for people if we don’t have a place where they can be stabilized and feel secure and safe.”
Orange County Housing Finance Trust Board Member Jamey Federico, who is also the mayor pro tem of neighboring Dana Point, said that he, as a veteran and neighbor, “particularly knows how impactful this project is going to be for this neighborhood and collective community in the South County region.”
“We’re celebrating that Paseo Adelanto represents the best in housing—not just affordable housing, but great housing,” Federico said. “It’s going to be a place that people can be proud to live. Projects like this take a lot of time, effort, risk, and leadership.”
Funding sources include a $1 million grant from the California Energy Commission Electric Program Investment Change Program.
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