Southern California’s First Excess Site Affordable Housing Development Breaks Ground

June 10, 2024
Rendering of Mulberry Gardens

Riverside, CA —  

California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) Director Gustavo Velasquez joined California Department of General Services (DGS) Director Ana Lasso, City of Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson, developers, and community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of Mulberry Gardens Senior Apartments, the first affordable housing development on excess state land to begin construction in Southern California.

In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order directing HCD and DGS to address the state’s housing crisis by identifying underutilized state-owned sites for development of affordable housing. Being built on the site of a former California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection headquarters, Mulberry Gardens Senior Apartments will provide 58 new affordable homes for low-income seniors earning between 30-50% Area Median Income.

“We are proud to support the Mulberry Gardens Senior Apartments project, an example of how strategic use of state excess land can create sustainable, affordable housing solutions,” said Director Velasquez. “This project not only addresses the urgent need for affordable homes in Riverside, but also sets a precedent for future developments. By leveraging state resources effectively, we can enhance quality of life for California seniors on a fixed income while fostering inclusive communities of opportunity."

A project of Eden Housing, Mulberry Gardens is supported by nearly $9 million from HCD’s Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) and Excess Site Local Government Matching Grants (LGMG) Programs. This project is Phase 1 of a larger affordable housing complex, which will eventually provide an additional 150 affordable homes for low-income families. Phase 2 of the project, Mulberry Gardens Family Apartments, has been awarded $8.7 million from IIG and $8.1 million from LGMG. Phase 2 was also awarded nearly $28 million from the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program jointly administered by HCD and the Strategic Growth Council.

The Mulberry Gardens projects will have various amenities including a community room, laundry facilities, and a mail room, along with outdoor amenities including seating and gathering spaces, a bocce ball court, and pedestrian walking routes. Based on the City of Riverside Active Transportation Plan, the project will also construct new sidewalks, bike lanes, bus shelters, crosswalks, and street trees. The development is located less than a mile from downtown Riverside and is near transit and vital services and amenities.

Mulberry Gardens groundbreaking ceremony