The Real Deal
August 23, 2023
TRD Staff

How about a rare affordable home with waterfront views in Marin County — next to San Quentin State Prison?

The state has certified an environmental study for a 250-unit affordable apartment project at 101 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, clearing the way for development in unincorporated San Quentin, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Mill Valley-based Education Housing Partners and Hayward-based Eden Housing will build Oak Hill, the largest affordable housing project in Marin County in 50 years.

Plans call for two apartment buildings on 8.3 acres of unused state land between the 3,000-inmate prison and a subdivision of multi-million dollar homes.

One three-to-five-story complex will include 135 workforce apartments for teachers and county employees; the other will contain 115 affordable apartments for low-income and extremely low-income families.

Some 43 percent of Marin County teachers can’t afford a studio apartment there. The school district began the year with 70 unfilled teaching jobs.

The gray, white and beige apartments will overlook the bayside Remillard Park and the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, within walking distance of a SMART Train stop, bus stops, bike trails, a grocery store and shops.

It will rise from a former gun range in San Quentin, an unincorporated community of 40 single-family homes, 10 apartments and the San Quentin State Prison, founded in 1852, and its Death Row, now facing its death sentence.

The switch from guns to homes was spearheaded by a 2019 executive order by Gov. Gavin Newsom that made state-owned surplus properties available for affordable homes.

Because the apartments are planned for state-owned land, they’re not subject to the approval of  Marin County officials, known for delaying or denying large projects, according to the Chronicle.

Education Housing Partners will build the teacher portion, while Eden Housing will build the family building. The developers aim to break ground in early 2025 if they can obtain the needed financing. Construction is expected to take 27 months, according to SFYimby.

Education Housing Partners was launched by Thompson Dorfman, a Marin-based developer who started the company in 1999 with a portfolio of 50 apartments and condominium projects. Eden Housing, founded in 1968, has developed 10,600 affordable homes, according to its website.

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