Image above: A conceptual design of our community housing as viewed from Exchange Ave.
What truly makes a neighborhood vibrant is diversity. At Mill District we have embraced this concept from the beginning, and the first building to rise from the ground will exemplify that commitment completely. During our planning and approvals phase we called it Lot 7, but in reality it will be called The Exchange. The Exchange has been designed with the community in mind and will be homes for people who live or work right here in Healdsburg – in our restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, and wineries. Seniors who have deep roots in the community.
The Exchange will fill an undersupplied need in Healdsburg and will bring vibrancy and authenticity to our neighborhood. It is comprised of 41 multifamily apartments in a building at the southwest of Mill District, with development partner is Hayward-based Eden Housing, which has worked to develop dozens of buildings like this one. Eden’s construction partner is West + Creek Builders of Sacramento.
Mill District’s Director of Development Eric Chan said The Exchange is notable for two main reasons. First, we have worked hard to fulfill a need that has been largely overlooked for over a decade. Our commitment is demonstrated both financially and socially with a contribution to The Exchange valued at $7.8 million, which includes land and cash contributions. What’s more, we are building 41 homes instead of the required 23. It is a privilege to live and work here and we take our social responsibility to Healdsburg very seriously.
Secondly, our community housing plan for The Exchange is the result of significant community engagement. Over the course of the last few years, we held multiple meetings and a focus group where we brought stakeholders in our community together with Eden Housing and architect Michael Pyatok to determine the type of unit mix our community needs. Stakeholders included representatives from Corazón Healdsburg, the City of Healdsburg Community Housing Committee, former members of the Central Healdsburg Avenue Plan committee, members of the Seniors Commission, as well as community housing advocates.
Chan said we weighed perspectives from all of these groups equally. “From the very beginning our vision for Mill District has been to create a new neighborhood that is authentic,” Chan said. “and the people who will call The Exchange home will bring energy and activity to the community.”
The architecture of the building will have similar design elements to other buildings at Mill District, but also will be distinct in its own way. The modern architecture will provide large windows and offer great light to the homes. It also will feature solar panels held up by steel trusses that will serve as a functional design element for the building. As Chan put it, the design of this structure actually celebrates the photovoltaic panels. “We made solar power a feature and highlighted it in a way that pays a bit of homage to the sustainable nature of this technology and our commitment to sustainability,” he said.
All told, The Exchange is expected to be completed by the fall of 2022. We are excited to see the structure go vertical, and we can’t wait to welcome our new residents to what is sure to become the most desirable neighborhood in town.
*We will be hosting a Zoom webinar at the end of April with Eric Chan and Eden Housing for a deep dive in to our community housing. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in attending.