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Further discussions were held last night with the Flagstaff City Council on the topic of a new affordable housing complex and public parking garage which are set to begin construction next year.

The site for the new complex will be on 320 N. Humphreys Street, where the old Catholic elementary school and the Babbitt House are currently located. The new project is part of a collaboration with Foundation for Senior Living (FSL), who have partnered with the city before on projects, such as expanding downtown public parking. FSL was also responsible for the construction of Flagstaff Senior Meadows on McMillan Mesa, another affordable housing complex for senior citizens. 

This new project will be completed in two phases; Phase One, San Francisco Square, is exclusively for senior living, holding 70 units and 59 parking spaces. Phase Two, Aspen Lofts, will begin construction after the completion of Phase One, includes 76 units and 55 residential parking spaces and is purposed for multigenerational tenants and families.

The complex is intended to utilize 100% affordable housing and comes after the city council approved a new affordable housing incentive in March 2021. This incentive allows city council to allow certain modifications to the zoning codes for projects that provide 100% affordable housing units serving 80% Area Median Income (AMI) and lower. 

The San Francisco Square site plan was conditionally approved on October 25, pending city council signing off on the proposed zoning modifications, such as allowing the sparse amount of residential parking for the complex.

A list of those proposals are set to be considered upon by the council in a later meeting planned for January of 2022. 

A public parking garage, also intended for Phase 2 of the project, will include 97 parking spaces for municipal courthouse operations, as well as those accessing historic downtown and the new apartment complex.

Councilmember Adam Shimoni showed a general excitement for this project, noting affordable housing would be beneficial to both senior citizens and residents that surround the San Francisco Square. 

“I’m very grateful for these types of projects in our community,” Shimoni said. “It’s really the kind of housing that we need, affordable housing.”

Citing the success of previous ventures between Flagstaff and FSL, like the McMillian Mesa project earlier in the year, Vice Mayor Becky Daggett was thankful for another collaboration between the city and FSL. 

“I know this project is going to be another really welcome addition to Flagstaff,” Daggett said. 

The close proximity to downtown will allow for a safer and more accessible walking-distance community for the senior citizens and other residents who will occupy the apartments. 

Similar signals of gratitude were given by councilmember Austin Aslan over the significance of more available public parking for the downtown area. 

“The repurposability of the parking garage structure is really important,”Aslan said. “And I’m looking forward to what that looks like 70 years from now.”  

The construction of Phase One is to be completed by June 2022, with Phase Two set to begin shortly thereafter, which is expected to be completed by the fall of 2023.

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