Affordable housing project gets high marks from city |

Affordable housing project gets high marks from city

Affordable housing in South Lake Tahoe has gotten a boost.

Bijou Woods, formerly known as Chateau Bijou Apartments, is getting a remodel.

The apartments located on the corner of Glenwood Way and Spruce Avenue are getting about $1 million of improvements, averaging $11,000 for each apartment.

The cost of the project, which included purchasing the property last September, is about $7 million.

“It’s a terrific place, and it’s a good project,” said Bijou Woods co-owner Scott Lafaver. “It serves the community well. It did need a lot of rehab, so that is why we put in the substantial amount of money that we did.”

The city helped with the project by joining the Association of Bay Area Governments, which allowed for the issuance of bonds to help finance the project. The debt for the bonds, however, is the responsibility of Bay Area Governments and not of the city.

Lafaver and his partner Stephen Mattoon specialize in affordable housing and own 12 properties, totaling 1,400 units in Northern California, Alaska and Virginia.

“We buy projects to ensure that they stay affordable for at least 30 more years,” Lafaver said.

Renters of their housing units must make less than 60 percent of the median income for the area in which they live.

Since September 48 of the 92 units at Bijou Woods have received improvements, which city staff evaluated last Thursday.

“City staff is happy with the results,” said Patrick Conway, housing and economic coordinator for the city.

By the end of March about 75 percent of the 92 units in Bijou Woods will have received improvements, such as replaced floors, carpets, bathroom fixtures, cupboards and counter tops, and 40 percent of the heaters have already been replaced.

Outside improvements include siding and painting, new roofs, repaving and striping of the parking lots.

“One of the things unique about this project is with the completion, all of our affordable housing will have been newly constructed or gone through major rehabilitation within the last 10 years,” Conway said. Most housing in South Lake Tahoe was built in the 1950s and ’60s, he added.

But the renovations are not done. Two of the units will become wheelchair accessible by the end of March, said Homer Baker, projects manager for S&S construction. Landscaping improvements will also be made.

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