MidPen Housing's Station Center in Union City, CA.
MidPen Housing's Station Center in Union City, CA.

All Aboard at Station Center

New MidPen Development helps to launch Innovative Community

Affordable housing provides much more than a place to live for those in need. Well-planned affordable housing developments can deliver benefits for residents and bring positive change to entire communities.

Station Center, a visionary development by MidPen Housing, is a case in point. Located in Union City, Calif., Station Center is a 157-unit mixed-use development built on formerly contaminated land that once housed a steel mill and pipe-storage yard. Thanks to an extensive, multi-year effort led by Union City's Redevelopment Agency, the land has been fully remediated and is now being transformed into an innovative planned community — with Station Center as a primary anchor.

Completed in 2012, the striking Station Center is an early centerpiece of the Intermodal Station District, a 105-acre neighborhood that will offer affordable and market-rate housing along with retail, commercial and civic space. Located just blocks from a BART station and future transit hub, Station Center is a transit-oriented development designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for travel by car. Numerous other green features on the site have earned Station Center LEED Platinum certification.

Union Bank's CDF group provided financial support for Station Center, continuing a longstanding partnership with MidPen Housing.

Recognizable by a 62-foot mural by artist Mona Caron, Station Center serves families earning 30-50 percent of the AMI, providing high-quality apartments as well as an array of community amenities: a computer lab, playground, community garden as well as resident services that include tutoring and financial literacy classes. Ground-level retail space provides convenient on-site shopping options.

These features help make Station Center much more than a place to live — they make it a thriving community, says MidPen Housing Associate Project Manager Polo Muñoz. "Our residents are overjoyed by the fact they have access to a beautiful building with well-designed units, all for affordable rents," he said. "We've had overwhelmingly great reviews."

Beth Fraker, MidPen Housing's Director of Marketing and Communications, said Station Center and the entire Intermodal Station District point the way to the future of sustainable, socially beneficial development. "This community has the opportunity to be a best practice model for the country," she said. "With such close proximity to the BART station, bus lines, shopping and other amenities, we're creating a vibrant city center where people of all income levels can live, work, shop, and play."

CDF Senior Vice President Jonathan Klein said the CDF group was enthusiastic to partner with MidPen Housing on a pioneering development with such wide-ranging benefits.

"Simply reaching a high unit count used to be the mark of success in the affordable housing industry," Klein said. "Today, our clients are going far beyond unit count to create a positive difference in the lives of residents and the overall health of their communities."