Workers using heavy machinery began demolishing an aging Humboldt Street office building this week to make way for a five-story structure with low-income apartments above commercial space.

Construction on what will be one of the largest new buildings in Santa Rosa in several years is expected to get under way later this month and be ready for occupancy about a year later, developer Hugh Futrell said.

The brown wooden structure at 499 Humboldt St. had housed county offices and a landscape architecture firm. It's being razed to make way for a 52-unit apartment building for low-income and very-low-income residents.

There will also be 2,500 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 41 parking spaces for residents. The project is expected to cost $12.9 million.

It's located in a part of the city Futrell knows well. The site at the intersection of Humboldt and Seventh streets is just one block away from two other Futrell projects: The Burbank, a five-story condominium building that opened in 2008, and Beaver Street Apartments, 34 low-income apartments over commercial space that opened in 1996.

A smaller market-rate apartment building was once planned for an adjoining site on Seventh Street that houses a single-story building and until recently was home to a hair salon. The status of that project is unclear.

The site is on the edge of the Cherry Street Historic District, home to some of the city's most notable Victorian-era residences.

Units in what is being called Humboldt Apartments will range from $749 per month for one-bedroom units to up to $1,249 for three-bedroom units, according to city reports.

The project is being financed through a $3.1 million loan from the Santa Rosa Housing Authority, up to $6.4 million in city-issued tax exempt revenue bonds and $4.3 million from investors who will receive tax credits.

Forty-three of the units will be dedicated to people who are low-income, defined as earning less than 60 percent of the median household income for the area. Eight units will be for very-low-income residents, or those earning less than 50 percent of the median.

The federal government considers the median income for a family of four in Sonoma County in 2012 to be $82,600.

(You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 521-5207 or

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