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Up to 250 homes proposed for old Santa Rosa winery site in revived development project

A group of out-of-town public and private entities, fueled by up to $100 million in bonds, have joined forces to build 250 apartments in a mostly dormant commercial block on the west side of downtown Santa Rosa.

The DeTurk Winery Village project would replace the old winery, now featuring a handful of small businesses and warehouse space, with a 250-unit affordable housing complex taking up most, if not all, of the block bordered by Ninth Street, Donahue Street, Eighth Street and the SMART tracks in Santa Rosa’s West End, directly across the street from the historic DeTurk Round Barn.

The first phase of the project would include 135 apartments in two four-story buildings, according to state documents. All but two units set aside for property managers would be reserved for low-income tenants, according to plans filed with the city of Santa Rosa.

The City Council is set to vote Tuesday to approve the issuance of $50 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds by the California Public Finance Authority, a governmental agency based in the San Joaquin Valley and staffed by Bay Area consultants. It is working with Los Angeles-based developer Meta Housing Corp., which has developed more than 7,000 homes since 1993, and a Laguna Beach-based nonprofit, the Foundation for Affordable Housing. Representatives for the three entities did not respond Monday to requests for comment and questions about the project.

The city would not be on the hook for the bonds, but the council still needs to hold a public hearing and vote to approve the bonds under federal law and regulations.

The council’s vote would follow the California Public Finance Authority’s own Dec. 8 vote in support of $50 million in revenue bonds for first phase of the project. The authority also signed off on a separate $50 million bond item for a 115-unit Santa Rosa project, and a city housing official confirmed this was the second phase of an overall DeTurk Winery Village project.

As of June 2019, the project already had received the necessary planning approvals from various city boards. It also has secured a $4.2 million loan from the Santa Rosa Housing Authority in June 2020, when construction was projected to cost $67 million and anticipated to run from April 2021 to December 2022.

The previous developer, Rick Deringer, had been trying to build housing on the site for years. He died in July 2019 after a battle with cancer. His widow, Rhonda Deringer, also is a developer , though her involvement with the latest version of the project is unclear. She did not respond to a phone call Monday.

State records show the project’s developers applied for at least $5 million in federal tax credits in 2020. The tax credit application notes that the new developers made a deal to purchase the DeTurk site from a company linked to Rhonda Deringer in 2020 for $8.5 million.

The project’s tax credit application does not appear to have been approved, according to a list of approved projects on the State Treasurer’s website.

The California Public Finance Authority is a sibling entity to the California Community Housing Agency, which in 2019 issued nearly $200 million in tax-exempt bonds to acquire the 390-apartment Annadel complex south of Coddingtown Mall.

A version of the plan submitted to the state as part of the tax credit application put the number of units for the first phase of the DeTurk project at 136, with one additional low-income unit. The project would contain a range of apartment sizes from studios to three-bedrooms, with rents ranging from $551 a month to $1,686, respectively. The homes would be housed in two new four-story bedrooms on the site.

The latest plan would build 135 new apartments by July 2023, according to the city.

You can reach Staff Writer Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or will.schmitt@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @wsreports.

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