By Alex Kacik

The region cannot build enough housing fast enough to keep up with increasing demand, economists have said at forecasts over the past two weeks. The Tri-Counties are so short on available units that it could rein in the economic expansion. But the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara is trying to make a dent in the dearth of affordable housing.

It plans to build a four-story, 90-unit development at 251 S. Hope Ave. The housing authority is working with RRM Design Group Principal Detty Peikert to build 89 studio apartments for low-income seniors, along with a manager’s quarters and 34 parking spots, similar to Santa Barbara’s Garden Court. The total building area is 56,735 square feet on a 1.76 acre lot and the average unit size is 332 square feet.

But environmentalists are concerned that the development will negatively impact the adjacent Arroyo Burro Creek. The planners raised the building from three to four stories to help mitigate their concerns. The Architectural Board of Review is currently reviewing the project.

It’s being built under the Average Unit Density program, which allows 63 units per acre instead of the usual 35. The program has been a catalyst for new development in Santa Barbara, which currently has 244 units going through the pipeline, according to Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investment Group.

Another 29-unit AUD project at 604 E. Cota St. moved past the architectural board and is headed for the building department next.

Carpinteria also plans to add its own senior housing facility at 5464 Carpinteria Ave.

Irvine-based real estate investment company Steadfast Carpinteria Senior purchased a close to 52,000-square-foot office building for $10.7 million. It was previously occupied by Microsoft, according to Lee & Associates, which represented the buyer.

– See more at: http://www.pacbiztimes.com/2015/11/13/affordable-housing-projects-move-ahead-in-santa-barbara/#sthash.34q7yDNF.dpuf