New Sawmill Heights owner focusing on affordable – not just workforce – housing | SierraSun.com
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New Sawmill Heights owner focusing on affordable – not just workforce – housing

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. – An apartment complex near Northstar-at-Tahoe that fell victim to the Great Recession fewer than 2 years ago has a new owner, a long-term lease marketing plan and a renewed focus on offering affordable housing options.

According to a Wednesday announcement, KG Sawmill Investors acquired the 96-unit Sawmill Heights Apartments in December 2010, after a shift in the economic tide forced former owner Northstar Community Housing Corp. of Truckee into default in October of 2009.

Ridge Reef Properties, a San Francisco-based firm specializing in real estate investment and property management throughout Northern California, has been hired to manage the property and market the apartments as an affordable housing option to all individuals and families, officials said, changing a previous image as a workforce housing complex.

Brit Crezee, a spokeswoman for Ridge Reef, said Sawmill Heights will divide its three buildings by making one available for seasonal employees, and the others for long-term leases.

“All of the seasonal employees are moving out as we speak, so they (Ridge Reef) haven’t had inventory to rent the spaces yet, but they are trying to get long-term tenants and they are having success,” Crezee said.

Planned improvements including upgrades to lobby entrances, to long-term storage units and construction of a community room/business center with Wi-Fi, according to a press release.

“There’s a misconception that Sawmill Heights is employee housing,” said Brad Koch, president of Ridge Reef. “That’s simply not the case and we are really excited to make these units available to locals.”

According to Ridge Reef, floor plans include studio and two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments, with one-year leases starting at $815 a month for a studio, $1,075 for a two-bedroom and $1,475 for a four-bedroom, including gas, electric, water, cable TV, wireless Internet, trash and snow removal.

Constructed in 2006, the apartment complex was initially designed as a workforce housing option for resort and local employees; however, when the economic tide began to shift in 2008, it was victim to financially devastating occupancy rates, ultimately the cause of Northstar Community Housing Corp. of Truckee’s default.

In a September 2010 interview, complex manager Gerry Flynn of former property manager Polarstar Property Management said in the winter, occupancy rates brimmed to near full capacity, but in the off winter months, occupancy swung as low as 50 percent – something he said was an unforeseeable occurrence at the time of construction.

Learn more about the complex at http://www.sawmillheights.com.


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