Tucked in a southeast Fresno neighborhood dotted with old apartment complexes is a new, modern 14-unit affordable multifamily community from the Fresno Housing Authority and development partner Terance Frazier.
Cedar Heights is located on a narrow but deep acre of land on Hamilton Avenue, south of the Fresno Fairgrounds and next to the authority’s renovated Cedar Courts development. The two-story buildings, painted white and gray, are flanked on one side by young palm trees and sit close to a fence separating it from privately owned apartments to the east.
The new development is a few blocks from the problem-laced Hayston Avenue apartment complex featured in The Fresno Bee’s “Living in Misery” report.
“The housing authority is showing landlords that there is a thoughtful way to build affordable housing that’s well designed and well maintained and that low-income families who live here deserve respect and dignity,” said Preston Prince, the authority’s executive director.
“We’re hoping to be setting a tone and setting a direction for this community,” he said.
The housing authority and community leaders on Tuesday celebrated the grand opening of the apartments with a ribbon cutting. Prince and Fresno City Council Member Sal Quintero said they hope the project will influence neighboring property owners to renovate or take better care of their properties.
“This neighborhood has had a lot of challenges, but I really believe this kind of rehab will kick it up a notch,” said Quintero, who represents the area.
It might already be working. The apartment complex to the east of Cedar Heights looks as though it is undergoing some sort of exterior work – scaffolding is set up.
The authority’s new community has mostly three-bedroom apartments with energy efficient appliances and high ceilings. A small park with picnic tables and a slide for children separates the two buildings. The complex is 100 percent full.
New resident Mandy Huynh is thankful that her family – her husband, two children ages 3 and 7 and a third on the way – were able to get an apartment. The family previously lived in a two-bedroom apartment near Ashlan Avenue and Highway 99 with a small kitchen and no cabinet space.
Now, “I have so many cabinets, some are empty because I don’t have anything to put in there,” Huynh said with a smile. “We love it. It’s so spacious.”