New housing construction surges

The early winter drought has been good news for local builders and the sounds of saws, drills and hammers are competing with winter songbirds across Gilroy, as several long-awaited housing developments are under construction.

Leading the way is The Cannery, a 104-unit affordable living apartment complex just across the railroad tracks from downtown, at 111 Lewis Street, formerly the site of the old Gilroy Cannery. Construction crews of Vaquero, a Gilroy company, are laying foundations for the project, which occupies an entire city block.

Also underway on a similar large site a mile to the west is a project of CalWest Homes, called Cambridge Place, will feature single-family connected houses in the $700,000 range. They are being built south of the Armory on Wren Avenue.

Both of these developments, while catering to different customers, are “in-fill” projects, filling vacant space, rather than expanding at the city’s edges.

AMJ Construction Management Inc, out of Los Angeles, broke ground at the Lewis Street site in September, and with Vaquero Construction, expects completion of the apartments by the end of this year. Construction manager Matthew Wickersham expects landscaping to commence in January 2019, with the move-in date expected in February 2019.   

“There haven’t been any difficulties at all,” Wickersham said this week. “The City of Gilroy has been very supportive and the project is moving along smoothly.”

The 104-unit “Cannery” building, to be built in a U-shape, will have a large public courtyard, with a playground, a dog park, and a public area, replete with televisions and a kitchen, among other amenities.

The parking lot, which will have 204 spaces, will run along the west and north of the building. The west end, buffered by the railroad tracks, and the north, along Miller Slough, will be fenced off.

Additionally, on the side facing Lewis Street, four two-story townhome style units are also under construction. The units are designed to allow workspaces on the ground floor, and a living space on the upper level for tenants.

According to documents filed by parent companies Meta Housing Corporation and Western Community Housing, filed with the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, the project hopes to qualify for a $1.6 million annual federal tax credit.

The projected cost of the project, including construction costs, land costs architectural designs, fees, and other expenses, is expected to total approximately $43.4 million, or $417,004 per unit.

The California Tax Credit Allocation Report calculated that The Cannery will produce $55.3 million in rental income over the lifetime of the project.

Of the project’s 104 units, there will be five one-bedroom units, 71 two-bedroom units, 28 three-bedroom units, one of which to be a manager’s unit.

Like Alexander Station on 10th Street, rates at The Cannery will be adjusted to affordable levels based on the area’s median income. The document listed the rent for a two-bedroom apartment, based on a rate of 60 percent of the area’s median income, as $1,507 a month.

Plans for The Cannery date back to 2004, when the site’s original owner, South County Housing, presented a master plan that included a mixed-use residential and commercial project. The city council at the time approved a tentative map of the first phase of the project in June 2006.

The plans at that time, which were never approved, appeared to be more extensive than what is being built at this time. The plan including 39 single market rate single-family lots, 32 attached townhome lots, four parcels of land intended for mixed-use purposes, and an open space within Miller Slough which was to be owned and maintained by a homeowner’s association.

The original plan would have included 139 units along with approximately 53,000 square feet of land meant for commercial use. These permits have since expired, and in November 2015 Meta Housing Corporation presented a plan for the current 104-unit apartment project.



  1. With all this new home construction, I have one question. How are they going to fit the kids into any of the existing Gilroy schools??