More than 17,000 people are coveting 115 below-market apartments being built next to the San Leandro BART station, a stunning statement of just how intense Bay Area demand is for affordable housing.

The apartments, called Marea Alta, are one of three affordable-housing projects opening this year in mid-Alameda County. The Arbor at Hesperian in San Lorenzo will include 77 senior apartments, and another 64 senior and 87 family apartments are being constructed near the South Hayward BART station.

"It's great we had the foresight to be doing this, now that this kind of housing is needed more than ever," said Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday. "We're getting demand from two sides: from Silicon Valley and from San Francisco and Oakland. Rents are going up, and people are scrambling to find housing."

Construction continues at the Eden Housing project a 5-story affordable housing complex along Mission Boulevard south of Tennyson Road in Hayward, Calif.,
Construction continues at the Eden Housing project a 5-story affordable housing complex along Mission Boulevard south of Tennyson Road in Hayward, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group) (ANDA CHU)

Marea Alta in San Leandro is being built by Bridge Housing, which has affordable housing projects throughout the West Coast. Bridge is not yet accepting applications, but more than 17,000 people have notified the nonprofit agency that they are interested.

Of its existing sites, "almost all of our properties are 100 percent occupied, and the wait lists are not open. We're not even seeking new applicants," said Lyn Hikida, Bridge Housing representative.

Eden Housing, which is building the South Hayward BART Family and Senior Communities, has more than 22,000 people on its waiting lists for existing properties.

"It's pretty daunting for those looking for housing, as it can take a long time," said Jennifer Reed, Eden Housing communications director.


Mercy Housing plans to have San Lorenzo community meetings before accepting applications for the Arbor at Hesperian, Amy Bayley said. Meeting details are being worked out.

"There will be a preference for individuals who live or work in San Lorenzo and for immediate family members who live and work in San Lorenzo," she said.

The $17.5 million project's name is a nod to its address, 15888 Hesperian Blvd., and the trees that will grace its courtyard. It is expected to open in August, with rents from $490 to $875.

Scheduled to open in late spring at a cost of $58 million, Marea Alta in San Leandro rents will range from $493 to $1,155. To qualify, a family of four would have to have an income of no more than $50,600.

The apartments sit on a former BART parking lot, and the project will include more than 240 underground BART parking stalls plus parking for residents.

Construction of Marea Alta's second phase, which includes 85 affordable senior apartments, is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2018 once funding is secured, Hikida said.

Eden Housing's $53.5 million five-story two-building complex near the South Hayward BART station will have 151 apartments, with construction expected to be finished in late spring. Eden Housing will start taking applications in March or April, and then hold a lottery; interviews should be begin in May.

Rents will range from $256 to $1,215 for family apartments and $525 to $1,052 for senior apartments.

AMCAL has partnered with Eden Housing and Hayward on the mixed income project. AMCAL is building 206 market-rate apartments, called Cadence, on Dixon Street next to the Eden Housing apartments and across from the South Hayward BART station. Construction on those apartments is expected to be complete in January 2017.

The two projects will each have their own interior common area, but they will share an outdoor courtyard with a tot lot, raised community gardens, grills and tables.

The affordable family development will include 87 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The apartments will be targeted to households earning $27,850 to $46,450 for a family of four.

Next to the family building are 64 affordable one- and two-bedroom senior apartments. To be eligible, prospective tenants must be 55 or older, with an annual income of $19,500 to $32,500 for a single person.

While the waits to rent an affordable apartment can be long, there are exceptions.

"Some folks are lucky and get into our brand-new housing on their first try," Reed said.

Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at

  • Marea Alta (San Leandro). For more information and to be put on the interested list, go to or call 510-464-5990.
  • The Arbor at Hesperian (San Lorenzo). Call 415-306-1352 for updates.
  • South Hayward BART Family and Senior Communities. To be placed on the interested list, call Eden Housing at 510-582-1460. Those registered will be sent a mailer once applications are being accepted.

    Housing tips
    Eden Housing's Jennifer Reed has some suggestions for people looking for affordable housing.
  • Check housing nonprofit groups' websites regularly. Many update at the beginning of the month. Eden Housing has a hotline, 510-247-8141, to call to find out which lists are open and how to apply.
  • Once on a list, keep the housing company informed of any address changes. Letters periodically are sent out as openings become available.
  • Get on more than one list.
  • Keep an eye out for new sites, which are filled by lottery.