50-unit affordable housing development breaks ground in SLO County. What will it look like?

When shovels broke ground on a new affordable housing project at 1206 W Grand Ave. in Grover Beach on Wednesday afternoon, it marked the culmination of around 40 years of philanthropic goals, Corki Clark-Henderson said.

Growing up in San Luis Obispo County, Clark-Henderson’s father, Clifford Clark, made numerous contributions of money and land to parks and the arts through projects such as the Clark Center for the Performing Arts — modeling charitable giving to his children and community, Clark-Henderson said at the groundbreaking.

When Clark-Henderson, now a fiduciary, was tasked with helping the city decide how it would utilize the lot formerly owned by the Cleaver family held by her father’s trust, she decided to use it in a way that would benefit the city.

Originally donated to the city in 1990 to support the creation of a park, the city made the space available for multi-family housing development in 2020, People’s Self-Help Housing president Ken Triguiero said.

The next year, People’s Self-Help Housing and the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo submitted plans together for the new project now known as Cleaver & Clark Commons, named in honor of the project’s two largest community benefactors, Triguiero said.

“The Cleavers wanted to donate the land as a park when they passed, because they didn’t have children,” Clark-Henderson said. “Once they passed, we were ready to convert it into a park, but we got a budget for the design and it was millions of dollars.”

“It just wasn’t feasible, and we were working with a city that needed affordable housing more than they needed parks,” Clark-Henderson continued. “We have a lot of beautiful parks here, but we do need a living space for these young folks to live who are working here and can’t afford to live here.”

Corki Clark-Henderson speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for Cleaver & Clark Commons on Feb. 28, 2024. The Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo and People’s Self-Help Housing joint project will add more than 50 affordable units to Grover Beach.
Corki Clark-Henderson speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for Cleaver & Clark Commons on Feb. 28, 2024. The Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo and People’s Self-Help Housing joint project will add more than 50 affordable units to Grover Beach.

New development to offer more than 50 affordable units

The project will consist of 53 units of affordable housing at the heart of Grover Beach’s West Grand Avenue revitalization efforts, city manager Matt Bronson told The Tribune.

The development will be made up of 24 one-bedroom units, 15 two-bedroom units and 14 three-bedroom units in two buildings that will occupy the unique, L-shaped lot that wraps behind the Chevron station on corner of West Grand Avenue and 13th Street.

Construction efforts will require the demolition of the empty former home of Grover Beach Motorsports on West Grand Avenue, Triguiero said Wednesday.

Development starts at the site of Cleaver & Clark Commons Feb. 28, 2024. The Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo and People’s Self-Help Housing joint project will add more than 50 affordable units to Grover Beach.
Development starts at the site of Cleaver & Clark Commons Feb. 28, 2024. The Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo and People’s Self-Help Housing joint project will add more than 50 affordable units to Grover Beach.

In addition to a pair of community rooms totaling 1,950 square feet, the 1.38-acre property features approximately 5,750 square feet of common outdoor courtyard space featuring “shaded seating areas, picnic tables, community garden beds, grassy area, BBQ areas and two play spaces: one for tots and the other a multi-purpose sport court for the older children,” Triguiero told The Tribune in February 2023.

Clark & Cleaver Commons will serve clients who earn between 30% and 60% of the area median income, and will reserve rooms specifically for farm workers and formerly homeless individuals, Triguiero said.

The development will open its doors to clients who qualified for housing on People’s Self-Help Housing’s waitlist, Triguiero said, which was around 8,300-households long in San Luis Obispo County this time last year.

Cleaver & Clark Commons, a People’s Self-Help Housing affordable housing development at 1206 W Grand Ave in Grover Beach, will break ground late this year and open around spring 2025. People’s Self-Help Housing recently received a $10.8 million award from the California Department of Housing & Community Development to build the development.
Cleaver & Clark Commons, a People’s Self-Help Housing affordable housing development at 1206 W Grand Ave in Grover Beach, will break ground late this year and open around spring 2025. People’s Self-Help Housing recently received a $10.8 million award from the California Department of Housing & Community Development to build the development.

Collins said the property will remain affordable through HASLO project-based housing choice vouchers, guaranteeing a long term investment in affordable housing in Grover Beach.

Initially approved by the Grover Beach City Council on Dec. 13, 2021, the project is set to complete construction in early 2025, Triguiero said.

Clark-Henderson said she thinks her father would be happy with the way she chose to use the lot.

“Cliff’s original plan for what is now known as Ramona Garden Park was actually to become an affordable living complex for seniors, but sadly he ran out of money,” Clark-Henderson said. “That park is for our neighborhood — it’s really beautiful — and it is my family’s hope that the Cleaver Clark Commons will be a beautiful addition to this neighborhood as well.”

Cleaver & Clark Commons, a People’s Self-Help Housing affordable housing development at 1206 W Grand Ave in Grover Beach, will break ground late this year and open around spring 2025. People’s Self-Help Housing recently received a $10.8 million award from the California Department of Housing & Community Development to build the development.
Cleaver & Clark Commons, a People’s Self-Help Housing affordable housing development at 1206 W Grand Ave in Grover Beach, will break ground late this year and open around spring 2025. People’s Self-Help Housing recently received a $10.8 million award from the California Department of Housing & Community Development to build the development.