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Construction has begun on Sunnyvale affordable housing project

Construction began May 9 on an affordable housing project in Sunnyvale that will be named after the first female mayor in California.

Edwina Benner Plaza at 460 Persian Drive will be four stories tall with 66 units, 13 of which will be reserved for homeless applicants.

The location is within walking distance of the Fair Oaks light rail station and, according to the project application, will feature amenities such as a playground for children, a community room and a computer lab.

The project is by MidPen Housing and designed by David Baker Architects.

MidPen submitted the proposal in January 2015. The total estimated cost is $44.3 million, according to city staff, with funds coming from the state’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Grant Program as well as a $7.42 million loan from the city.

The city originally committed a $5 million loan, but the amount was increased in order to reserve more units for Sunnyvale applicants via lottery. Prior to the loan increase, only 32 of the units would have been reserved for Sunnyvale residents.

According to MidPen project manager Matt Lewis, demolition of the structure at the site was completed in February. Construction officially began May 9 and is expected to be completed and opened to tenants in late 2018.

According to Beth Fraker, director of marketing and communications at MidPen, there will be an official groundbreaking ceremony in the summer, likely in June.

In the past, city council members have expressed approval for the project being named after the former Sunnyvale mayor. Benner was mayor of the city from 1924 to 1926 and again from 1937 to 1938.