Sausalito is gearing up to renovate a home he donated

Sausalito will hire an architect to perform a $200,000 renovation of a home he bequeathed to the city.

The city council voted unanimously Tuesday to direct city employees to find an architect to develop renovation plans for the home. The city will use the spare money to fund construction.

The home’s previous owner, Dorothy Gibson, gifted the 1,200-square-foot one-bedroom, one-bathroom home at 429 1/2 Johnson Street to the city after her death. The home is under a bond and must serve as low or middle-income housing for full-time city employees, including first responders.

The Board also considered providing at least one accommodation as part of a pilot program to a person in transitional housing using the Marin Housing Authority voucher program. This person will also be on a placement program with the city.

Improvements being considered include a first-floor toilet in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act; installation of a bedroom on the second floor; And the possibility of converting a basement garage into a livable space. With the improvements, the city said, the house could accommodate two or three low-to-middle-income apartments. An apartment can be considered an annex or a small housing unit.

Public Works Director Kevin McGowan said work could also include updating the electrical system and adding kitchenettes in the home’s basement. He said ADA updates would also be required on the exterior staircases to allow occupancy there.

A home inspection conducted in April 2021 indicated that additional work may be necessary on the roof, sides, furnace and deck.

The construction cost is estimated at $167,812.50. The plan is expected to take three to six months to develop.

Councilwoman Jill Hoffman said she has reached out to the Rotary Club, Lions Club and Sausalito Jamil about how they can help with the construction.

“I expect that we will get help from our community in order to reduce construction costs,” she said.

Deputy Mayor Melissa Blaustein urged the council to consider grants or other options to help with funding.

Mike Wagner, the city’s property manager, said he had explored financing options through banks, but the estimated cost of the project was too low. He said the expenses associated with securing the financing would be prohibitively expensive.

The city estimates market rents from $5,000 to $6,000 per month. Since the home must be low-income, the city expects to receive between $1,650 and $1,980 per month.

Gibson, an author and social worker, passed away in 2019 at the age of 95.

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