Senior housing, offices and room for a hardware store have been scrapped from a controversial downtown Palo Alto proposal after neighborhood opposition.
Eden Housing had planned to bring 48 units of senior housing and 48 units of family housing to 801 and 841 Alma St., site of a former substation. The project was slated to occupy two buildings and to feature ground-floor commercial space, including a rebuilt Palo Alto Hardware store.
On Thursday, project applicants told the Architectural Review Board the proposal would now feature 50 units of housing for low-income families. The size of the proposed complex has been scaled back from four parcels to two. As a result, the project no longer requires a zone change and will not need to be approved by the Planning and Transportation Commission or the City Council.
"We're very excited about this project," said Kathy Schmidt, associate director of real estate development for Eden Housing. "We think it's an ideal location for an affordable-housing project."
Members of the city's architectural board praised the revised project and said they look forward to seeing it further developed. Because the hearing was preliminary, the board did not vote on the project. But board members suggested a few minor changes to landscaping and building colors.
Despite the project's changes, residents from the neighboring 800 High St. condominium complex continued to protest that the project will cause parking problems in their neighborhood and bring too many new children to city schools. Joseph Mallon, who sits on the board of directors of the 800 High St. housing association, said the project is still too dense and needs to be carefully reviewed before any approval is issued.
"This project is far from being ready for the Architectural Review Board," Mallon told the board. "It tries to put too many multi-family units on too small a plot."