Spring Real Estate 2007

Publication Date: Friday, April 27, 2007

New housing abounds
More than 350 new homes coming to Palo Alto and Mountain View

by Susan Hong

Angela Mok and her husband can't wait to move into their brand-new Vantage townhouse in Midtown Palo Alto. "We're very excited," she said. "We're really lucky that we got in early."

The energy-efficient, green-built townhouses, the only ones currently under construction in Palo Alto, made the decision a slam-dunk for Mok. She hopes she'll see a buyback from the City of Palo Alto from the energy her solar panels generate.

"If we don't use that much electricity and we get a lot of sunlight there's a possibility that we could even get a credit. There's always that small chance in that off month. It sure beats paying $400."

There's a lot of new construction happening in Palo Alto and Mountain View: More than 350 new condominiums and townhouses will go up this year and the next, with Palo Alto alone seeing about 200 new homes and Mountain View about 150.

Mok and her husband moved into an Eichler two years ago. Last winter during the cold snap their heating bills went up $400 a month and a water pipe broke over their roof. When she heard about the "green" Warmington townhomes currently under construction at Vantage of Palo Alto in Midtown she and her husband jumped at the chance to buy. "That sort of thing wouldn't happen in Vantage, not in a brand new home," she said.

The price suited her well too. "If you look on MLS today and look for a three-bed(room) house that's 1,500 to 1,700 square feet, you're looking at a listing price of $1.2 (million), and it's not uncommon for people to bid up $100,000 versus buying a brand-new townhouse. It wasn't much of a decision," she added. She expects to move in towards the latter part of this year.

Each new Vantage home will have solar panels, tankless water heaters, and a dual-flush option for toilets to conserve water. According to Warmington the homes will be built with "materials that minimize off-gassing of harmful chemicals, prevent mold growth and provide fresh air."

The Vantage Homes, built in the Eichler style with floor-to-ceiling windows, range in price from about $837,000 up to $1,070,000. Vantage offers five varieties of homes ranging from 1,200 square feet to 1,600 square feet with two to three bedrooms and two to three baths. All come with cherry-finish laminate cabinets, granite-slab countertops, and under-cabinet fluorescent lighting. They also have the option of stainless-steel upgrades.

Out of 76 homes "The Fir" and "The Sage" styled homes have sold out. Vantage has released 24 units and has six currently available.

DR Horton's Arbor Real project on El Camino Real has already sold most of its condominiums. "We have 36 market-rate homes left to sell out of a total of 181," Kristen Nowak, sales representative, said. That includes 12 detached condominiums that go for $1.4 to $1.6 million. The attached condominiums sell in the high $800,000s up to $1.2 million.

Every home comes with a two-car garage, granite-slab countertops and Kitchen Aid appliances. Home buyers can choose from 19 different floor plans. "Hardwood floors are an option," Nowak said. Ceilings start at nine feet and go up to 18 feet. Square footage ranges from 1,355 square feet to 2,600 square feet.

The community will have a shared "great lawn" and a pool with a recreational room, Nowak said. "It's a very large great lawn, probably the size of a football field," she said. There will also be "a children's play area, picnic tables, vegetable garden and flower garden and car wash area."

The "Oak Condominiums" will be done by the end of June, Nowak said. The company will have another release of about 10 new condominiums in about a month, she said in March.

The single-family homes on Wilkie Way are all sold and completed, she said, and residents have already begun moving in. The Charleston Meadows Association will put on a block party for their new neighbors at a future date to be determined.

Mountain View's new multi-colored condominiums are well underway.

Classic Communities' yellow and tan homes on 180 Evandale Ave. were slated to go on sale the first weekend in April, Vice President Dave Krasowski said. The company offers two different styles of single-family-detached homes that start in the upper $600,000 range. "All are three bedroom and 1,600 square feet," he said.

They come with wrap-around porches and some with stone or brick decorating the exterior. All have gas fireplaces with 16-foot ceilings in the living room. The kitchens will have maple cabinets throughout, an island and media nook.

Families can expect to begin to move in by July, Krasowski said.

The Nick Podell Company on 220 View St. in Mountain View will offer "brand-new high-finished" condominiums within walking distance of downtown Mountain View, Sales Manager Linsey Pekelsma said. "There's nothing new like it around."

The condominiums are "close to all those restaurants, close to Fenwick & West, Google and all the downtown Mountain View companies," she said.

All 22 units have two bedrooms and two and a half baths. They range from 1,350 to 1,600 square feet. Prices start at $850,000 and go up to $950,000 to start. Buyers have the option of purchasing "view premiums" for the eight top-floor units.

Kitchens come with "honed Carrara marble countertops, hardwood floors, Watermark faucets, and stainless-steel appliances," Pekelsma said. "Everything will be finished at a beautiful high level."

The condominiums will be built with a heavily landscaped courtyard and view fountain. Residents will have subterranean parking with two elevators that access the building.

"I'm excited about it. It's fantastic. They're framing it all up. ... It is even more beautiful than it was in plan," Pekelsma said. Homes will go on sale in early June.

Closer to Highway 85 and just minutes from downtown Mountain View, Pulte Homes has created "Bedford Square," a well-manicured community featuring 106 townhouses.

The community features a pool, spa, clubhouse and barbecue area, Sales Manager Mike Barbieri said.

The prices range from $660,000 with two bedrooms and two and a half baths to $780,000 with three bedrooms and three and a half baths.

Bedford Square lies within the Mountain View-Whisman School District. Each home has three levels and a two-car garage.

Pulte has sold 29 units and has 13 units currently available. Families will first move into the community in late July or early August this year.

Also in Mountain View, "Granada Park Townhomes" built by Barry Swenson have 20 new units for sale. "It's coming along really well," Stacey Zembik, community sales manager, said. "It's a charming enclave of 20 attached townhomes," she said, adding, it's "really a plus for a townhome to have a generous-sized back yard."

"We have GE Profile stainless-steel appliances, (and) we have alder wood cabinets," she said. "It has Craftsman architectural detail."

The enclave features a preserved redwood tree in the middle. Each home comes with hardwood floors and granite-slab countertops in the kitchen.

The units range from three to four bedrooms. They come with two and a half baths and two-car garages. Prices range from $800,000 to the low $900,000s.

The company has 19 units available. Buyers can expect to move in by May or June of this year.

--Editorial Intern Susan Hong can be e-mailed at shong@paweekly.com.