News


New condo in downtown Palo Alto rents for $32K -- per month

Unit part of mixed-use project at 611 Cowper St.

The condominium in one of the downtown's newest mixed-use buildings includes all the usual luxurious trappings of Silicon Valley life: a private elevator, a pool, a spa and window walls with views of the Palo Alto skyline, according to the listing.

It also comes with an unusual rent: $32,000 per month.

That's the price being charged for the penthouse unit at 611 Cowper St., a building that was designed by Hayes Group architect, approved in 2013 and completed last year. Located near Hamilton Avenue, the “mixed-use building” consists almost entirely of office space, save for the penthouse apartment.

The three-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot condominium is being rented out for $32,000, according to MLS Listings, a real estate site. The renter will also have to pay a $50,000 security deposit, according to the listing.

Described as an “exquisite fourth-floor penthouse,” the unit features high ceilings, and “expansive terraces,” one of which includes a hot tub, as well as 4,000 square feet of outdoor space. According to the description in the listing, interior finishes include “marble, granite, walnut floors and vertical grant walnut doors.”

“No detail has been overlooked in creating the ultimate in luxurious and convenient living!” the listing proclaims.

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Comments

45 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of University South
on Nov 18, 2016 at 4:54 pm

This is basically required by the zoning code. There's a square footage bonus for including residential in a four-story building... but it's based on number of square feet, not number of units. Since every new unit requires multiple parking spaces at $60k a pop, it's easier for the builder to just make one super-luxury penthouse instead of digging underground for extra parking spaces or paying the in lieu fees.

This is easy to fix - just change to bonus to be based on the number of units instead of the square footage, and you're creating middle class housing instead of more housing for the super-rich. Maybe this is even something the new, pro-housing council could take on.

I'm not an architect, so any architects reading this should tell me if I'm getting the details wrong. But I think I'm getting the gist right. I looked into this the last time one of these ridiculous penthouses got stuck on top of an office building.


23 people like this
Posted by Norman Beamer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 5:06 pm

[Portion removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 18, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Penthouse.
$32k/month.
Only people like Howard Hughes and Larry E can afford it.

Good Luck.


27 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2016 at 6:02 pm

The penthouse is just part of the City's
giveaway here to the developer, the icing on the cake so to speak, of this 50+ space underparked building outside the downtown parking assessment district. The opaque windows on Cowper make for a nice pedestrian friendly Downtown ambiance.


25 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 18, 2016 at 6:36 pm

City hall loves these mixed-use office projects because it thinks they add to our affordable housing stock. Red faces in our white tower, perhaps? Probably not.


84 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2016 at 7:21 pm

I just came home from an outreach event to provide services to a few residents of Palo Alto who can't afford enough food for themselves - some with children. Some wor hard. Some are elderly, some disabled. None are slackers looking for a handout. All are Palo Altans through and through.

When I read of building, offering, renting and profiting from a $32,000 per month penthouse with a private pool, elevator and spa, I don't think of land use laws and city policy [portion removed]. I say, pox be on your penthouse.


14 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Nov 18, 2016 at 8:12 pm

A ripoff considering in Thailand one can get a room for two and a bottle of rum for 20 USD.


3 people like this
Posted by ABAG
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 18, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Any unit counts toward the ABAG requirement(s). A pox on your understanding of the reasons behind getting any units we can. PA Insane won't let us have granny units ( like Menlo Park, since they shut down those Save Menlo ites) and/or packed in affordable senior housing, so we need to get every unit we can.


19 people like this
Posted by Mortimer G. Moneybags
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Mortimer G. Moneybags is a registered user.

Well, I for one am grateful.

My portfolio took a bit of a hit last year, so I'm retrenching. Finally, here: some affordable housing!

Love,
Mort


19 people like this
Posted by Jessica Clark
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 18, 2016 at 9:27 pm

I encourage all Palo Altans and those throughout the bay area to join the collaborative conversation breaking the divide in our own community and beyond. I am tired of seeing unproductive rhetoric on these threads. Whether we agree on issues or not bring your voice into a civil empathetic arena for real discussion promoting positive change. Enough of us vs them, them vs. us. Please consider the event below and rsvp.

Web Link


14 people like this
Posted by Bib
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 18, 2016 at 10:00 pm

Tale of two cities. [Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 18, 2016 at 11:13 pm

@Sea -- reality check. How many could afford this condo, if they were silly enough to really want it? The top 1 percent of California tax filers are those with incomes (AGI) greater than about $500,000. The top 1 percent of Palo Alto are undoubtedly much higher than California on average. Ergo there must be hundreds of local residents who could meet that rent, especially with creative tax strategies like expensing part of it as a home office. Anyone disagree? Even I could afford it for a year if I wanted to blow my 401(k).

And to @anon of the outreach event, I wouldn't be destroying $32,000 per month, just transferring it to someone else's account, who would then be free to give it all to charity.


7 people like this
Posted by Todd
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2016 at 11:35 pm

Wait, people actually think there's some private individual out there that's going to rent it for 32k a month?


3 people like this
Posted by All of the things
a resident of University South
on Nov 19, 2016 at 1:17 am

that money can buy and what of life to own.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jason
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 19, 2016 at 6:13 am

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Thomas Paine IV
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 19, 2016 at 10:26 am

[Post removed.]


48 people like this
Posted by Deceptive event
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2016 at 11:22 am

Jessica Clark's feel-good announcement and fancy graphics is very misleading.

The speaker is Palantir's Community Ambassador. That is her job title. If you want to support the goals of a Billion dollar corporation that secretly works for the oil industry and the CIA, this is for you.
If you like what Billion dollar Palantir is doing to our downtown and its infiltration into the Palo Alto city government you can join the real estate moguls and support them.

I myself prefer honesty in the public arena, not deception.


13 people like this
Posted by What skyline?
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Had to laugh at this part of the description "...and window walls with views of the Palo Alto skyline"

Palo Alto has no skyline, 50 foot height limit = no skyline. What a joke.


6 people like this
Posted by NeilsonBuchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 19, 2016 at 5:05 pm

NeilsonBuchanan is a registered user.

I hope this penthouse with a view is, at least, a primary home for an individual or family. Perhaps it is a wealthy person's second or third home of convenience. Perhaps it is owned by a business as a home away from home for executives or customers.

The price, if converted a "hotel" room with linen service and stocked fridge for corporate visitors to vibrant downtown Palo Alto, is not outrageous..... and it could be a "best buy" escaping the TOT. We have achieved a new high point for cross-eyed development incentives.


6 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 19, 2016 at 9:04 pm

what's that old saying? A fool and their money soon part ways.


12 people like this
Posted by Kenagain
a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2016 at 9:59 pm

Same square foot price as office lease, maybe a little lower.


11 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 19, 2016 at 10:18 pm

30 years of that rent might buy a bike bridge across 101. Might not.


Like this comment
Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2016 at 10:54 pm

I have a pool in my back yard, I'm glad I can now describe it as "private".


17 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Nov 20, 2016 at 7:52 am

I'm sure someone will try to AirBnB it for $1.5K/night.


7 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 21, 2016 at 11:36 am

Annette is a registered user.

Wow - talk about Manhattanization! This article and the remarks that follow are a healthy reminder that Palo Alto is an iconic theater. Or should I say theatre?


25 people like this
Posted by Former Palo Altan
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2016 at 11:59 am

Oh, come on, does anyone think an individual is going to rent this? A corporation is going to rent it, use it for parties or visiting executives, or to house the CEO. Voila! A $384,000 tax deduction! It's a gift that keeps on giving. And citizens wonder why their taxes keep going up. I was a Republican for most of my life but this kind of tax inequality must stop.


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Former Palo Altan,
So the tenant pays $384,000 and it's tax deduction. Doesn't the landlord have to pay taxes on the that amount? Seems like your argument does not hold water.


3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 21, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Depends how fast the landlord can depreciate the property?

And I know many ordinary individual home-buyers who will accumulate $384K of deductions just paying off their mortgage interest.


3 people like this
Posted by Deceptive event
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2016 at 12:53 pm

[Post removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by Nauseous
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 21, 2016 at 1:11 pm

This literally made me sick to my stomach.


15 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Dad
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 21, 2016 at 2:27 pm

[Post removed.]


19 people like this
Posted by jh
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 21, 2016 at 4:49 pm

jh is a registered user.

Any housing units built above offices will most likely be leased or sold for use as offices. With the bonus of a few extra bathrooms. With only two and a half code enforcers for the entire city of Palo Alto there is no way to enforce any of these housing units, unless part of the low income or affordable housing programs, be used for residences.

When council members advocate for housing be included with offices I don't know whether they are being naive or devious. Rather like the excuse for approving housing without parking being given that residents won't own, or be allowed, cars. To be enforced how?


18 people like this
Posted by Max Rosan
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 22, 2016 at 1:12 am

Greetings fellow Palo Altans. I was raised and grew up in a nice Eichler house on Van Auken Circle, hence my Midtown neighborhood selection. I attended Van Auken School 1962 - 1964 (3rd - 4th), then Peninsula School through 8th. After that, adventure.

It all seemed so normal back then. Coming home from school in the afternoon, homework, then playing with other school kids around the block. Dad was an associate professor of pathology at Stanford. Mom stayed at home, and when I went to Peninsula School starting in 1965, she was part of the carpool of other moms ferrying us all to school and back. It all seemed so right. In '74, I started at Foothill college, dropped out to be a German car mechanic, found my independence, lived with my girlfriend, and life was good and rich and rewarding. But the underground nouveau riche of Silicon Valley was simmering just off the stove on the back burner. It wouldn't be long before this simmering came to a full boil, with home prices skyrocketing, and I soon realized that there would be no way that I could ever remain, as a homeowner, in my hometown. Earning around $12/hour, I could not enter the Palo Alto housing market where starter homes were priced at $475K and upwards.

And that was when I made my getaway. To Death Valley. In 1979. And I loved it, and lived it, and I still do, I've been living in the Eastern Sierra since then mostly, in the shadow of Mt. Whitney, in Keeler actually. If you, like me, are from the Midtown neighborhoods of the 1960s, and you happen to journey out this way via US highway 395, give me a shout -- I'd be happy to meet you, or, perhaps I might remember you from that time way back when. Send me an email to max_rosan at yahoo dot com.

Whenever I go back to visit family and relatives in PA, I am stunned by what has happened. I think back to the parades on University Avenue in the 1960s for Easter, July 4th, Memorial Day, Veteran's day, etc. All gone. No time or room for those special events now. Woolworth's, Congdon & Crome, University Art, all the little markets, like Duca & Hanley in Midtown, and the Co-Op, all gone -- given over to expensive places where only the New Palo Altans can afford to spend their dough. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not whining about my past childhood, because anyone can whine about that. Childhoods are in the past always, and things evolve and our lives change as we grow up, but on a humanitarian level, or so I would like to believe. What Palo Alto has changed into and become is not, in my opinion, on a humanitarian level. Palo Alto has become economically warped by an influx of an incredible amount of new money, brought in by new outsider people with few manners or respect for Palo Alto's interesting and diverse history. I wouldn't have thought it possible at the time, back when I was younger, but I am comfortable to be on the outside and looking in.

Once upon a childhood, sometime in the mid-1960s of my adolescence, exploring Matadero Creek with my schoolmates, herding tadpoles, searching for lost riches, gazing up at the big houses with their fences on the creek's banks, looking at the empty beer bottles discarded by the teenagers of whom I was soon to become a member, wondering about what kind of moonlight parties or orgies they might have had; wondering about how the creek had changed its course during the floods, of nature and her seasons, and other things. Those are a few of my favorite memories from my childhood, growing up in Palo Alto of the mid 1960s. I shall never forget these memories, even way out here in the Eastern Sierra of the Owens Valley.


15 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 22, 2016 at 7:27 am

Max makes a good point: change is inevitable but really smart communities don't allow themselves to lose their soul in the process. I think we've sadly reached the point where we have smarts and money that is increasingly more destructive than constructive.

As for the penthouse, next thing you know the City will be renting it as housing for the City Manager or some other high level City employee and telling us that they HAD to because that was the ONLY way to stay competitive.


6 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 22, 2016 at 9:32 am

Nice essay Max. I'm about the same vintage, but still haven't departed Palo Alto, much to the dismay of vultures circling impatiently for decades. I suppose I might be stunned by the accumulated change had I gone away for any significant length of time. However it's been sufficiently gradual overall that many aspects of the past are still recognizable. Groceries from midtown Safeway yesterday, breakfast at Hobee's this morning, same as way back in the last century. It's still home. Biggest change I think is that childhoods will never be the same -- no more exploring Matadero Creek, or exploring anything on your own, independently. Or maybe all exploration now is done on-line, sitting in your bedroom; same as many of us did through library books back in the day. Still, going off to college (or other avenue of seeking one's fortune) will always be an adventure.

Trulia shows a pending $25,000 sale of a 2-bedroom, 1-bath tear-down in Keeler. Nice to know there are affordable alternatives out there for Bay Area refugees. How would the locals react to proposing a new McMansion on Yerington Ave? Perhaps the usual split between conservationists and those wanting construction jobs.


2 people like this
Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 22, 2016 at 11:47 pm

@ Max Rosan, I too grew up (still highly immature} in PA. We share many of the same memories. I sold my home in Los Altos Hills and bought my Mom's unique, post divorce, home in PA in '96 so she could retire after years of being a blood sweat and tears GP physician. However, things change, and at a rapid pace here. I'm grateful that my kids graduated from PALY, as I did in '77. Change is inevitable, your memories, experiences, and life are permanent, I'm glad too see that you relish in them...


8 people like this
Posted by sad Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 29, 2016 at 1:54 pm

This is gross - and the fact that its getting such attention even more so.
I see moderator removed the name of property owner...why so people wont know how greedy the owner really is? it's already public knowledge, was published in Bus Times. It's eye raising to see that the property owner may likely be more interested in filling their already overflowing pockets than what is right for the community....Nobo Sushi, oops I mean more accessible housing


2 people like this
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 24, 2016 at 7:41 am

I think this is what you call Above Market Rate..


Posted by Jason
a resident of Palo Alto Hills

on Dec 24, 2016 at 9:34 am


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4 people like this
Posted by Developer is Reller
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 24, 2016 at 12:49 pm

R&M Properties is a premier real estate development and investment company located in Palo Alto, California. Owned and operated since 1997 by founders Stephen Reller and Mark Moragne, R&M continues to develop and manage projects with distinctive design, quality construction and desirable location.
On their website, pictures of 611 Cowper Web Link


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