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Senior-housing complex opens in East Palo Alto

Serenity Senior Apartments built through partnership between nonprofits

An affordable housing complex for seniors in East Palo Alto that started as an idea four years ago is opening its doors Thursday, according to city officials.

Serenity Senior Apartments on University Avenue south of Bay Road has 41 units available for people 62 years old and older earning about 50 percent of the area's median income, which is $46,100 for a one-person household, city officials said.

Of the 41 units, 36 have a single bedroom and five have two bedrooms.

The $25 million development received unanimous approval from the City Council in 2015. The project led developers to demolish four single-family home and two duplexes that spanned between 2358 and 2580 University Ave.

About 700 applications were submitted for the 41 homes within a two-week acceptance period, city officials said.

"It's a beautifully designed community that will be an asset to our city for years to come and a testimony to what can be accomplished when civic and business leaders and non-profit housing developers work together in innovative ways," Vice Mayor Ruben Abrica said in a press release.

The facility was initially developed by the nonprofit East Palo Alto Community Alliance & Neighborhood Development Organization (EPA CAN DO), which acquired five parcels in the 2300 block of University Avenue in 2013. The organization teamed up with nonprofit MidPen Housing to secure a sixth parcel on the property to build the complex.

"Serenity Senior Apartments ... shows East Palo Alto in its very best light and highlights what happens when people come together and use their collective resources to make a positive difference," EPA CAN DO Executive Director Robert Jones said in a press release.

The complex features community gardens, a barbecue area, a fitness center, a computer lab and a community room with a kitchen and a piano, city officials said. It is also located within walking distance of the East Palo Alto Senior Center, the city library, pharmacies, supermarkets, retail and a bus stop.

Abrica and San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum are expected to attend the event that will begin with tours at 11 a.m. followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m. at 2358 University Ave.

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