News

Hundreds of new apartments proposed in East Palo Alto

Property owner plans to replace 160 rent-controlled apartments, add 445 market-rate apartments

The largest owner of apartments in East Palo Alto is proposing to demolish 160 rent-controlled units and to replace them with 605 apartments, some of which would rent at market-rate, owner Sand Hill Property Company announced Wednesday.

The proposal at Woodland Park Communities would not cause the eviction of current residents, a rarity among developers, the company said. Sand Hill would designate 160 apartments in the new development as rent controlled, available first to the existing tenants, and would add 445 apartments for rent at market rates.

The redevelopment would affect less than 10 percent of the 1,800-unit Woodland Park Communities, which is located west of U.S. Highway 101. Sand Hill would relocate the 160 tenants to similar residences within the same neighborhood during construction, then give them a "right to return" at their same rental rates, according to the company. (View maps of the plan provided by Sand Hill here).

Woodland Park's buildings, which include multistory apartments and single-family residences, are between 50 and more than 100 years old, putting them at "the end of their useful life," the company stated in a press release.

"They were built before the city of East Palo Alto was founded, to now-outdated building codes, and were not well maintained by the previous ownership," the press release states.

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The company hasn't yet determined how tall the buildings will be, but estimates four to eight stories, depending on what they are neighboring. Buildings next to the tall University Circle complex or U.S. Highway 101 could be taller and those next to residences would be shorter, said Mike Kramer, chief investment officer of Woodland Park Communities.

"We currently have no plans beyond these," Kramer said.

The development would also increase parking to approximately 620 spaces (up from the current 155 off-street slots), seek to improve nearby transit options and improve pedestrian and bicycle access, the company said. One space has tentatively been designated as "flex/retail."

"Our proposal has been informed by years of discussions with our residents, our neighbors and the community. We will continue our engagement and outreach and will partner with East Palo Alto to create a community informed plan all of us can be proud of," Kramer said in the statement.

The new redevelopment, Euclid Improvements, will be located on two properties behind the University Circle business park and Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley. The largest parcel is at the corner of Manhattan Avenue and West Bayshore Road, bordered by O'Connor Street and Euclid Avenue. An adjacent, smaller development would be at the corner of O'Keefe Street and Euclid. (View a list of the impacted addresses at the end of this story.)

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The company plans to submit the project application to the city this summer. If approved, construction could begin in 2021. The first apartments would be completed by 2023 at the earliest, Kramer said.

The company sent a letter to Woodland's residents last week informing them of the proposed development. Representatives held meetings with those residents on Monday and with the broader Woodland Park community on Tuesday, with plans for additional community meetings during the next several months.

Sand Hill's chief housing officer Candice Gonzalez, who was hired in July after serving 10 years as CEO of the affordable-housing developer Palo Alto Housing, reaffirmed the company's commitment to its current tenants in a statement: "Constructing new rent-controlled homes is relatively unprecedented in the industry, but it is vital that we protect current tenants and preserve affordability. The core principles that inform our plans are no displacement, having a community-informed plan, creating better parking and mobility, and constructing safer, healthier buildings."

The announcement may help alleviate some concerns among residents and city leaders, who have feared for years that the large chunk of affordable housing would be converted to high-end apartments or condominiums.

Woodland Park has had a rocky history since being acquired in 2007 by Page Mill Properties, which fueled concerns and distrust. The properties were engulfed in lawsuits over the city's rent-stabilization ordinance and steep rent increases by Page Mill. Investors sued, including over a $100 million failed investment in the company by the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

Chicago-based Equity Residential purchased Woodland Park in 2011, but the company's ownership was controversial. Tenants filed a class-action lawsuit in September 2014 alleging Equity Residential charged unlawful and exorbitant late fees.

In August, then-East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica, a resident of Woodland Park, recognized Sand Hill's efforts to improve the properties and tenants' experiences in his State of the City address. "(Woodland Park Communities) has acted differently, and I have seen that they have tried to restore the trust between management and the tenants, they have addressed more directly issues of parking, of maintenance, of security, and they have also done additional activities for the children and for the families," he said.

In October, the company apologized to tenants for a gaffe by its management company after residents who tried to pay their rent were refused if they could not show identification that matched their lease agreement. A company attorney told the East Palo Alto Rent Stabilization Board that Sand Hill was trying to protect residents' privacy.

The City Council in December also recognized Woodland Park Communities with a proclamation for "its effort to improve relations and services to tenant families."

Addresses that would fall under the Euclid Improvements development:

• 2021 Euclid Ave.

• 2043 Euclid Ave.

• 2040 Euclid Ave.

• 2025 Euclid Ave.

• 2012 Euclid Ave.

• 2042 Euclid Ave.

• 2031 Euclid Ave.

• 2032 Euclid Ave.

• 2044 Euclid Ave.

• 2041 Euclid Ave.

• 2036 Euclid Ave.

• 2054 Euclid Ave.

• 501 O'Connor St.

• 2001 Manhattan Ave.

• 2033 Manhattan Ave.

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Hundreds of new apartments proposed in East Palo Alto

Property owner plans to replace 160 rent-controlled apartments, add 445 market-rate apartments

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Dec 19, 2018, 5:27 pm

The largest owner of apartments in East Palo Alto is proposing to demolish 160 rent-controlled units and to replace them with 605 apartments, some of which would rent at market-rate, owner Sand Hill Property Company announced Wednesday.

The proposal at Woodland Park Communities would not cause the eviction of current residents, a rarity among developers, the company said. Sand Hill would designate 160 apartments in the new development as rent controlled, available first to the existing tenants, and would add 445 apartments for rent at market rates.

The redevelopment would affect less than 10 percent of the 1,800-unit Woodland Park Communities, which is located west of U.S. Highway 101. Sand Hill would relocate the 160 tenants to similar residences within the same neighborhood during construction, then give them a "right to return" at their same rental rates, according to the company. (View maps of the plan provided by Sand Hill here).

Woodland Park's buildings, which include multistory apartments and single-family residences, are between 50 and more than 100 years old, putting them at "the end of their useful life," the company stated in a press release.

"They were built before the city of East Palo Alto was founded, to now-outdated building codes, and were not well maintained by the previous ownership," the press release states.

The company hasn't yet determined how tall the buildings will be, but estimates four to eight stories, depending on what they are neighboring. Buildings next to the tall University Circle complex or U.S. Highway 101 could be taller and those next to residences would be shorter, said Mike Kramer, chief investment officer of Woodland Park Communities.

"We currently have no plans beyond these," Kramer said.

The development would also increase parking to approximately 620 spaces (up from the current 155 off-street slots), seek to improve nearby transit options and improve pedestrian and bicycle access, the company said. One space has tentatively been designated as "flex/retail."

"Our proposal has been informed by years of discussions with our residents, our neighbors and the community. We will continue our engagement and outreach and will partner with East Palo Alto to create a community informed plan all of us can be proud of," Kramer said in the statement.

The new redevelopment, Euclid Improvements, will be located on two properties behind the University Circle business park and Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley. The largest parcel is at the corner of Manhattan Avenue and West Bayshore Road, bordered by O'Connor Street and Euclid Avenue. An adjacent, smaller development would be at the corner of O'Keefe Street and Euclid. (View a list of the impacted addresses at the end of this story.)

The company plans to submit the project application to the city this summer. If approved, construction could begin in 2021. The first apartments would be completed by 2023 at the earliest, Kramer said.

The company sent a letter to Woodland's residents last week informing them of the proposed development. Representatives held meetings with those residents on Monday and with the broader Woodland Park community on Tuesday, with plans for additional community meetings during the next several months.

Sand Hill's chief housing officer Candice Gonzalez, who was hired in July after serving 10 years as CEO of the affordable-housing developer Palo Alto Housing, reaffirmed the company's commitment to its current tenants in a statement: "Constructing new rent-controlled homes is relatively unprecedented in the industry, but it is vital that we protect current tenants and preserve affordability. The core principles that inform our plans are no displacement, having a community-informed plan, creating better parking and mobility, and constructing safer, healthier buildings."

The announcement may help alleviate some concerns among residents and city leaders, who have feared for years that the large chunk of affordable housing would be converted to high-end apartments or condominiums.

Woodland Park has had a rocky history since being acquired in 2007 by Page Mill Properties, which fueled concerns and distrust. The properties were engulfed in lawsuits over the city's rent-stabilization ordinance and steep rent increases by Page Mill. Investors sued, including over a $100 million failed investment in the company by the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

Chicago-based Equity Residential purchased Woodland Park in 2011, but the company's ownership was controversial. Tenants filed a class-action lawsuit in September 2014 alleging Equity Residential charged unlawful and exorbitant late fees.

In August, then-East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica, a resident of Woodland Park, recognized Sand Hill's efforts to improve the properties and tenants' experiences in his State of the City address. "(Woodland Park Communities) has acted differently, and I have seen that they have tried to restore the trust between management and the tenants, they have addressed more directly issues of parking, of maintenance, of security, and they have also done additional activities for the children and for the families," he said.

In October, the company apologized to tenants for a gaffe by its management company after residents who tried to pay their rent were refused if they could not show identification that matched their lease agreement. A company attorney told the East Palo Alto Rent Stabilization Board that Sand Hill was trying to protect residents' privacy.

The City Council in December also recognized Woodland Park Communities with a proclamation for "its effort to improve relations and services to tenant families."

Addresses that would fall under the Euclid Improvements development:

• 2021 Euclid Ave.

• 2043 Euclid Ave.

• 2040 Euclid Ave.

• 2025 Euclid Ave.

• 2012 Euclid Ave.

• 2042 Euclid Ave.

• 2031 Euclid Ave.

• 2032 Euclid Ave.

• 2044 Euclid Ave.

• 2041 Euclid Ave.

• 2036 Euclid Ave.

• 2054 Euclid Ave.

• 501 O'Connor St.

• 2001 Manhattan Ave.

• 2033 Manhattan Ave.

Comments

Midlander
Registered user
Midtown
on Dec 19, 2018 at 5:31 pm
Midlander, Midtown
Registered user
on Dec 19, 2018 at 5:31 pm

Wow. Bringing that many badly-needed new housing units to the local area would be extremely welcome!


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2018 at 9:44 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2018 at 9:44 pm

From the looks of the photo (of the existing) it appears there is a clear need for parking. Whatever is constructed, greater capacity would be most helpful to the region and full parking is absolutely needed. Otherwise, I disagree that rent control should be implemented. This appears to be what I call “selective rent control,” that makes even less sense. Complicated and not following the rules of economics.


Thad
East Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2018 at 7:54 am
Thad, East Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2018 at 7:54 am

Anonymous, you are correct, doing the right thing is often the opposite as maximizing profit.

I live in one of those buildings slated for razing in 2021.


Aquamarine
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 9:03 am
Aquamarine , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 9:03 am

Luckily Anonymous doesn't get to tell others what to do with their rent control ordinance.


EPA Is On the Move
East Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2018 at 10:09 am
EPA Is On the Move, East Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2018 at 10:09 am

It will be nice to finally see those older apartments replaced by a modern living complex targeted towards a reasonable income-level. EPA is on the move.

There was a front-page article yesterday in the San Jose Mercury News covering the transient RV park in East Palo Alto. Those who reside there have even formed their own RV homeowner's coalition to get EPA to provide an city-sanctioned RV campground of sorts.

Would such a concept be good for East Palo Alto? While there is plenty of available land for such a facility, it might conflict with the city's redevelopment plans in terms of overall appearances and re-inventing EPA's purported reputation.

On the other hand, an affluent city such as Palo Alto seems to be able to accomodate these RVs so perhaps the ubiquitous proliferation of them is not a critical issue at this time.

Everybody needs a place to live and so appearances aside, I am not going to judge as people will do what they need to do in order to survive.





traffic-alert
Crescent Park
on Dec 20, 2018 at 10:53 am
traffic-alert, Crescent Park
on Dec 20, 2018 at 10:53 am

So here we have increased density development that is going to preserve housing for low-income families - all good, right? How about the 405 new families that will need 1-2 cars each since there is no local public transportation? Their highway access will be via the Woodland-University-101 intersection that is already unable to handle current traffic loads.
More low-income housing is good but... we need investment in transportation infrastructure to improve current traffic problems before we add more cars. Developers have become masters at pitching high profit development and avoiding taking responsibility for many of the real costs.


But...
Menlo Park
on Dec 20, 2018 at 11:01 am
But..., Menlo Park
on Dec 20, 2018 at 11:01 am

I understand the need for additional housing and the existing properties aren't exactly 'flagship' quality. BUT, the parking and traffic issues MUST be addressed properly before this is approved.

We already have a horrible problem getting out of The Willows both in the morning rush and for hours in the afternoon. In addition, the EXISTING density of apartments, tenants and parking aren't working. The cars are overflowing blocks into Menlo Park despite theoretical restrictions.


Aquamarine
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 11:02 am
Aquamarine, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 11:02 am

Traffic-alert - this isn't low income housing, none of it is. It's going to be market rate housing plus the original 160 market rate units that became rent-stabilized when the tenants moved in. Rent-stabilized isn't low income or affordable housing. It's completely unclear how they'll work around state and local law to add the new units back into the city's rent-stabilized stock. There is local public transportation in that area, too.


Mark Dinan
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2018 at 11:04 am
Mark Dinan, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Dec 20, 2018 at 11:04 am

I'm all for it. The only way to solve the housing crisis is to build more housing and this is a step in the right direction. Traffic is an issue currently at that intersection, but most of this problem is caused by the current construction of the Willow/101 overpass. This is an ideal location for an apartment building, close to jobs, freeways, and in a neighborhood that already has 12 story office buildings and a hotel.


Aquamarine
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 11:06 am
Aquamarine, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 11:06 am

But... It's actually MP residents that have encroached onto EPA streets over there and take up EPA spots much needed for EPA residents. You have an overnight street parking ban so all you need to do, come January, is call your city and complain.


Woodlands Home Owner
East Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2018 at 11:27 am
Woodlands Home Owner, East Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2018 at 11:27 am

@Aquamarine already mentions this, but repeating a post I also made on Facebook about this.

Construction after 1995 cannot have rent control imposed on them according to Costa Hawkins act. So the developer is trying to get this through the approval process with the city by protecting the existing number of rent controlled units, despite it being new construction. It's clever, I'll give them that. I assume they'll come to a contract agreement with the city that will hold up in court.

But the problem is this new building will almost assuredly be "Luxury Apartments", meaning the non-controlled apartments will bring in higher rents than the other, older apartments in the area. And the "rent-controlled" apartments will also increase in rent when a tenant leaves, to current market rate. Almost assuredly pricing out low income tenants as soon as unit switches tenants.

So that's my "analysis" part. Here's my commentary:

Because the rent controlled units will eventually increase to luxury apartment market rates on tenant turnover, those apartments are NOT affordable housing. The city better try and get some BMR (below market rate) units in the project, in addition to the rent controlled units, to address housing affordability crisis. I personally would not support this project without some true housing affordability measures inserted. And this is despite this development helping my property value, ease parking, etc.


Limit Car Usage
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2018 at 12:13 pm
Limit Car Usage, Old Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2018 at 12:13 pm

> How about the 405 new families that will need 1-2 cars each since there is no local public transportation?
> More low-income housing is good but... we need investment in transportation infrastructure to improve current traffic problems before we add more cars.

If someone is actually low-income, then one car should suffice from a feasible economic standpoint (i.e. fuel costs, auto insurance, DMV registration etc.). Unless of course some still elect to operate multiple 'clunkers' that from a safety standpoint, shouldn't even be on the roads.

SamTrans and possibly VTA should consider expanding bus routes into EPA to relieve traffic congestion and parking concerns OR simply follow the Palo Alto transportation model where bicycles are encouraged.

Parking will always remain a municipal problem. For those fortunate enough to procure cost-effective housing, live with one less car. Many do.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 2:13 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 2:13 pm

I have practically no knowledge of the public transportation facilities to this particular area. However, East Palo Alto has many private buses running for Facebook to all points.

We can see that Facebook, Google, Apple and others are very efficient at providing an efficient service for their employees.

It seems to me that Sam Trans, VTA and other regional, public agencies are inept at providing efficient services for the public. Perhaps FAANG companies should be approached to organize a combined service that will be open for the public at large rather than the plethora of private service buses just for employees.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 2:26 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 2:26 pm

EPA should make sure that this new development has adequate parking for residents, and, for visitors, and then, eliminate street parking for interlopers. EPA should also make sure that this combination project will pay market rate property taxes.

Many complain that this isn't and won't be BMR/low-income. They are correct. But, at least it will protect existing residents, and, at least it isn't office space.


Aquamarine
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 3:04 pm
Aquamarine , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 3:04 pm

You have to laugh at Limit Car Usage's smug bossiness. Once again: These aren't low income units. This isn't low income housing. Your finger-pointing dictates don't apply.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 4:21 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 20, 2018 at 4:21 pm

Posted by Limit Car Usage, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> If someone is actually low-income, then one car should suffice [...] Unless of course some still elect to operate multiple 'clunkers' that from a safety standpoint, shouldn't even be on the roads.

I fully expect almost every adult in every unit to have a car. People need to get to work; this neighborhood is far from CalTrain. Add some working high school seniors to that, and you might have 1400 cars to park. The parking should be secure so that riffraff from Palo Alto and Menlo Park can't park their extra Audis and BMWs in the new parking. ;-)

>> Parking will always remain a municipal problem. For those fortunate enough to procure cost-effective housing, live with one less car. Many do.

I strongly encourage anyone who can to walk or ride a bike to work, but, the location of that neighborhood makes a lot of auto commuting inevitable. It will be a drop in the bucket compared to all the other people commuting in from north, south, and east.


EPA Is On the Move
East Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2018 at 6:03 pm
EPA Is On the Move, East Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2018 at 6:03 pm
Hermia
Triple El
on Dec 21, 2018 at 11:29 am
Hermia, Triple El
on Dec 21, 2018 at 11:29 am

@LimitCarUsage
I am a big supporter of public transit, and do what I can to support bike lanes and shuttles, but I think in terms of planning it's dangerous to assume that because people "should" not need a car, we can plan for them not to have one, or one each. Being a good transit supporter can't include telling other people that they can't have, say, a job as a social worker that requires driving all over the valley every day, or that if they do, their spouse can't have a job delivering papers. Lots of people are doing two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Planning which assumes the ideal is a recipe for disaster.


Limit Car Usage
Old Palo Alto
on Dec 21, 2018 at 1:56 pm
Limit Car Usage, Old Palo Alto
on Dec 21, 2018 at 1:56 pm

> EPA should make sure that this new development has adequate parking for residents, and, for visitors, and then, eliminate street parking for interlopers.

Excellent point & here's a possible solution....limit one car stall or one garage space per housing unit with NO PARKING on the streets where all of these new dwellings are to be situated.

In many neighborhoods (including some in PA, EPA, MV and others), there are countless residents who have multiple vehicles parked in their driveways with others cluttering up the streets adjacent to their homes.

Now if someone wants to park cars in their own private driveways, that's their business but having 3-4+ clunkers lined-up in front of one's home (on a city street no less) contributes to visual blight and driver/bicycle safety concerns. Besides, a sizable number of these vehicles are often non-operational or not even roadworthy and simply having a current DMV tag is not a license for free parking.

So if someone happens to own more than one vehicle in this new housing tract, they can simply pay a bit more to park their additional cars somewhere else (or just stick with one car per housing unit).

As others have stated, this is not going to be low-income housing so the new residents/tenants ought to be able to afford an auxiliary parking space if needed.

It's essentially an EPA zoning issue but if the city wants to look like a used car lot so be it. Bad enough driving through parts of PA and having to witness it.


RV Dweller
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2018 at 10:29 am
RV Dweller, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2018 at 10:29 am

>> an affluent city such as Palo Alto seems to be able to accomodate these RVs so perhaps the ubiquitous proliferation of them is not a critical issue at this time.

Many PA residents don't like us parked in their fair city but the Palo Alto Police Department and the City Council tend to look the other way.

Fortunately the residents have minimal say in this matter as law enforcement and municipal government call the shots.

Besides, as long as we aren't parked right in front of their house why should some of these Palo Alto residents be complaining? Don't they anything else better to do?


Another woodland home owner
Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Dec 22, 2018 at 11:20 am
Another woodland home owner, Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Dec 22, 2018 at 11:20 am

Clearly some fortunate people from PA and MP don't understand what's happening in EPA.

Real low income household does not only share a car, but also share their housing unit with other low income households. Its not uncommon that one housing unit has 2~3 low income family live in side of it. So one unit can easily have 3+ cars.


The sand hill property (owner of woodland park) only grant one parking per unit,even if you want to pay for the additional paid parking, the waiting list is 2 YEARS long!

I have given up on street parking a few years ago, so I support this project since the things cant get any worse than it is today.


One Person = One Car
Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2018 at 1:16 pm
One Person = One Car, Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2018 at 1:16 pm

> Its not uncommon that one housing unit has 2~3 low income family live in side of it. So one unit can easily have 3+ cars.

How can that many people (4-12 people) live in one small apartment? isn't this against fire code or occupancy rules?

If so, the number of cars parked in the immediate vicinity should be a dead giveaway.

Since the new housing development is not geared towards low-income individuals and families, a reduction in the number of parked cars on the street should become readily apparent upon its completion...providing that parking limitations are enforced.

There is absolutely no way that one person actually needs two or more cars to survive.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2018 at 1:34 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Posted by One Person = One Car, a resident of Downtown North

>> How can that many people (4-12 people) live in one small apartment? isn't this against fire code or occupancy rules?

--
>> Since the new housing development is not geared towards low-income individuals and families, a reduction in the number of parked cars on the street should become readily apparent upon its completion...providing that parking limitations are enforced.

Back in my salad days Web Link twas quite common for 4 young adults to share a 2-3 BR apartment. The same number of people as 2 parents, 2 children, in fact. It might even be the same number of cars if the two children are teenagers. It is time to stop under-parking these developments (I'm not saying that this one is-- hopefully they are smarter about that in EPA than we are in PA).



One Person = One Car
Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2018 at 2:08 pm
One Person = One Car, Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2018 at 2:08 pm

"It is time to stop under-parking these developments..."

Parking lots, golf courses and cemeteries are the biggest waste of land usage. And in the case of golf courses and cemeteries, the biggest waste of water resources.

While 'under-parking' new developments is a concern, so is having to increase parking spaces just to accommodate even more cars.

While limiting car usage may be impractical for some, limiting car OWNERSHIP in certain designated areas would reduce land waste and curtail car gridlock.

As aforementioned, no one person needs to own more than one car.


@Anon
another community
on Dec 22, 2018 at 2:28 pm
@Anon, another community
on Dec 22, 2018 at 2:28 pm

"How can that many people (4-12 people) live in one small apartment?"

Because it's either cramming in with everyone else to be close to work or commute in from Livermore.


One Person = One Car
Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2018 at 2:37 pm
One Person = One Car, Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2018 at 2:37 pm

> Because it's either cramming in with everyone else to be close to work or commute in from Livermore.

30 years ago I commuted to Livermore from Palo Alto. It was a 55 minute drive.

Is it worse now? I've always detested driving on the 880/680 freeways so occasionally I would motor through the Centerville district (Fremont) and take the more scenic route through Sunol along the river.

I shared a 3BR/2B house in midtown PA with two others. Rent was $1400 a month and my portion was $400 + shared utilities.

I imagine rents in PA have gone up now.

Currently in town visiting my parents who mentioned that the Chinese are now paying $5M+ CASH for homes in select PA neighborhoods. Amazing how the world has changed.


@One Person = One Car
another community
on Dec 22, 2018 at 3:01 pm
@One Person = One Car, another community
on Dec 22, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Commuting to Palo Alto or Mountain View from the Livermore area is generally 1.5 - 2 hours in traffic depending. 55 minutes now would only happen if everything was moving smoothly with no red (which is never the case). Though you were going to Livermore which is currently a reverse commute. The job centers currently are San Francisco, the Peninsula in general (but especially in Menlo Park and Palo Alto), Mountain View, and then places like Santa Clara, and given the regional distribution of jobs and housing, that would generally mean most people are coming in over the bridge from the East Bay (and over from Livermore now as housing becomes still more scarce from the lack of new construction), or from San Jose and even Gilroy.

Rent in Palo Alto is unfathomable. Your main hopes are getting a current homeowner that has a spare bedroom for rent and isn't going to charge you market rent because they're sympathetic to the hardships of those of us dealing with the housing crisis and not shielded by Prop 13 (and at this rate, never will be since it's impossible to even save up to own any kind of property given how high the rents are).

Things like Caltrain do help with this if you're able to luck out into a living situation close to a station, but most of the apartments and rooms for rent near stations are even more costly because of that proximity, and ridiculously underbuilt because god forbid an apartment building get built next to a mass transit station and be visible from someone's backyard.


One Person = One Car
Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2018 at 3:16 pm
One Person = One Car, Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2018 at 3:16 pm

> Things like Caltrain do help with this if you're able to luck out into a living situation close to a station, but most of the apartments and rooms for rent near stations are even more costly because of that proximity.

Wouldn't residing next to the RR tracks be noisy? That in itself should account for a lower rent based on 'quality of life' issues.

Yes. I now recall the reverse commute factor. Looking back, things did get backed up around the Dumbarton Bridge (Newark/Menlo Park) exits.

It seems to me that high-rise (and relatively sound-proof) dwellings could be erected along most of the Caltrains SJ-SF corridor. The lands should be confiscated by eminent domain and developers then held to a certain construction budget constraints. Municipalities as the landlord would be ideal...pay utilities and rent all in one. Eliminate greedy landlords seeking overpriced market rental rates.

These dwellings could also offer various rent ranges and different facilities based on earnings. Rent control would now become a city sanctioned ordinance.

A little bit of socialized management never hurt anybody.




@One-Person = One-Car
another community
on Dec 22, 2018 at 3:55 pm
@One-Person = One-Car, another community
on Dec 22, 2018 at 3:55 pm

"Wouldn't residing next to the RR tracks be noisy? That in itself should account for a lower rent based on 'quality of life' issues."

But it's not like you can really get picky like that. Living next to a station is a luxury because you can completely avoid car traffic and sitting on the 101 or whatever boulevard you're in bumper to bumper traffic in. People stay at their work longer just to avoid that. Being able to take Caltrain means you can have a more stress free commute and at least relax for a second on your phone. There's even a chance that you can give up car ownership entirely (and parking issues) if you're able to live and work within some walkable distance of a station, and just use Uber Pool or ZipCars for the random times that you actually need a car.


Aquamarine
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2018 at 4:11 pm
Aquamarine, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2018 at 4:11 pm

One Person - you can't restrict the number of cars an individual owns. The lack of understanding in your comments is very telling.


R.Davis
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 22, 2018 at 5:03 pm
R.Davis, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 22, 2018 at 5:03 pm

QUOTE: There is absolutely no way that one person actually needs two or more cars to survive.
QUOTE: While limiting car usage may be impractical for some, limiting car OWNERSHIP in certain designated areas would reduce land waste and curtail car gridlock.
QUOTE: One Person - you can't restrict the number of cars an individual owns. The lack of understanding in your comments is very telling.

While one car ownership may seem logical...as Aquamarine mentioned, this type of mandate cannot be enforced. It's like telling a family how many children to have.

While certain types of restrictions may apply in countries like China, such constraints don't fly here in the United States...which is probably why so many expatriates have settled in America.


OZ
University South
on Dec 23, 2018 at 7:06 am
OZ, University South
on Dec 23, 2018 at 7:06 am

That location is within the bounds of an "Opportunity Zone" that gives the developer an enormous tax break.

Web Link

Expect to see more of these projects announced in EPA on the southwest side of the freeway over the course of the next year.


RE Agent
Portola Valley
on Dec 23, 2018 at 10:00 am
RE Agent, Portola Valley
on Dec 23, 2018 at 10:00 am

This is good news. Many of my Chinese investor clients have inquired about redevelopment measures in EPA and the prospects of securing various properties as a long term investment.

My advice to them is to wait until the new housing tracts are completed and then to purchase them in blocs, similar to accumulating U.S. Treasury notes.

I am looking forward to the eventual and gradual redevelopment of EPA.


Wu Shen
Charleston Meadows
on Dec 23, 2018 at 5:43 pm
Wu Shen, Charleston Meadows
on Dec 23, 2018 at 5:43 pm

East Palo Alto is next residential property gold rush.

Palo Alto people don't care because it is different city and they don't want to live there.

East Palo Alto good for absentee owner.


EPA resident
East Palo Alto
on Dec 24, 2018 at 4:53 pm
EPA resident, East Palo Alto
on Dec 24, 2018 at 4:53 pm

Wish Palo Alto residents could get over their obsession to complain about anything related to change/development. We live in an suburban environment, the way some PA residents speak, it's as if they were on a country farm. It's nearly 2019. Get real.

I deal with the same issues as local residents with all the traffic, and no parking because everyone has too many cars. I mostly ride a bike and only have one car. I would be very happy with a raised gas tax, that way maybe fewer people would have 2-3 cars per household. Screw cars and Palo Alto NIMBY attitudes. (Let us park in your city overnight).


Blake Turner
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 24, 2018 at 5:34 pm
Blake Turner, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 24, 2018 at 5:34 pm

> Wish Palo Alto residents could get over their obsession to complain about anything related to change/development.

Agreed. You'd think most of them were residents of Mayberry which isn't all that far from the truth given the petty mentalities surrounding commercial development, railroad crossings, PAUSD/PACC conflicts, car idling citations etc.

Gomer Pyle would be proud.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 26, 2018 at 7:12 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 26, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I think this is the first time I have read an up-front commitment by a developer to not displace current residents. That is exceptional.

@traffic-alert and @But . . . are right about traffic. It is a problem, it arguably affects everyone either directly or indirectly, and it does need to be addressed. Proactively.

Pointing out a concern about a serious problem before it is made worse is NOT complaining. It's smart. The housing deficit is but one problem. Our roads ARE clogged, circulation IS a problem, parking IS a problem, public transportation IS inadequate. Not mentioning these things doesn't mean they don't exist and in the end, doing that isn't even neighborly. It is irresponsible. It is pathetically obvious that our planners and approvers have not imposed sufficient mitigations on development. The result? Our infrastructure is inadequate to demand. And we cannot wish it to be adequate; we have to make it adequate.

Shortly after the Paradise fires a local headline asked if what happened there could happen here. Of course it can. Yet this community of extra smart people continues to stuff buildings and people into a finite space and expect that all will be well. I appreciate the so-called complainers. Without them, there might be an even bigger mitigations deficit.


Aquamarine
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2018 at 11:49 am
Aquamarine , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2018 at 11:49 am

Annette, it's not exceptional of the developers, it's the law. What's exceptional is that city officials continually have demonstrated their care and concern by implementing laws to help prevent displacement. The exceptional aspect by the developer is trying to figure out how to put the renovated units back under rent stabilization.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Dec 27, 2018 at 1:19 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Dec 27, 2018 at 1:19 pm

@Aquamarine - thank you for your comments. I get it. I may be guilty of giving the developer more credit than is deserved, but the impression I get from the article is that making sure the 160 are not disadvantaged by the development plan is a priority.


Member
Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 29, 2018 at 9:07 pm
Member, Palo Alto Hills
on Dec 29, 2018 at 9:07 pm

What schools will the additional students attend?


Mark Weiss
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 31, 2018 at 8:43 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 31, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Two factors that were in previous reporting on this deal, here and in other media:
One, former Palo Alto assistant City Manager Steve Emslie took an executive position with this SHP-affiliated entity, which seems to be called Euclid Improvements. Two, it's a partnership on some level between SHP and the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi (UAE).
I have no idea how that affects the additional residents other than the fact that the Saudis and UAE like to invest in Silicon Valley land, as part of the New World Order.


Akeisha
East Palo Alto
on Dec 31, 2018 at 9:43 pm
Akeisha, East Palo Alto
on Dec 31, 2018 at 9:43 pm

> the Saudis and UAE like to invest in Silicon Valley land, as part of the New World Order.

That means EPA could eventually become a fancier city than Palo Alto. Many investors from the Arab world often develop elaborate hotels and resorts with modern airports.

It will be interesting to watch East Palo Alto become a major city and possible tourist destination.


Newell Resident
Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Feb 28, 2019 at 10:20 am
Newell Resident, Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Feb 28, 2019 at 10:20 am

It is great to see rent control units being replaced (with rents kept at their current level for the residents that can come back to those units) in addition to the badly needed housing that we will get.

I live at this apartment complex (ither side of University) and my neighbors and I can't wait till they replace the units in my old building. I would love a brand new unit at the same rent - are you kidding me!!

I hope this doesn't get delayed


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