As Palo Alto plans for a housing boom on San Antonio Road, a property owner in the area is pitching a proposal to build a residential development for seniors on a site currently occupied by a boxing gym.
The project, which is proposed by Rachelle Cagampan, would replace Mayweather Boxing and Fitness at 824 San Antonio Road with a four-story building that contains 22 dwellings and an eight-bed skilled nursing facility. The residential units would consist of 13 independent senior dwelling units, one owner's unit and eight assisted living units, according to the application.
The development is one of three residential projects eyeing a portion of San Antonio that has traditionally been dedicated to commercial and industrial uses. The City Council has already approved a 102-apartment complex at a nearby site at 788 San Antonio Road. And earlier this month, it expressed support for a 75-condominium proposal at 800 San Antonio Road. Much like those projects, Cagampan's proposal for 824 San Antonio exceeds existing development standards and would require a zone change to get built.
The project's proposed density of 50 dwelling units per acre is higher than the city typically allows and the applicant is seeking to construct the development under the city's recently established "housing incentive program," a zoning mechanism that loosens zoning rules for qualifying residential projects and paves the way for expedited approval.
"The design seeks to take advantage of the recent adoption of the Housing Incentive Program applied to this neighborhood after recent approval of a nearby development on San Antonio, and expand quality housing for a much needed population," the project architect, Leah Bayer of Architects FORA, wrote to the city.
If approved, the 53,885-square-foot building near East Charleston Road would include retail space on the ground floor and an underground parking garage. The ground floor would include a lounge, a library, a gym and a technology room for the building's tenants while the second floor would have the nursing facility and the assisted living units.
Cagampan had filed her application in late 2021 and her team has been refining the proposal, completing the mandated geotechnical and arborist studies and working out the details with the city's planning staff. She resubmitted the application last month.
The project comes at a time when the city is considering zone changes to spur more housing on the eastern portion of San Antonio, close to U.S. Highway 101. On Aug. 22, council members supported including in the city's Housing Element a policy that would allow up to 90 dwelling units per acre at sites along San Antonio that are currently zoned for manufacturing, well above what the city currently allows in any zoning district and far higher than what planning staff had recommended.
The city's housing plan also calls for expanding the Housing Incentive Program, which is currently limited to El Camino Real and San Antonio Road, to other parts of the city and to revise it to add residential builders more incentives. The council also acknowledged, however, that the area around San Antonio faces significant constraints: poor bicycling amenities, no public transportation and a lack of neighborhood serving retail.
In discussing adding housing on San Antonio Road, Mayor Pat Burt said that the city will need to work with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to add a bus line to San Antonio and to collaborate with neighboring Mountain View to make sure that new residential projects on both sides of the border have adequate shopping amenities.
"I'd like to see a good portion of housing in these areas but we can't just drop in big housing buildings and not have the other elements there," Burt said at the Aug. 22 discussion.