Palo Alto housing project is slated to help middle class

PALO ALTO — A developer is planning a small residential project in Palo Alto that the company hopes will chip away at one of the mountainous problems in the Bay Area’s housing crisis by building homes for the middle class.

“We are trying to address the missing middle,” said Cynthia Gildea, a project manager with Cato Investment Group, the project’s developer.

The 24-unit development, if approved by Palo Alto officials, would sprout at the corner of Wellesley Street and College Avenue in Palo Alto.

The developer hopes to target people making 80% to 90% of the area’s median income.

“Teachers, firefighters, police officers, people who are in middle-income levels are the renters who would live in these units,” Gildea said.

If built, the units could have a monthly rental cost ranging from $2,250 to $2,500, based on income and affordable housing guidelines posted by Santa Clara County officials in April 2020.

Apartment rents in and near Palo Alto can be in the range of $4,000 a month.

The Wellesley Housing development would consist of studios and one-bedroom units, all for rent, according to Gildea.

The project is located two blocks from Stanford University and two blocks from the tech and biotech hubs at Stanford Research Park. Because the development site is in the College Terrace neighborhood of Palo Alto, a grocery store, retailers, and restaurants are nearby. A Caltrain stop is about 0.7 miles away.

“The area has many multi-family apartment units, which means our project will blend into the neighborhood,” Gildea said.

The proposal arrives at a time when the Palo Alto City Council has already signaled it favors more housing development and less office development in a quest to narrow the chasm between jobs and residential units in the tech hub.

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“Palo Alto continues to have a high jobs-to-housing ratio,” a staff report prepared for a June 2020 City Council meeting stated.

And the city could fall further behind in its efforts to balance jobs and housing levels. Palo Alto has struggled to meet its internal targets of construction of 300 residential units a year.

“At the current rate, the City is not on target to meet its expressed Comprehensive Plan goal of producing between 3,545 and 4,420 new housing units between 2015 and 2030,” the staff report stated.

The project will replace two single-family homes with 24 residences.

“We are proposing the type of development that the city of Palo Alto is literally asking for,” Gildea said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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