New Apartments Proposed at Wellesley and College

An article in Friday’s Palo Alto Weekly describes a new apartment building proposed for the corner of Wellesley and College Avenue in College Terrace. The project by San Francisco-based Cato Investments would house 24 units in a three-story apartment building on two side-by-side lots at 2239 and 2241 Wellesley St. Today, both lots contain single-family homes.

The developer is applying under Palo Alto’s Planned Home Zoning (PHZ) designation, which allows developers providing affordable housing to request exceptions to development standards. Eligible developments must offer at least 20% of the project to below-market-rate units. The project would also require exemptions for parking, height, and setback requirements.

A project website – WellesleyHousing.com – lays out the developer’s vision to provide missing middle housing in a walkable neighborhood close to public transit, in a part of College Terrace that already contains multi-family housing. The developers plan to hold a community meeting before the City’s formal pre-screening of the project, although there is no date set for that community meeting yet. There is also a link on the website for a community survey, but it isn’t active yet either.

We’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available. In the meantime, we recommend reading the articles in the Weekly and San Jose Inside, as well as the project website.

CTRA Meeting on Teacher Housing Proposal at 231 Grant Ave.

On Wednesday, December 2nd at 7pm, the CTRA is hosting a community information meeting on the proposed development of teacher and school employee housing at 231 Grant Avenue. This is across the street from the county courthouse, just a couple blocks off California Avenue.

Micaela Hellman-Tincher from Supervisor Joe Simitian’s office and Sarah Chaffin from the Mercy Housing and Abode Communities Team are excited to share details about this development and answer any questions. They’re looking for community feedback as the development process begins.

The meeting will be held via Zoom. To RSVP, email ctra-president@collegeterrace.org. You’ll receive a link to join the event before it begins on Wednesday, December 2nd at 7pm.

231 Grant Avenue Proposal: An Overview

Mercy Housing California and Abode Communities are working in conjunction with the County of Santa Clara, represented by County Supervisor Joe Simitian, Facebook, the City of Palo Alto, and participating school districts in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties to develop new housing on a county-owned site. The property, located at 231 Grant Avenue in Palo Alto, offers an exciting opportunity to create new high-quality, and much needed, rental housing affordable for teachers, school employees, and their families. This new community will include approximately 110 units of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, amenity spaces, and landscaped gardens.

Commitment to Community Involvement

231 Grant is in the initial phase of engaging the surrounding community. Mercy Housing California and Abode Communities are committed to incorporating the local community into the development process through meetings with neighbors, neighborhood associations, and local leaders, as well as public meetings and regular written and electronic communications. In addition, they are collaborating with local teachers and school employees from San Mateo and Santa Clara County School Districts, including Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View Whisman, Mountain View Los Altos, and the Foothill-De Anza Community College District. In observance of health guidelines related to COVID-19, Mercy Housing and Abode will solicit community input through virtual meetings, email, regular mail, and the 231 Grant website (in development).

CTRA Observer Reports for January

The College Terrace Residents Association has a group of board members known as “observers” who monitor relevant public meetings and news in their assigned area and then report back to the entire board on pertinent local actions and issues of interest to College Terrace.

California Avenue Business District

Much of the discussion at this month’s CTRA board meeting centered around Khoury’s Market and what neighbors could do to preserve a grocery store at College Terrace Centre. The City is currently scheduled to discuss the issues surrounding the market and the enforcement of fines (if the market does close) at its Monday, February 10 meeting. All interested residents are encouraged to attend that meeting and advocate for the enforcement of the fines and preservation of the public benefit promised as part of the College Terrace Centre development.

City of Palo Alto

At its Monday, January 13 meeting, the City Council approved a program that allows local churches designate up to four spaces on their lots for car campers. At this point, it’s unclear whether either of the churches in our neighborhood will take advantage of it. This is a pilot program that will last for 18 months and the City encourages residents to give feedback as the program gets underway.

We also want to remind people that the City of Palo Alto has multiple email newsletters that residents can subscribe to in order to stay informed. There’s the monthly “Our Palo Alto” newsletter, the weekly “All Things Palo Alto” newsletter, as well as emails devoted to news and annoucements, Caltrain electrification and grade separation, and general transportation. You can subscribe to the newsletters on the City website.

– Margaret Heath

Stanford

General Development

Nothing much to report at this time, but Supervisor Simitian is holding a gathering of GUP “regulars” for a debriefing on January 30th and the first Stanford Community Resource Group (CRG) meeting of 2020 is scheduled for March 12th.

College Terrace Housing Acquisitions & Demolitions

I noted in the Daily Post that Stanford purchased 2090 Columbia Street for $2,400,000 in November.  

Construction continues unabated throughout the neighborhood, both by Stanford and others. 

Stanford faculty & staff housing listings on the web:

  • 1015 Stanford is still listed, despite having been part of a lottery sale in December
  • 2145 Princeton still shows as “Pending”
  • 2040 and 2070 Columbia show as “In Escrow”
  • 610 California (Stanford rental) had a permit for replacement of a tankless water heater

– Pria Graves