After seeings its plan for a housing complex on Maybell Avenue collapse in a referendum last November, the Palo Alto Housing Corporation has completed the sale of the 2.46-acre site to a Cupertino-based buyer, Golden Gate Homes LLC, county records show.
Candice Gonzalez, executive director of the Housing Corporation, declined to comment on the buyer or the details surrounding the terms of sale, citing her organization's "obligation to the buyer per a confidentiality agreement." She confirmed, however, that the terms were sufficient for the Housing Corporation to recoup its costs for buying the site.
"Our goal was to be able to pay back all of our lenders and recover our significant carrying costs, which we have been able to achieve with this transaction," Gonzalez said in an email to the Weekly.
The Silicon Valley Business Journal reported the purchase price at $22 million, well above the $15.6 million that the housing nonprofit paid for the site in December 2012. The price is also significantly higher than the $18.7 million Palo Alto officials had projected the site to bring in when they last discussed it in December.
The Housing Corporation, a nonprofit that develops and manages affordable-housing complexes throughout the city, has received several loans to make its purchase of the old orchard site around Maybell and Clemo avenues. It was planning to build a 60-unit complex for low-income seniors and 15 market-rate homes, a number that was later reduced to 12. Though the council unanimously approved the proposed housing development in June, the decision was later overturned by voters in a November referendum.
Palo Alto had loaned the nonprofit $5.8 million for the purchase and council members agreed in December not to demand immediate repayment of the loan.
Tim Wong, a Palo Alto city planner, said the escrow on the property sale was closed on Friday and the Housing Corporation repaid the city's loan on Monday.
The site zoning designation, R-15 (with a small portion that is R-2), makes it likely that the orchard could see an influx of housing, though proponents and opponents in last year's Measure D referendum reached different conclusions over how much housing it should accommodate. City officials have said the site's zoning would accommodate between 34 and 46 housing units, depending on the number of units the developer chooses to devote to affordable housing.
The Santa Clara County clerk's office lists the grantee in the April 25 transaction as Golden Gate Homes, LLC, an entity with a registered address on Stevens Creek Road in Cupertino. The agent for the corporation is listed as Yurong Han. The address listed for the corporation on the Secretary of State registry places it in the Pacific Business Center. When reached by phone, a receptionist at the center could find no record of either Han or the Golden Gate Homes in the business complex.
Even with the transaction complete, the Housing Corporation isn't celebrating.
"We remain disappointed at the loss of a very rare opportunity to build 60 affordable senior housing units in Palo Alto," Gonzalez said in an email.