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New plans surface for 27 University Ave.
Original post made
on Jan 21, 2014
A year after Palo Alto pulled the plug on a proposed office complex near the downtown train station and committed to more public participation in planning for the site, the rules of the game are once again shifting for 27 University Ave.
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posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 5:19 PM
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Posted by Greenacres
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm
Let's not rehash the whole election issue again, shall we? Maybell was a terrible place for senior apartments. If you think WF is such a terrible place to shop, you should know that it's where PAHC was advertising as the nearest grocery in their funding application at Maybell. And guess what? They were listing that same PAMF location near University as the local medical center, after the Planned Parenthood (for seniors).
But now that we are talking about 27 University, let's explore a little bit about why that's a PERFECT place for seniors, not just low-income seniors, but a real senior development. And since ANY office square footage that goes into this town is going to end up requiring us to put in housing, why shouldn't we require any large office development to simply find a place for ALL of the housing allotment we'll be forced to take, make it part of a mixed-use design our Council is so in love with? That way, the designers will have something other than the sky's-the-limit to consider against the size of their developments, and they have to deal directly with the consequences of their design decisions.
Being next to the main transit hub for the city gives seniors the opportunity to be completely mobile and travel to all parts of the bay area, cheaply, by bus, train, shuttle, and even bike, just steps away. Have you ever heard of Avenidas? Seniors can get low-cost or free meals there, and community, enrichment, classes. That's downtown, steps away. Downtown is full of life and energy. Stanford has lectures, music art, theater -- seniors already volunteer to pass out programs to see these events free, but often they are low cost or free for seniors anyway. The campus is lovely to walk around, too, and there is the Cantor Museum. PAMF and Stanford would be moments away. Where else do you think seniors are getting their medical care around here? (Ever heard of Medicare?) There is a wonderful farmer's market downtown, and a Trader Joe's quite near. (Where did you think the seniors were going to get their groceries at Maybell? The application was saying Whole Foods and Walgreens! Well, they have those downtown too, only closer and you don't need a car or a walk on a substandard street without a sidewalk to get there.) But actually, being right there with transit means virtually any shopping or recreation near transit is then available to them.
The location is so good, having a real senior center instead of just apartments that segregate low-income people and would have required moving out of when people became frail (as at Maybell), would attract people of all incomes, thus making the whole project more financially viable in the long run. Some of the full-paying seniors will end up destitute anyway, better to just have a full senior center where (like at Channing House) it's possible to provide for those people with dignity so they can remain where they are. May I remind the Council promoted the increased safety that comes with seniors - it's real, and it would mean the business center could benefit from the additional 24-7 life and security.
The neighbors asked for just such a process, a working group to problem solve and examine ideas and options. Here the Council invites students in from Stanford to do essentially the same thing for 27 University (I'll bet there's no affordable or other housing), but refused to do so at Maybell, even though some of the same people against the overdevelopment at Maybell were involved in a working group a few decades earlier that saved the local middle school site and resulted in the affordable housing being built at the same time.
Now who's being a NIMBY? Greg Schmid says there were plans to put some low-income senior units on the top of Lytton Gateway, and when someone said, "You mean, those seniors are going to get those views?" they took it all off and paid the in lieu fee (probably why Council was pushing so hard to push those units on Maybell).
I'm told that Mrs. Arrillaga was a big advocate of low-income senior housing - it sure seems like just considering it as part of an idea exercise would have been more than appropriate.