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Stanford unveils Mayfield housing project plans

Original post made on Feb 7, 2013

Representatives from Stanford University presented preliminary construction details of the 17-acre Mayfield housing project on California Avenue at the College Terrace Residents' Association Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday evening.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 7, 2013, 12:58 AM

Comments (43)

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Posted by housing for who?
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 7, 2013 at 9:16 am

Is this housing reserved for campus employees? Low income housing? Or available to the general public?

I have no problem with more campus housing since homes near school reduce car usage. Selling these homes to the general public will dramatically increase car traffic in a pedestrian-heavy area.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 7, 2013 at 9:28 am

Why was this presented to the CTRA first? Stanford has an agreement with the city for this. Naturally CT will try to leverage this to get money/concessions from Stanford or the city. They are good at that.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2013 at 9:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Another great move by Stanford. Thank you.

What other organization provides ANY housing for its employees and 'customers'.


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2013 at 9:51 am

Peter Carpenter, falling all over himself to worship Stanford, once again. How amazing it is that Stanford with 9000 acres can do what others without that kind of acreage can't. How wonderful it all is, even if Stanford workers aren't going to be the ones living there.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:05 am

The City of Palo Alto signed onto this project in 2005 when they signed the Mayfield Agreement. PA got to lease Page Mill/El Camino (a plum location) for a park, and agreed to Stanford's housing projects.

It's done. No brouhaha please, keep the knickers unknotted.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:23 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

What other organization provides ANY housing for its employees and 'customers'.??

The City of Palo Alto has lots of acreage as do a number of larger businesses in the city - why don't they provide housing?


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Posted by Gary Gechlik
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:40 am

Once again, Stanford suggests a home run. Palo Alto needs to work hard to relationship build with Stanford. Standford has sought to reach out, building a campus in NY, occupying a Cancer Center in Los Gatos.

The most important relationship in Palo Alto is not simply Stanford. Simply, the most important relationship is serving the families that live in the city of Palo Alto. These families make great sacrifices and incredible investments to raise their children right. You have to understand that these parents have options. They could relocate to Los Gatos, Saratoga, or Cupertino, where the schools are great, and life is very simple and straight forward. Los Gatos has Vasona Creek Park and Oak Meadow Park, and Palo Alto cannot compete with this unique riparian resource. For this reason, Palo Alto has to focus on competitive advantage. Stanford is a team player and attracts hard workers as well as stars.


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Posted by clarification?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:42 am

Sorry, can someone please clarify: is this housing to be leased to Stanford affiliated persons, or available for sale to the general public? And expected timeline for completion? Thank you.


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2013 at 10:46 am

Why does Stanford provide housing?


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Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:08 am

Does anybody know where the "El Camino site" is located?


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Posted by housing for who?
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:23 am

Stanford has always provided some amount of housing for students and professors. There are lots of good reasons for doing this.

Selling, renting, or leasing housing to people not affiliated with the university needs to be much more carefully regulated.


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Posted by Article
a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 7, 2013 at 11:38 am

This is ON TOP of a superfund site. No wonder Stanford may allow non faculty to live there. They had to put astro turf on the playing feilds there. Its HIGHLY toxic HP site. Look at the cancer stats for faculty wives at Stanford.


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Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm

As stated last night, and for the first time publicly, the 180 market rate units on 17 acres in Research Park adjacent to "upper" California Avenue (i.e., 70 single-family and 110 three-to-four story attached housing units) will be exclusively for Stanford.

The remaining 70 units on El Camino will be very, low income housing eligible for federal funding and which the city will administer.

The statement made at the meeting that 180 units is "fewer than initially planned" is inaccurate. Via the agreement, Stanford has both the vested right and the requirement to build 250 units. On a project of this size, 20% of the units (50 in this case) needs to be set aside for below market rate units.To be eligible for federal funding for very low income units, a special plan for 70 was included. The city wanted the 70 very, low-income units, and Stanford wanted the balance of 180 on upper California to be at market rate.

Last night's presentation to the CTRA was part of Stanford's promised outreach to the neighborhood during the design and implementation stages, which was expressed in 2005 when the Mayfield Development Agreement was approved by the city council.


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Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

The El Camino site is the three commercial building between Wells Fargo and Bank of America and the area behind that is part of each lot; it grand total, less 2 acres.


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Posted by Ree Dufresne
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

The Property is on the corner of California Avenue and El Camino where Wells Fargo Bank, etc. now stands. The two Buildings will be razed as their leases with Stanford expire.

Since it will be Residential development with a Park & Library as opposed to an "Office Complex" it is expected to generate much less traffic to the area.

There have been so many developers proposing "Office Space" in Palo Alto, I cannot fathom how the city will be able to even get close to ABAG housing requirements.

Does anyone at City Hall look at the ramifications of "adding office space" when we can't even satisfy the units required at the present level of folks employed in Palo Alto.




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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm

What? What? Library?

Another library in Palo Alto to add to the five we already have?


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Posted by Curious about impact on schools
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Local schools are already WAY oversubscribed (causing a myriad of problems for Palo Alto I won't get into here). No more room at the inn! Was this taken into account? Where will these families' kids go to school? Why does Stanford or any developer think they can keep building homes when school sites are fixed?


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Rumor has it that within 10 years Stanford plans to have a student body 20-25% larger than today's so it may need more faculty and more faculty housing. Will this housing be like the Olmsted Terrace housing, necessary to vacate within 10 years of going emeritus?


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Posted by Bob Moss
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm

The comment that this area is over a Superfund site is not quite correct. The limit of the toxic plume is slightly northwest of El Camino and Grant where TCE concentration in ground water is 200 micrograms/liter. Maximum considered acceptable is 5 although that may be reduced in the future. Homes along California Avenue would be at low risk. Those along El Camino past the present Wells Fargo site could be at risk of TCE vapor intrusion and must be protected. All housing units built there MUST have vapor barrierts and subslab ventilation to protect against TCE vapor intrusion.


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Posted by Scusi
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Is this Palo Alto City land, or Stanford University land? By the location, it sounds like Palo Alto, and if so, what is Stanford doing there?


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Is this Palo Alto City land, or Stanford University land?"

It is land owned by Stanford which has been, by Stanford's agreement, annexed into the City of Palo Alto. Most of the Stanford lands are in the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm

When was it annexed into Palo Alto? What else is annexed into Palo Alto? The Stanford Shopping Center? The Hoover Pavilion Hospital, the "SHC" itself (originally "PASH" - Palo Alto Stanford Hospital)? Oak Creek and Stanford West? Yes, to all the above, probably.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Stanford has followed the policy of annexing its land into the city whenever that land is being developed for commercial purposes.. The Hospital was annexed into the city when it was originally built and the city was actually a part owner of the hospital.


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Posted by Bigger and bigger
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Someone described Stanford as metastasizing. Sounds right.
Like their endowment.


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2013 at 9:12 am

Bigger and bigger communities in some places, ghost towns or near ghost towns in others-- seems like that's what we face now. This project is part of Stanford of course being in the favored sphere and having to be always bigger. The result of the country being divided this way is that no place will be as appealing as it once was, and probably there won't even be as much of a sense of one country. Maybe it won't even be one country.


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Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:51 pm

This site is NOT near El Camino -- it is from near Hanover to the End of California.

It is a much better site for housing than offices. The neighbors should appreciate not having workers clog up their neighborhood, as Facebook did..

The city got soccer fields out of this deal, so no complaining from Johnny-come-latelys.


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Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Clarification to my last comment - there is a small parcel at El Camino involved but the major part of the development is from Dartmouth to the end of the street. This is the area shown in the picture.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:39 am

> Stanford has followed the policy of annexing its
> land into the city whenever that land is being
> developed for commercial purposes..

True, but for reasons that benefit Stanford. Police and Fire Suppression/Emergency Response need to be provided by someone. By allowing these properties to be annexed—those responsibilities fall on the City of Palo Alto's taxpayers, who end up effectively subsidizing Stanford's operations.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:46 am

If these residential units end up with more than a few children, then the cost of educating those children will be more than the property taxes generated by these properties--if in fact these properties actually are not tax exempt.

For every $10M in assessed value, a property generates $100K in annual taxes. Of this $100K, about $45K goes to the PAUSD, and about 9K goes to the City of Palo Alto. With the cost-per-student expenditures of the PAUSD over $13K/year, it doesn't take many children to burn through the taxes generated by the properties where they live.

Stanford effectively shifts the costs of operating these buildings to the PAUSD taxpayers.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 9, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Police and Fire Suppression/Emergency Response need to be provided by someone. By allowing these properties to be annexed—those responsibilities fall on the City of Palo Alto's taxpayers, who end up effectively subsidizing Stanford's operations."

Wrong - the annexed properties pay taxes and those taxes support the provided services; there is no subsidy of Stanford operations.

Just imagine the impact on the city if Stanford had instead elected to leave the Research Park and the Shopping Center in the unincorporated area of Santa Clara County.

And Stanford is the only local employeer that also provides its own elementary school and which has provided land for a public school.


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Posted by stephen
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Just a quick reminder on the school front: 4 Palo Alto schools sit on Stanford land: Both high schools and two elementary schools.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:16 pm

> Wrong - the annexed properties pay taxes and those taxes suppor
> t the provided services; there is no subsidy of Stanford operations.

Really? And you believe that? Have you ever done a parcel-by-parcel determination of costs vs revenues generated? Didn't so .. until you do .. you're treading on thin ice.

> And Stanford is the only local employeer that also
> provides its own elementary school

And just what school would that be?


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Posted by Stephen
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Schools on Stanford land:
Palo High School
Gunn High School
Nixon Elementary School
Escondido Elementary School


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Posted by Shaun
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

I thought I would take a quick look at this article and accompanying comments, with no real thoughts as to making a comment myself.

However, after reading through them I must make a comment on the overly protective comments of one "Peter Carpenter". It seems he jumps in whenever a non-glowing comment is made about Stanford. Being new maybe someone or even Peter can help me out here. Is he on Stanford's PR payroll ?.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Is he on Stanford's PR payroll ?."

No, I just have a deep appreciation for what Stanford's presence means to the local area. I think that many people fail to realize that without Stanford we would have tens of thousands of more homes, none of the commercial property or sales taxes that come from the Research Park and Shopping Center, no hospital, much less open space, no free shuttle, etc. Sort of like being Gilroy but without the garlic.

In years past I was a graduate student at Stanford and I was also the Executive Director of the Medical Center from 1973-76 but haven't taken a penny from Stanford since. I was also a Palo Alto Planning Commissioner and served 9 years as a Director of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 10, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Stephen's claim about 4 schools on Stanford land doesn't seem to hold water. From what I can tell, only Nixon is on Stanford property. Check out the maps for yourself at Web Link. For what it's worth...


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Posted by Stephen
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 11, 2013 at 9:16 am

Paul - Having been active in Stanford faculty housing issues (although I don't live on campus) and having served on the Community Resources group for the GUP back in 1999 or so, I am quite certain about the fact that the 4 Palo Alto schools I listed are on Stanford land. Indeed I believe that the Paly site was "given" to Palo Alto by Jane Stanford. The only easy online reference I could find was that Larry Horton (who works for Stanford on government affairs) pointed this out at a Palo Alto City council meeting during the GUP discussion - Web Link. No one present then questioned this. I will inquire as to why the map doesn't show the school sites since as everyone knows, the web is the most authoritative source for information....


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 11, 2013 at 11:54 am

And there are also 2 fire stations on Stanford land...


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Posted by Drouhin
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Stanford has entirely too much power in this area. They should stick to education and stay out of real estate and business, as well as politics. They are out of line.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Feb 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"They should stick to education and stay out of real estate and business,"

The Founding Grant does NOT allow Stanford to sell any of their land so if they were to stay out of real estate and business there would be no Stanford Shopping Center and no Stanford Research Park - and Palo Alto would be both economically and intellectual poorer.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I agree with Peter Carpenter that Stanford is an extremely valuable asset in this area. Palo Alto would be a far less prosperous town, without Stanford's selective development of its lands.

I live in College Terrace, and my kids went to school at Esconcidio, which was part of Stanford's holdings, until Stanford allowed a school there. Same thing with at least part of PAUSD.

None of us needs to roll over and play poodle to Stanford, but I think we need to appreciate that Stanford is the goose that lays the golden egg.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 11, 2013 at 8:22 pm

@ Drouhin: As long as it is their real estate, why shouldn't Stanford do what best serves the university?

Part of the draw for top-flight faculty and staff is the ability to provide reasonably priced housing on or near campus.


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Posted by Escondido parent
a resident of Escondido School
on Apr 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Is this housing intended for all staff and faculty who work at Stanford - or just for those faculty qualified to live on campus? If it is just for faculty who qualify to live on campus - do any of them qualify for the below market units?


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