News

City, Stanford officials celebrate grand opening of Mayfield Place

New complex brings accessibility, sustainability to its residents

A view of the outdoor courtyard area at Mayfield Place as seen from a resident's balcony on the second floor. Photo by Veronica Weber.

A new residential building on El Camino Real may just look like any regular apartment complex, but walk past its tall red door and you will find a safe, accessible and affordable community.

Mayfield Place was ushered in as the newest affordable housing development in Palo Alto on Thursday during grand opening with officials from the city, Stanford University and developer Related California.

Segue Construction Inc. started building the project, designed by David Baker Architects, in 2015. The three- to four-story building includes 70 one- to three-bedroom apartments priced between $1,000 and $1,700 per month for families that earn between 50 and 60 percent of the area median income.

The grand opening comes after nearly 12 years after Palo Alto and Stanford signed the Mayfield Agreement, contracting Stanford to build 250 units of housing on two sites in the Stanford Research Park. Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff said that the only failure of the project was that "it didn't happen sooner."

According to Scharff, one of the challenges in bringing affordable housing to the Palo Alto community is the price for the projects.

"The rents are low so you cannot pay for the cost, so you have to get large sums of (money)," he said. "And then you have to go through the approval process, you have to get land, it has to make sense."

Mayfield Place became a possibility through a partnership between Stanford, the community and companies including Related California, Segue Construction and California Municipal Finance Authority.

"It really serves as a model of how private entities can work with the city for the common benefit of the people," Scharff said in opening remarks at the event.

The approval process was smooth — a majority of residents expressed enthusiasm about the project. Results from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group's annual "Silicon Valley" poll released this week found that 73 percent of voters in Santa Clara County support cities building affordable rental housing for those earning less than $100,000 a year.

Scharff added that Mayfield Place "not only cuts down on traffic, but allows us to understand each other and live together in a diverse environment."

Previously, residents had voiced their concerns about the project, including the long-standing argument over the traffic problems that would affect California Avenue from the addition of a few hundred more cars on the road.

Mayfield Place addresses those concerns by providing residents with EcoPasses, which allows them to ride the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus system for free and by servicing the Stanford University Marguerite Shuttle in the site. Additionally, Mayfield Place "is a very short distance from the Caltrain station, helping to reduce trips," according to Stanford Director of Asset Management Tiffany Griego.

Talitha de la Cruz, who has been a resident of Mayfield Place for three months, said that she has been searching for affordable housing for more than five years. She was about to move her family out of state when received she submitted an application to live at Mayfield Place, where prospective residents go through a lottery selection process.

An employee at Stanford, she decided to apply because her commute from Sunnyvale could take up to an hour and she hoped her three children could could enroll into the Palo Alto Unified School District.

"I feel extremely blessed to have all of the many benefits of living within this community within a wonderful school district and in a 10-minute commute to work," she said at the grand opening.

Mayfield Place is also home to approximately 7,000 square feet of retail and the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which was previously housed in a commercial building where Mayfield Place now stands. The nonprofit serves Santa Clara, San Mateo, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties.

"This is really a dream come true for Vista Center. We are so fortunate to be able to stay here at a time when rents are skyrocketing and nonprofits are really challenged to stay on the Peninsula at all and be viable," Vista Center Executive Director Pam Brandin said during the grand opening.

"Vista Center is so grateful to Stanford and Related California for making this location available to us for the long term so we can continue to provide vision-loss rehabilitation services to an ever-increasing number of people. We are especially happy that clients can easily use public transportation to come to Vista Center," Brandin said.

The public can view the Vista Center's new offices, located on the ground floor at 2500 El Camino Real, at an open house on Friday from 1-4 p.m.

Related content:

Stanford unveils Mayfield housing project plans

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Comments

22 people like this
Posted by Great News in Theory, But not in Actuality
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 30, 2017 at 10:40 am

Unfortunately, no one is mentioning that the General construction company for Mayfield Place had its license revoked by the state of CA in April, 2017. Web Link

And, most of the housing at Mayfield Place did not go to people who work or live in Palo Alto needing a place to live. Many long term Palo Alto residents were rejected from living in the housing. Just an FYI


21 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2017 at 11:33 am

It is the one note about this wonderful below market rate housing that is very disappointing - it is housing mostly people who were not and are not living or working in Palo Alto. Our city council worked out an agreement years ago so that Stanford got development concessions and could build market and below market rate housing - we certainly thought for people who lived or worked at Stanford or Palo Alto as Palo Alto Housing Corp Housing does. These units went to those anywhere in the area. I am happy for them but it does little to help our towns housing situation for our most vulnerable residents.


8 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jun 30, 2017 at 12:44 pm

The Mayfield Place website says Palo Alto workers and residents were given priority.

Please investigate the claims made by the previous posters and determine if their is any validity to their comments.

Please print the data on which they base their claim, so everybody can judge for themselves.


4 people like this
Posted by Housing is a W***e
a resident of Mayfield
on Jun 30, 2017 at 1:01 pm

I have met two Palo Alto families ( renters) who tried to get into this complex and were denied, supposedly due to "insufficient income". However, both of these families would be paying less for these apartments than for the houses they are currently renting.

As they say is the real estate biz, " It's for sale to the highest bidder".


1 person likes this
Posted by Palo Alto Parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 30, 2017 at 1:12 pm

The Mayfield site says priority is given to people who are "Displaced or are threatened to be displaced from housing in Palo Alto or if the applicant currently lives or works in Palo Alto"

Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by Great News in Theory, But not in Actuality
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 30, 2017 at 3:18 pm

I know several people who live/work in Palo Alto who were rejected. One is a 73 year old homeless gentleman who was quoted today in The Daily News. He had rented in Palo Alto up until the year 2010. His wife died, and he could no longer afford to live in regular market rate housing. He has been living in an RV. He was rejected by Mayfield apartments because he had no current rental verification, i.e. he is homeless. Secondly, he had a paid and released state tax lien on his credit report, which after July 1, 2017 might be eradicated due to new credit reporting requirements of tax liens and court records by the three major credit bureaus. Released and paid means it is clear. It is harsh to hold a meaningless credit item showing paid against someone, just because the people evaluating the credit criteria don't understand credit analysis, or are not using objective measurements. And of course, he would not have current landlord verification, he has been homeless since 2010, but he has SSA and pension income to support the rent at Mayfield. The reason to deny him it was said that someone with "bad" credit would tend to not pay their rent. What a bunch of non-sense. And for this, he is turned down, and remains homeless? A Palo Alto resident still. Other Palo Alto people had similar experiences with Related Property Management, the company Stanford partnered with to manage and lease up the property. Most people I know who got housing there, do not live or work in Palo Alto. You would have to contact Related Property Management, or we would need to ask Stanford (Griego) to release the dats to show that people who live or work in Palo Alto received the housing.


3 people like this
Posted by Robert Smith
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 30, 2017 at 4:38 pm

@Great News in Theory, But not in Actuality

While you make a compelling case for this person you know, one must remember that organizations like this have a big problem if they end up with people who don't pay the rent.

The facility charges low rents, which are highly subsidized, and they really depend on steady rents. If someone does not pay, then they either have to eat the costs or to evict that person. I am sure you can understand what a trauma it is for a low-income facility to have to evict someone, which will strike the other residents and community members as thoroughly insensitive and immoral.

So their only defense is to look at the credit rating very carefully.

Tough stuff. But it is always driven by economics to some degree regardless.




8 people like this
Posted by It's Real
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 30, 2017 at 5:51 pm

My son and his family were rejected. They have been on a waiting list for 4'yrs for BMR housing.

With three jobs and long hours between them, and two small kids, they make $140,000 in a good year.

They were told they made too much $$$, even though they have been sharing a house in PA for eight years!


2 people like this
Posted by Great News in Theory, But not in Actuality
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 30, 2017 at 10:21 pm

To Robert Smith, thanks for your feedback. However, if one has paid a debt and it shows it has been released, how can that be an indication the person might not pay their rent? After all, they paid back the state tax, and the amount was just a little over $1,000, not a lot. I would agree with the property management's decision, if the credit report showed on-going late payments for things like credit cards, car purchases, etc. However, the person does not have credit cards or other loans. He simply had a tax bill he could not pay when he stopped working, but he made amends, and paid his debt. The unfortunate thing is that the State and Federal government are allowed to keep the liens on people's credit reports (even when paid) for ten years. That is what is tragic is that people have to carry these marks for too many years, even when they have taken care of the matter. I would doubt that someone who wants a home, has the income and no other outstanding credit would not pay their rent. Going back to live on the streets would be a big deterrent.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident of Mayfield Place
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 3, 2017 at 11:40 am

I live and work in Palo Alto - I am earning 50/60 percent of medium income. I am the head of household of a family of 4. It was a long but rewarding process to get here - I am now a proud and very grateful resident of Mayfield Place. FYI - My husband attended Mayfield Elementary School in the last 6th grade class the final year the school was standing on this site in 1967. So so very blessed to be able to live near grandparents, have a home in a city where my two young children feel safe, included, welcome. This place makes it possible for them to start achieving their dreams of life success. Thank You Palo Alto and Stanford, Thank You Related California, Thank You Seque!!


2 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 3, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Palo Alto Housing (formerly PAHC), will not provide a listing of those in their system who work in Palo Alto (even if names are excluded) ...they say they don't keep a list of it. We will never know who, among the current residents are actual workers/residents in PA. This is just subsidized housing for the general public, and that property will not pay taxes into our system. And our public service costs (schools, police, fire, medical) will be borne by the rest of us.


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