Affordable housing project pitched for former Mike's Bikes site | March 4, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 4, 2022

Affordable housing project pitched for former Mike's Bikes site

Charity Housing proposes 129 apartments for low-income residents at 3001 El Camino Real

by Gennady Sheyner

Palo Alto's effort to encourage more new affordable housing received a welcome boost Monday, when a developer proposed constructing 129 below-market-rate apartments on a Ventura site that was formerly occupied by Mike's Bikes.

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Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at [email protected]


Posted by TuppenceT
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 1, 2022 at 12:37 pm

TuppenceT is a registered user.

Affordable housing is very welcome at this location, but why the depressing Gulag color?

Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2022 at 1:30 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

Wonderful to see a proposal that is ALL affordable housing! (Not like the shameful Maybell proposal that was majority for a for-profit development and only a fraction of the units in the "affordable" side were in this low income range.)

Who is Charity Housing and why hasn't the City worked more with them before?

My only comment is that people don't really use puzzle lifts because they are so inconvenient (and the safety issue). But I appreciate the line they're trying to walk to be sure the parking is provided. If the project itself is honestly portrayed (again, bad memories of that with Maybell), this should be a welcome addition and model for other projects going forward.

Posted by Carl Jones
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 1, 2022 at 2:26 pm

Carl Jones is a registered user.

Some questions I'd not thought of before. I assume that the non-profit will own the buildings/property once completed? And that they will be the landlords? What insures that the properties will continue to be rented at the percentages that are indicated? And that the units will not be sold? What happens if the non-profit owner goes out of business or dissolves? Under what circumstances and conditions might the property/buildings be sold to another organization? Suppose one cannot be found? (remember the at-least-two building projects that promised/required a grocery store tenant and one could not be found?) I don't mean to indicate that I am opposed to this, but I do now wonder about what language is written, by whom, and where is it embodied that details all of the constraints and restrictions? I don't recall that being discussed before.

Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 1, 2022 at 9:58 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@ Carl Jones

Great question. As I understand it, financing for low-income housing like this (and the above-referenced Maybell Project) requires that the non-profit’s deed to the property be restricted so that the housing must remain affordable to low income renters for a 55-year period. Even then, the housing can only change status to market rate upon certification that there is no more need for the affordable housing the project provided. In essence, affordable housing in perpetuity.

This is not the case for projects like the Terman Apartments on Arastradero. They are owned by Goodrich West, a privately-owned real estate company based in Culver City that has a contract with HUD to accept Section 8 rent subsidy vouchers on some of the units. There is no guarantee that the project will not be converted to market rate housing at the end of a contract period if the owner decides to do so. That possibility came up several years ago, but participation in the Section 8 program was renewed. Not sure for how long.

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2022 at 12:07 am

felix is a registered user.

@shameful - fact correction!
Totally wrong about Maybell having been planned for more market rate housing than below market rate.
It was to have 60 units of BMR deed restricted apartments for seniors. And 12 or 16 market rate houses built and sold to help finance the 60 BMR apts. as is sometimes done elsewhere.
Instead we got 16 single family homes priced at around $5 million each.

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