Elaine's Neighborspace

List of housing approved or built in Palo Alto since 1997.

Monday, April 14, 2014

For an updated version of this list see http://paloaltohousing.blogspot.com

Housing Development in Palo Alto

Our city government is projecting a Palo Alto population by 2030 that is lower than the 80,000 assumed by ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments). Our population now is a little over 60,000. But these projections determine the amount of housing increase that will be allowed.

The city has a Comprehensive Plan that permits moderate growth, but the plan has been circumvented in two ways. First, the City undercounts projects by a method I'll explain in a bit. Second, the City has approved hundreds of residential units more than the plan permits, even by their own count. The City was supposed to approve only 2,400. (See also an earlier message, below the table.)

My housing table below shows over 3,700 units that have been built, or are expected to be built in the foreseeable future. I ran it by the City's Planning Department and they kindly marked it up to show the differences between it and their records. I appreciate their doing this, and it led to my understanding of how the undercount works.

Here's how it works. The City only counts units both approved and built during 1997-2010. So if a project was approved before 1997 but built later, it isn't counted. For example, the Alma Place low-income development was built in 1998 but approved before 1997, so its 106 units are not counted. Other projects have also crossed that time boundary.

The City also doesn't count a project if it is approved during 1997-2010 but will be constructed after 2010. That means it can approve many developments now, as long as the developer agrees not to build before 2010, and so it isn’t counted. It is possible we will see a building boom in 2010 that will dwarf what is going on now.

Below is the updated housing list, including a column showing projects the City isn't counting under the current Comprehensive Plan.

SUMMARY North South Total
Built 1552 895 2447
Projected 605 678 1283
Total 2157 1573 Grand Total 3,730

Multi-Unit HOUSING DEVELOPMENT in Palo Alto 1997- 2010
by north / south -- December 2009

NORTH of Oregon - Approved, Built, or Under Construction


Hyatt Senior Housing 600-620 Sand Hill Road 454 11/04/97
Stanford West Apartments 600 Sand Hill Road 628 11/04/97
SOFA/Summerhill Downtown blocks SOFA1 111 2001-02
Opportunity Center (mixed/SRO/apts) 33 Encina 89 3/03/03
Sunrise Senior Living 2701 El Camino at Sheridan 81 6/21/04
800 High 800 High Street 60 3/03/03
Oak Court (affordable housing)
825-827 Ramona St.
435 Sheridan Ave.
8-lot subdivision/single family homes 500 Los Trancos Rd 8 1/01/01
Page Mill Court 2700 Ash St 24 4/17/97
Hayes Group 1795; 1805 El Camino; mixed use 2 and 2 units 4 10/04/05
OAK Shadows
Live-work units
2051 El Camino; mixed use.
1865-1869 El Camino
Sub-total 1552

NORTH of Oregon - Projected Status Units City Does
Not Count
Stanford Mayfield sitesCalifornia Ave & 2450-2700 El Camino Upper California Ave (180)
El Camino (70) can start before 2010 if Stanford decides but city does not count


195 Page Mill Road + 2825, 2865, 2873, 2891 and 2901 Park Blvd.
Courthouse Plaza
Approved by City Council Nov 20'06. 3-story mixed-use. Litigation has been filed against the owner and the city re project EIR. Hohbach changed apts to condominiums 6/07.Project is being resubmitted.


Eden Housing NEW
801-841 Alma
-will not develop before 2010; originally 53 units; 3/09 changed to 2 bldgs, total 96 units; July 2009 reduced to 50 units. Approved Nov.9,2009 50 ?
CSAA building & Surgery Center400 & 430 Forest Zoned multi-fam, but now commercial; will not develop before 2010 39
Stanford University NEW
Stanford Avenue____________________________

Stanford Ave x El Camino
265 Lytton (
former Spago restaurant)
37 single family homes

29 townhouses for athletic staff, 2008
M. King; mixed use; office and residential


Edgewood Plaza -2080 Channing Ave
Embarcadero Road NEW
SandHill Property Co
Plans will be made known when they are ready; iJan.'07 developer said will build 18 units;
Aug. 2008 plans are for 25 units. No action since Nov.'08;
Nov.09 plans for 10 single family homes


Birch Plaza 305 Grant Ave,2640-50 Birch St., and 306-320 Sheridan Ave NEW
Medical office1515 El Camino
Mixed use; office and 8 residential units

Zoned multi-fam, but now commercial; will not develop before 2010




350 Forest NEW 11/08 9
College Terrace Center -JJandF Market2180 El Camino NEW In process; full block; PC requested; 14 BMR; reduced to 8 BMR 14? 8?
575 Middlefield
420 Cambridge Ave
Convert office to residential. i(was 6)


102 University Circle
643 Homer Av. NEW
165 Hawthorne NEW
370 Lowell
385 Sherman
687 Cowper NEW



Small projects,
335 University (1);
936 Bryant (3);
644 Forest (2);

325 Lytton(1)
449 Addison (1)
342 Hawthorne(3) continued -
969 Lawrence (2);
739 Webster (1);

455 Webster (1);

586 College (1);
455 Forest (4);
334 Hawthorne (2);





SOUTH of Oregon - Approved, Built, or Under Construction Address Units Approved
Hyatt Rickey’s (Arbor Real)
170 condos & town homes plus
11 single-family on Wilkie Way
4219 El Camino Real
D.R. Horton developer
181 12/05/05
Taube-Koret Campus for Jewish Life 901 San Antonio Road senior residential ;PC 193 9/11/06
Bridge Housing (BUILD)901 San Antonio Road 103 for-sale town homes (CJL total is 352)
56 senior affordable residences;rezoned PC
159 9/11/06
Montage Apts 4020 El Camino (at Los Robles) 46 4/17/97

Classics at Driscoll Place (townhomes) 4100-4120 El Camino 26 6/29/98
Trumark (multi-family units) 1101 & 1010 E. Meadow (being built) 75 8/06/05
Trumark (condos) 928, 940, & 1180 E Meadow (being built) 76 8/06/05
Wisteria Lane (townhomes) 579 Vista Ave 6 3/05/98
Rank Tech (mixed-use/apts) 4131 El Camino 8 11/20/02

Single family homes 515-518 Georgia 3 6/21/99
Classic Communities-Sterling Gardens 3270-90 W. Bayshore; single-fam + townhomes 96 6/19/06
Old Pro 2825-2865 El Camino 3-story,mixed use 2 7/06
525 San Antonio Single family homes 10 7/01/02
Glenbrook Dr 4290 El Camino Real 14 Built
Sub-total 895

SOUTH of Oregon – Projected Status


City Does
Fry's340 Portage Ave Zoned multi-fam, but currently commercial; Will not develop before 2010; city is trying to keep this site commercial. 374
Mayfield Mall NEW
200 San Antonio Road
Single and multi-family 45 units in Palo Alto; owned by HP developed by Toll Brothers; approved 2/9/09.
436 adjoining units to be built in Mtn View
Elks property "Redwood Gate"4249 El Camino Real NEW SummerHill 45 + Juniper Homes 5 50
Alma Plaza NEW
3445 Alma Street
37 individual homes plus 14 Below market rate apts. Approved Feb.2009; design review pending 51
Palo Alto Bowl NEW
4301- El Camino
Rezoned commercial; 4/3/07;application for new hotel and 26 housing units; approved Dec.14,2009 26
Summerwinds Nursery4151 Middlefield at San Antonio Rezoned commercial; 4/3/07 0
Mayflower Motel 3981 El Camino Rezoned commercial; 4/3/07

2785 Park Boulevard Being considered for police building; applied for PTOD 50
Tree House NEW
488 W. Charleston Rd.
1072 Tanland
Below Market Rate apartments (was 30)
Approved 3 /16/09
Additional units at an existing apt complex


4146 El Camino Empty lot; will not develop before 2010 12
Alanna Townhomes872-876 San Antonio Rd 9-unit townhouse condominiums 9
Curtner Court 382 Curtner 3
797-807 Matadero
897 Barron Ave
433 West Meadow -- Calif. Communities
720 La Para


Sub-total 678
Data collected by Elaine Meyer emeyer3@gmail.com

We're Just a Town That Can't Say No

Palo Alto just can't say No to new residential development.
Every project that comes before its governing bodies waxes poetic about its own virtues, the city brushes a tear from its eyes, and says OK. And the numbers keep growing. But the consequences of this building spree to the city's already-overstretched infrastructure are serious.

Why does it matter?

In 1998, following a long and involved process, the city adopted a Comprehensive Plan which is "the primary tool for guiding the future development of the city." (pg. 1)

The Plan’s Environmental Impact Report’s (EIR) established that Palo Alto could absorb 2,400 new housing units during the period 1997-2010. If it exceeds that number, the city must adapt [before approval] to the impacts the increase would cause - to schools, parks, traffic, and to that elusive quality of life we value.

We’re In a Terrible Fix...

Recently, serious concerns have been expressed about classroom shortages, traffic congestion, crowded parks and libraries. Parents don’t like having to transport their children across town daily. Some families bought a home near a school so that their children could attend it.

Neighbors are impinged upon when permission is routinely granted to exceed the zoning height limits, reduce setbacks, and reduce required light planes (design rules that protect a home from interference with daylight.)

Many projects ask for, and receive a DEE - a 'Design Enhancement Exception' which is invariably applied to making a structure bigger. There’s no room for irony when big money is involved.

Below is the current list of housing projects which I compiled from numerous sources. For projects not yet under construction, I used their projected numbers, which sometimes change modestly during the planning process.

Just When I Oughta Say Nix!

By my count, almost 4,000 new residential units have been built, or are well along in the planning stages, even though the City’s Comprehensive Plan says the city can only absorb 2,400. Nothing in the approval process is slowing down, in fact, complaints by developers about how long it takes has sped it up.

This list does not include Stanford housing projects, individual homes, commercial properties, or projects that have not yet applied for approval, or been revealed to the public. Sheri Furman kindly assisted in organizing this material. I appreciate receiving any corrections or omissions.

-Elaine Meyer