By the Daily Post staff
East Palo Alto’s largest landlord, Woodland Park Communities, announced plans today (Dec. 19) to tear down 160 rent-controlled apartments and replace them with 605 apartments in buildings between four and eight stories tall.
Significantly, all of the current tenants will be relocated to similar buildings in the same neighborhood during construction and then be allowed to return to apartments in the new buildings, also at their same rent-stabilized rents, the company promised.
“We are unequivocally committed to no displacement,” said Mike Kramer, chief investment officer of Woodland Park.
Along with increasing the number of apartments, the proposal will also increase parking to approximately 620 spaces.
The new development will be located north of the University Circle-Four Seasons Hotel and west of Highway 101. The development will have 160 rent-controlled apartments and 445 that will rent at market rates.
The buildings that currently make up Woodland Park are all between 50 and over 100 years old which puts them at “the end of their useful life,” the company said in a statement. “They were built before the city of East Palo Alto was founded, to now-outdated building codes, and were not well maintained by the previous ownership.
Woodland Park is owned by Sand Hill Property Co., headed by Peter Pau. The company’s chief housing officer is Candice Gonzalez, who headed the nonprofit Palo Alto Housing Corp. when it attempted to build a senior housing development on Maybell Road that was stopped by a referendum in 2015.
“Constructing new rent-controlled homes is relatively unprecedented in the industry, but it is vital that we protect current tenants and preserve affordability,” said Gonzalez in a statement. “The core principles that inform our plans are no displacement, having a community informed plan, creating better parking and mobility, and constructing safer, healthier buildings.”
Sand Hill’s projects include several office buildings in and around Stanford Research Park and the redeveloped Edgewood Plaza. The company has now pivoted to focus more on housing and one of its first acquisitions was Woodland Park, with 1,800 apartments in East Palo Alto.
The project needs to be approved by the city of East Palo Alto. Woodland Park is promising “ongoing community engagement,” which means regular meetings with the Euclid Avenue Improvement Area tenants group, community updates and meetings and establishment of an advisory committee.
A proposed schedule Woodland Park released yesterday anticipates the project would be completed by 2023. The project would be submitted to the city for approval in 2020 with construction beginning in 2021.
The proposed development includes the following addresses:
2012 Euclid Ave.
2021 Euclid Ave.
2025 Euclid Ave.
2031 Euclid Ave.
2032 Euclid Ave.
2036 Euclid Ave.
2040 Euclid Ave.
2041 Euclid Ave.
2042 Euclid Ave.
2043 Euclid Ave.
2044 Euclid Ave.
2054 Euclid Ave.
501 O’Connor St.
2001 Manhattan Ave.
2033 Manhattan Ave.