Stanford buys Redwood City apartment complex

Stanford has purchased this apartment complex at Franklin and Monroe streets to serve as housing for its employees and students.
Stanford has purchased this apartment complex at Franklin and Monroe streets to serve as housing for its employees and students.

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

Stanford has bought a 175-apartment complex at Franklin and Monroe streets in Redwood City from Greystar Development to serve as housing for employees and postdoctoral students.

Because Stanford is a non-profit, the Elan apartment complex will contribute less or perhaps nothing to the city, county, local schools and other agencies that receive property taxes. For the city, the hit will be about $100,000 a year. Its impact on the schools wasn’t immediately available.

Stanford in a statement said it will work with both Redwood City School District and Sequoia Union High School District on ways to “expand opportunities for students and educators.”

Redwood City School District decided to close four schools last November due to shrinking enrollment, which led to decreased funds. The school district receives money from the state based on the number of students enrolled and how many show up to class.

City Manager Melissa Stevenson-Diaz told the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in September that the city could lose up to $100,000 yearly in tax revenues if the building is taken off the property tax rolls.

Stanford is offering 138 of the apartments to Stanford employees or students. The other 37 apartments will be deed-restricted for people who earn between 50% and 80% of the area’s median income. That means a family of four who earns between $80,600 and $129,150 a year can apply to live in one of the 37 apartments.

Since the project is about a 10-minute walk from the Redwood City Caltrain Station, Stanford intends to have most of its tenants walk to the Caltrain station to catch the train to Palo Alto, or take the shuttle to Stanford’s 35-acre campus at Douglas Avenue and Bay Road. When Stanford built its Redwood City campus, it provided no additional housing.

Stanford has already re-named the apartment complex at 1 Franklin Street from Elan Redwood City to The Cardinal Apartments.

Leaving campus

This isn’t the first time Stanford has purchased an apartment complex off campus. In 2015, Stanford bought a 167-unit apartment complex called The Colonnade at 4750 El Camino Real in Los Altos, across the street from the San Antonio Shopping Center.

“It did represent a significant impact on our city,” Los Altos City Council member Anita Enander told the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in September. “Not only did that take $60 million of assessed valuation off of the books to affect our city’s taxes and our schools, but that in fact, Stanford has in excess of $100 million of property in the little tiny city of Los Altos that is exempt on the tax roll.”

Enander’s testimony came during hearings the county was holding on Stanford’s request for a permit to build 3.5 million square feet.

Stanford later withdrew its request for the permit four days before the supervisors were to decide how the university should mitigate the impact of its project on housing, traffic and other concerns.

While Stanford has withdrawn the permit application, it continues to build 215 apartments and office space at 500 El Camino Real in Menlo Park and is seeking permission to build 27 homes and 12 apartments near the Alpine Inn in Portola Valley.

Stanford is also buying up single-family homes. Palo Altan Pria Graves, the College Terrace Residents’ Association’s Stanford Observer, said in a Post guest opinion piece last year that the university had purchased 30 homes.

“Once the university owns these properties, they are only available to Stanford employees and will never again be accessible to the rest of the public,” Graves said in the opinion piece.

15 Comments

  1. If Stanford is going to take this much housing out of the community, it should be required to replace it, unit by unit. Of course Redwood City council won’t do a thing. They’re absolutely useless.

    • Making the GUP so impossible to pass that it had to be pulled will precipitate a lot of housing grabs like this. I’m not sure lack of NIMBYism was the problem.

    • I appreciate your comment. Taking housing off the market is a sensitive subject.
      The available housing will be consumed by people living in Redwood City – likely at a discount to the market.
      Ultimately the goal is to have enough housing for everyone. The only way to get there is adding additional units to the market – just just moving them around.

  2. Yet another attempt by the community to somehow put Stanford in a bad light. Stanford is attempting to solve the jobs/housing imbalance by providing housing to Stanford employees near where they work. Imagine the benefits of Stanford staff living and working in the same town they work in. If you work close to your job, you reduce vehicle miles traveled to your job, which lessen their carbon footprint. Isn’t that a good thing? Doesn’t that reduce all sorts of impacts on the community? Daily Post and Stanford bashers: Please show me another major employer who is providing housing for their employees? (Sound of crickets.)

    • ‘Major employers’ do pay by different rules. They property taxes that support local schools, for example. This building would have paid property taxes if owned by Facebook, Google or a private developer.

      It’s an acute issue for Redwood City kids dependent on local funding. As a non-profit, Stanford doesn’t pay and makes no additional effort to financial support local cities where they set up shop. Ironic for such a benevolent, altruistic top-notch University.

    • Stanford is benefitting from public transportation and roads paid for by tax dollars. They are hoarding resources and not paying their fair share. When one organization has that much power it is next to impossible to oppose their agenda. Sure, they can step back but then they just hire more lawyers and throw more money at it and get what they want – with no input from the people who live here.

  3. Kenny W. Ive been saying this for quite some time now. San Carlos city council is the same way. Everything gets a rubber stamp. Public held city council meetings are useless as the city council only votes on what serves themselves not what the citizens want. I see the same thing happen in Redwood City. You want change ??? Vote them OUT!!

    • Are you planning on running instead? It’s so easy to chant “Vote Them Out” but who are you planning to run in their place? That sort of “vote them out” without a qualified replacement gave us Trump.

  4. As sad as this is to say, serves RWC right. These days the city council is blindly focused on filling every square inch with ridiculously sized apartment skyscrapers, they didn’t anticipate a non-profit purchasing the complex and taking money out of their pockets. Let’s stop all this apartment building/construction nonsense and focus more on what people want – low crime, low traffic/congestion, and a reasonable approach to new development.

  5. What people want is affordable housing. The City is trying to accommodate as mandated by state law. Stanford is not taking anything away from Redwood City. It is investing in redwood city. The people that will live there will be local citizens. They will be earning good incomes and supporting local businesses. That impact should be mentioned. The NIMBY folks want to keep these cities in the past like a nostalgic postcard but the city is a living breathing thing that will expand and contract as the market dictates. I don’t like the excess traffic but I’m also the cause of that traffic like all of us. As for schools, there is a lot of tax money being generated. If a school district is running a deficit it is because of poor management not lack of funds.

  6. Stanford should get a free ride when it comes to school taxes because, as a university, they admit all local kids as under grads. And it’s not like you have to bribe anybody to get in there.

  7. A lot of the homeless people that sleep in their cars are actually construcción workers that come from souther California, San Diego and Los Ángeles due to the high paid jobs in construction. Just look at I5 traffic anytime including on weekend.

  8. Stanford is benefitting from public transportation and roads paid for by tax dollars. They are hoarding resources and not paying their fair share. When one organization has that much power it is next to impossible to oppose their agenda. Sure, they can step back but then they just hire more lawyers and throw more money at it and get what they want – with no input from the people who live here.

  9. Stanford owns 100’s of acres of land around the University. Many of which are located right along
    Hwy 280. They should build there on their own land which they hoard ! By claiming non profit they don’t pay taxes So if we let them take away housing to hoard for their employees all other needy residents loose out. Actually, our County gets denied much needed tax dollars and our schools get nothing either. RWC Needs to take care of its own residents who try to live near where they work. This is becoming impossible for all our service workers. They can’t afford to live here !! RWC City Council needs to say NO to these mega corporations who can afford to pay their fair share but choose not to contribute to they community under the shelter of “ Non Profit “.
    If you believe Stanford doesn’t make a profit open your eyes and look at their assets ! So Sad

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