FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why are Mercy Housing California and Abode Communities pursuing this development?
In February 2019, the County of Santa Clara issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) “to create a high-quality educator workforce housing development at a central location in Palo Alto.” The County was seeking to support local school districts and their teachers and staff, whose incomes are generally not high enough to afford market-rate rental or sales prices. This housing development would assist the districts in their retention and recruitment efforts, as well as facilitate educators and staff living within the communities in which they work.
In keeping with their common mission to create stable, vibrant, healthy residential communities, Mercy Housing and Abode Communities responded to the RFP and were later selected by the County. Their partnership brings extensive experience in mixed-income, multi-family development and operations, and in the creation of school district supported educator workforce housing over their combined 90 years of real estate and community development efforts.
What is the planning process for this development?
The 231 Grant site is on County of Santa Clara-owned property but lies within the incorporated area of the City of Palo Alto. The County will serve as the lead agency for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and as the approval authority for the development. In addition to CEQA’s required public notice and comment procedures, the County plans to hold meetings in Palo Alto to respond to questions and seek community input. The County Board of Supervisors is responsible for making the required CEQA findings and granting final approval. If approved, the project plans will be reviewed by the county building official who will review the plans for compliance with state building codes and review and approve the various building permits.
To stay up to date on the next steps for the county process, sign up for emails on the county website at sccgov.org/231grant.
How will teachers and school employees, as well as residents of the neighborhood and the broader community, be involved in the planning for 231 Grant?
The Study Session presentation to the Palo Alto City Council on February 8 was the kick-off for our more extensive community outreach activity. A series of design workshops will be offered to stakeholders and future residents through this website, neighborhood mailings, and e-mail. We look forward to further engagement as the planning proceeds.
Who are the architects working on this development?
Van Meter Williams Pollack is an award-winning architecture and urban design firm based in San Francisco, Denver, and Minneapolis. VMWP specializes in affordable housing, mixed-use and market-rate housing, master planning, and land use and zoning standards that help communities accommodate change.
VMWP takes a comprehensive and innovative design approach. We integrate client needs into sustainable design solutions that address climate resilience, and social and economic equity, to create beautiful, inspiring communities and places for people to live and thrive.
VMWP has served the Bay Area for over 30 years and has built over 3,000 affordable apartments. Recently completed housing developments in the Bay Area include:
Colma Veterans Village, affordable veterans housing
1680 Mission Road, Colma, CA 94103
Eagle Park, affordable housing, reserved units for veterans who have experienced homelessness
1701 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View, CA 94040
Victory Village, affordable senior housing
2626 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Fairfax, CA 94930
Hana Gardens, affordable mixed-use senior housing with community services
10860 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 94530
1101 Connecticut, affordable housing
1101 Connecticut Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Mural at MacArthur BART Station, affordable transit-oriented housing, mixed-use
3838 Turquoise Way, Oakland, CA 94609
Who will be the management agent for this residential community?
Mercy Housing Management Group (MHMG) will be the management agent for the property and is committed to providing quality property management services that reinforce the philosophy that all residents deserve respect, dignity, and a place to call home. Staffing ratios will be determined as plans are further developed.
Currently MHMG manages a total of 328 affordable housing developments nationwide, 148 properties in California, and 48 properties in San Francisco. Much of the San Francisco portfolio has been managed since the early 1990s. The average length of management per property across the San Francisco portfolio is over 13 years. MHMG manages 71 family properties (2739 units) throughout California.
Who are the anticipated residents of 231 Grant?
This new housing community is intended for Santa Clara and San Mateo County teachers, school employees, and their families. The selection criteria, application process, and other resident policies are not yet determined.