Charities Housing Spearheads New, 129-Unit Affordable Housing Project in Palo Alto

Charities Housing, David Baker Architects, Palo Alto, Second Harvest Food Bank, Santa Clara County
Courtesy of David Baker Architects

By Meghan Hall

In recent months, a number of affordable housing projects have begun the entitlements process, with the latest including a proposal from Charities Housing. According to plans on file with the City of Palo Alto, the nonprofit is hoping to construct 129 new units near the California Ave. Caltrain Station. 

Located at 3001 El Camino Real, the project will total 134,640 square feet. Parking will be included in the project, as will 1,500 square feet of commercial space and 1,300 square feet for offices. Units will be a mix of 20 studios, 40 one-bedrooms, 35 two-bedrooms and 34 three-bedrooms. Apartments will range from 336 square feet to just over 1,000 square feet in all. 

Residential amenities include a community room, as well as a food pantry courtesy of Second Harvest Food Bank and laundry. 17,500 square feet of open space, located at the ground level and on top of the podium, will also be available to residents.

Documents show that like many other developers, Charities Housing is intending to take advantage of the State Density Bonus program, which bypasses certain zoning regulations in favor of higher-density projects. In this case, units will cater to those earning between 30 percent to 50 percent of Area Median Income.

The project will be designed by David Baker Architects. While the project is still in its conceptual phase, renderings show a modern, S-shaped building. The facade of the project will likely be clad in a mix of fiber cement panels, metal screening and wood accents. 

Charities Housing was founded in 1990 as a division of Catholic Charities’ Division of Housing Development and Services. In 1993, Charities Housing was formally formed as an outgrowth of the organization to meet Santa Clara County’s growing need for affordable housing. The mission of the organization, according to its website, is to develop, preserve and manage high-quality affordable housing for low-income individuals. 

The nonprofit’s portfolio includes a diverse array of assets, including the Kings Crossing Apartments in San Jose, Met North, Met South, Paseo Senter at Coyote Creek, Parkside Studios and others. Future communities include Blossom Hill and Page Street, both located in San Jose. 

As of this writing, Charities Housing had not yet returned The Registry’s request for comment.

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