By Nancy Amdur
MidPen Housing will seek a building permit next month for its planned 90-unit affordable senior housing development at 1221 Willow Road in Menlo Park.
The approximately $45 million Sequoia Belle Haven project will sit on 2.26 acres and include 86 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom units, said Nesreen Kawar, a project manager at MidPen Housing. Units will range from 513 square feet to 705 square feet. Construction is slated to begin during the first quarter of 2016 with completion expected in early 2017, Kawar said.
Foster City-based MidPen is redeveloping part of its 130-unit Gateway Apartments affordable housing project—built in the 1960s on the 1200 and 1300 blocks of Willow Road—to create Sequoia Belle Haven. It will boost the number of units on that block from 48 to 90, according to a city manager’s report about the project.
The developer expects the property to help fill a gap in local affordable senior housing.
“There is a very high need for affordable housing targeted to low-, very low- and extremely low-income households within this community,” Kawar said. “According to the City of Menlo Park’s 2013 Housing Element, two-thirds of Menlo Park seniors are cost burdened.” The housing element is a plan created to determine a city’s existing and projected housing needs. Also, market studies indicate that the city’s affordable senior housing communities have waitlists of longer than one year, Kawar said.
Sequoia Belle Haven is the first Menlo Park project to use the city’s affordable housing overlay zoning provisions. The provisions were established to provide incentives, such as density higher than zoning typically allows, to developers who build affordable housing in the city.
All Sequoia Belle Haven units will be affordable to extremely low- and very low-income residents.