Palo Alto, Calif. (July 16, 2018) – Sand Hill Property Company (“Sand Hill”) announced today the hiring of current Palo Alto Housing President and CEO Candice Gonzalez as Chief Housing Officer and Managing Director. Gonzalez’s hiring signals a strong shift toward housing for the developer, best known locally for their efforts to spearhead Vallco Town Center, an innovative revitalization of the Vallco Mall in Cupertino, and as the owner of the stabilized Woodland Park Apartments in East Palo Alto.
“Candice brings unparalleled expertise in the local housing market,” said Peter Pau, Principal and Founder of Sand Hill. “We look forward to Candice’s expertise as we look to grow our housing portfolio through our company’s commitment to increasing housing supply and creating more affordable housing opportunities,” said Pau.
Gonzalez joins Sand Hill after serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Palo Alto Housing for over 10 years. Palo Alto Housing develops and manages affordable residential properties. Currently, they manage more than 700 stabilized units and have another 600 in various stages of production.
“I am so proud of what we have achieved as an organization and I am confident they will continue to do great things for our housing needs,” said Candice Gonzalez. “After serving over 10 years, it was the right time for a change and for new challenges.”
“Peter and I share a commitment to creating an impact on the housing affordability crisis for all income levels and it is that shared commitment that makes this such a good fit,” continued Gonzalez. “Sand Hill is already combating the crisis by the sheer number of affordable units proposed at Vallco Town Center, and I am thrilled to be part of this and future housing projects.”
Sand Hill has increased its interest and activities with mixed-use and housing properties over the past decade. In March, Sand Hill announced it would be utilizing a new state law called SB 35 to apply for Vallco Town Center, a proposed project in Cupertino that includes 2,400 housing units, 50% of which will be deed-restricted affordable. Currently the project is on track to receive building entitlement through the laws streamlined process in late September and its representatives have said they will start construction immediately after.
Sand Hill also has a substantial stabilized portfolio of rent-controlled multifamily housing through its affiliated company, Woodland Park Communities. It is the largest provider of rent-stabilized housing in San Mateo County, and operates over 1,800 apartments, duplexes, and rental homes in East Palo Alto.
“The Bay Area’s housing crisis has been caused by the decades-long failure to build an adequate housing supply,” continued Pau. “Report after report has shown how this failure to address housing is placing tremendous strain on our economy and our quality of life by exacerbating traffic, pushing people out of the communities where they live and forcing long commutes. We believe the solution to these main challenges is to increase housing supply at all levels of affordability. We know Candice will support and lead Sand Hill’s effort to develop more mixed-use, standalone housing, and even some 100% affordable housing developments.”
Gonzalez’s hiring was applauded by the housing advocacy community.
“We simply don’t have enough housing in the South Bay, and the crisis caused by this undersupply is the largest driver of poverty, displacement and homelessness in our communities, “said Leslye Corsiglia, Executive Director of SV@Home, a policy and advocacy organization that champions “housing for all.”
“Addressing the Bay Area’s staggering housing issues requires a sustained and consistent effort to significantly increase the supply of housing affordable for households of all incomes, while ensuring that residents have an opportunity to remain in the communities where they grew up,” said Corsiglia. “We’re excited to see Candice join Sand Hill and believe that Candice’s deep roots in affordable housing and Sand Hill’s commitment to building housing will effectively take on this challenge.”
Gonzalez was born in the Philippines and immigrated to California with her family when she was four years old and spent some of her childhood living in affordable housing. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UCLA School of Law and worked as a real estate attorney before joining Palo Alto Housing in 2008. Gonzalez has also been the recipient of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce 2016 Athena Emerging Professional Award and the Silicon Valley Business Journal 2017 Women of Influence Award.
Beyond the proposed Vallco project and the stabilized operation of Woodland Park, Sand Hill’s housing portfolio also includes the recently completed 120-unit Main Street Cupertino Lofts and the proposed 800 apartment mixed-use project at North First Street in San Jose.
Sand Hill has an active charitable arm, the SHP Foundation, which is focused on preserving and creating supportive housing opportunities for very low-income households and homeless residents, and is active in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Alameda Counties. These properties include Hotel California in Palo Alto, and other buildings across Redwood City, Daly City, San Francisco and Newark.
Palo Alto Housing’s board will be overseeing the search for a new CEO. Gonzalez will transition to her role at Sand Hill in early September.