East Palo Alto, Calif. (June 9, 2020) – Last week, Sand Hill Property Company submitted a pre-application for the 6-acre site located at University Avenue and Bay Road, known as “Four Corners.” The proposal envisions 180 units of mixed-income housing, ground-floor retail, community space like a new library and life-science and laboratory space.
“Our plan is not only based on the community outreach we have done for this site, but also the extensive community meetings and input that was gathered during previous City-led planning processes,” said Mike Kramer, Managing Director at Sand Hill Property Co. “We wanted to build a space that can serve all East Palo Alto residents in terms of its community spaces, retail opportunities, housing, and employment opportunities,” said Kramer.
In March, the EPA City Council discussed creating a new library with the San Mateo County Library staff and directed staff to consider a range of locations to replace the current, outdated facility. Sand Hill has expressed interest to City staff to consider this Four Corners location – across from the existing library – for a new, larger library.
Besides the potential library, the site will include other community spaces such as a new town square and central plaza. The plans also include ground-floor retail spaces throughout, especially along Bay Road.
The life science and laboratory space is intended to create a wide range of employment opportunities for local residents.
According to the property owner, they have held two community meetings with over 300 participants and are holding a third virtual community meeting which was launched on Friday, June 5 and will be available for the next two weeks. The virtual meeting includes a video on their website www.UniversityandBay.com, downloadable resources, and asks participants to fill out a feedback survey after the video.
The East Palo Alto General Plan, which was finalized in 2017, was developed through a robust outreach process in which residents and community groups were engaged through community meetings, public town halls, focus groups, and neighborhood workshops. The mixed-use designation at the University and Bay site allows for “multi-story mixed-use buildings that have retail stores or community facilities on the ground floor, with apartments or condominiums on upper floors.” Sand Hill’s proposal is fully compliant with the EPA General Plan and its development guidelines.
Sand Hill Property Co is also the owner of Woodland Park Communities, which is one of the largest providers of rent-stabilized, workforce housing and serves over 1,800 families. In their first four years owning Woodland Park, Sand Hill has increased parking, replaced the security company, hired more bilingual staff, opened a resident services office and two technology centers, opened two pop-up parks, and hosted more than 30 community meetings and listening sessions. In 2019, they submitted a development application for the Euclid Improvements, a proposal to replace outdated buildings with new rent-controlled and mixed-income apartments with no displacement.
Last year, Mayor Ruben Abrica, who is a resident of Woodland Park, recognized Woodland Park Communities and Sand Hill Property Company in his State of the City address.
“I have seen that [Sand Hill] has tried to restore the trust between management and the tenants, they have addressed more directly issues of parking, of maintenance, of security, and they have also done additional activities for the children and for the families,” said Abrica in his address. “Thank you very much for being a good example to all landlords in how they should treat their tenants and work with the community.”
The City Council recognized Woodland Park Communities with a proclamation for “its effort to improve relations and services to tenant families.” “I’ve seen a professionalism by the management team that has really helped raise the quality of life for the residents of Woodland Park,” said Councilmember Larry Moody. “One of the things we certainly have seen over the past 2-3 years, is not only have they done a great job of addressing the issues for the tenants, but they have also made a strong commitment to integrate themselves into the affairs of the city.”
Sand Hill Property Company is a local real estate investor and developer based in Palo Alto, and is focused on providing high quality spaces that fit the community and the greater region. Sand Hill develops, owns, and operates properties with a long-term perspective and is active from San Francisco to San Jose, with a particular focus on mixed-use development.