By Meghan Hall
As developers plan for the future, underutilized lots are gaining attention from prospective buyers–even if they are unentitled. In a deal that closed in June, a transit-oriented development site in Sunnyvale sold for $12.5 million, according to sources familiar with the transaction. The property is located at 1171 Sonora Ct., and the buyer of the property was MidPen Housing.
The site totals 1.3 acres and is currently developed with a low-rise commercial building constructed in 1976. It is currently occupied by Tech-Star, an electronic repairs company.
MidPen intends to build 220 units on the site, but does not yet have entitlements. It intends to call the development “Sonora Grove” and pursue the project with Leland Stanford Junior University. The community will be geared towards helping families, domestic abuse survivors and seniors.
“At Sonora Grove, families and seniors experiencing hoemelssness feel a renewed sense of safety, belonging, and opportunity through independent living and shared community services,” state project documents. “We offer family-friendly, accessible apartments, as well as amenities to support education, livelihood, lifelong learning, and joy with fellow residents.”
To cater to both communities, MidPen has designed two separate buildings. The buildings will rise nine stories in height and will be connected by a central courtyard. The building that caters to families and domestic abuse survivors will feature two- to three-bedroom apartments and community spaces. These units will cater to those earning between 30 to 60 0percent of area median income (AMI). The building that will serve seniors will be a mix of studios and one-bedroom units.
The courtyard will feature a playground, community garden and bench seating. Building amenities will include a technology center and computer lab, library and homework room. A fitness and recreation center, as well as a multipurpose room, are also planned.
For both buildings, MidPen estimates that the development will cost about $117 million to build. For the multifamily units, the per-unit price tag comes to about $656,000, while the senior units will cost about $391,000 per unit to build. The project will be financed using a number of strategies, including tax credits, construction loans, grants, and a nearly $15 million contribution from the City of Sunnyvale.
MidPen is moving full steam ahead with its plans and hopes to have entitlements in hand by the third quarter of 2022. Construction will begin immediately after and is expected to take 18 months, with completion slated for 2023.