By Julia Ingram
On Feb. 14, Stanford announced that it would contribute $1 million to the Saint Francis Center to assist in the purchase of 25 housing units for residents at risk of displacement in downtown Redwood City. This contribution is part of the ongoing effort to increase affordable housing units in the region.
The purchase allows current tenants of the Benedicere Apartments, located at 780 Bradford Street, to remain in their homes at their existing, lower rental rates. This is part of an effort to eventually convert all units into affordable housing for low-income tenants while existing residents vacate their units. Current tenants will also be able to qualify for affordable housing rates.
“Stanford University’s investment in St. Francis Center will help low-income families for decades to come,” Redwood City mayor Ian Bain told Stanford News.
Redwood City’s website reports that they have produced a total of 769 units of Below Market Rate units to date. Redwood City has assisted with the rehabilitation of 2,800 homes owned or owner occupied by low-income residents. The city currently has 13 affordable housing projects under construction, 10 more approved and 11 proposed, according to the site.
Stanford’s contribution to Redwood City’s affordable housing effort is part of an ongoing effort to address regional housing efforts as set out in their current General Use Permit (GUP), which was initiated in 2000 to govern the University’s land use policies through 2018.
Under the current GUP, the university contributed $26.1 million to Santa Clara County’s affordable housing fund, which has funded 286 units of affordable housing within a six-mile radius of campus. The University has also contributed to the preservation of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park in Palo Alto. Stanford is set to contribute an additional $11 million during the duration of the permit.
In the application for a new GUP, which is currently being considered by Santa Clara County, Stanford proposed contributing an additional $56 million to the affordable housing efforts in the surrounding area by 2035.
The Redwood City campus is expected to provide more than $15 million in public benefits to Redwood City, including the enhancement of neighborhood streets in Friendly Acres, Redwood Village and North Fair Oaks, improved community sustainability, recreation and wellness, and contributions to the Redwood City Education Foundation.
“From the initial conception of our Stanford Redwood City campus, we made a commitment to being engaged in the life of the Redwood City community, and this investment is an important part of that commitment,” Steve Elliott, managing director for development in Land, Buildings and Real Estate, told Stanford News.