Menlo Park loans $2.8 million for housing on VA campus


By Barbara Wood | Special to the Almanac

An apartment complex designed for low-income veterans and Menlo Park residents and workers moved a step closer to reality Tuesday when the Menlo Park City Council agreed to loan the developers up to $2.86 million to help finance the project.

The 60-unit, two-story apartment structure will be built on the grounds of the Department of Veterans Affairs on Willow Road in Menlo Park. The VA is providing the land, valued at over $13 million, at no cost to the developers, CORE Affordable Housing.

There are 54 studio and six one-bedroom units in the building, as well as a two-bedroom manager's unit that will not be part of the low-income program. The complex will help Menlo Park meet its state-mandated obligation to plan for more affordable housing in the city.

Rent maximums will range from $574 to $792 per month, depending on income, with a $35,520 annual income for a family of two as the current maximum to qualify. The city financing is coming from its below market rate (BMR) fund so low-income Menlo Park residents or workers will be given first priority for 11 units. Qualifying veterans who live or work in Menlo Park will be given even higher priority. In the remaining units qualifying veterans get top priority.

CORE had asked for a $3.5 million loan, but they since have received other funding, including $2.2 million from San Mateo County. The city also will loan CORE up to $360,000 to offset any fees the city charges the developer.

Darci Palmer, project manager for CORE, said the development is the only one currently planned for VA property in Northern California. The company hopes to start construction this fall, she said.

"I think this is a great project," said Councilmember Kirsten Keith. The vote approving the loan was unanimous.

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Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I am concerned that the proposed housing project at the Menlo Park VA facility may not give absolute preference to veterans. The proposal simply states "The primary mission of the project, from inception, is to serve Veterans who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness."

Absent a guarantee that veterans will always have priority for this housing the justification for the VA's gifting of the land for the project might be called into question.

Like this comment
Posted by JL
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Developers and west LA city council are trying to do the same to the VA land in Brentwood west LA.
They are trying to displace veterans to develop the site.
More info can be found on Google.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I have determined that Veterans WILL get absolute priority in this project:

"The VA and developer will comply with the Fair Housing Act and fill Willow Housing with Veterans by creating a marketing plan that generates a full pipeline of Veteran applicants, and selection criteria that prefers Veterans. Also, 35 HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers have already been allocated to the project, which ties 35 Veterans to just as many units."

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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