Menlo Park: Huge apartment complexes nearing finish


The 3600 block of Haven Avenue in eastern Menlo Park may look like a daunting mass of building frames, but it will soon become home for many.

Two adjacent apartment developments under construction – Elan Menlo Park and Anton Menlo – are set to add a combined 540 housing units to Menlo Park. The developments have begun or will soon begin to lease apartments.

Elan Menlo Park

Elan Menlo Park, located on about 5 acres at 3645 Haven Ave., has started to lease its first 53 apartments, with occupancy set to begin in March.

Fifty-three more apartments will be leased in April and another 40 will become available in May, according to staff at Greystar, the project's developer.

In all, the development will have 146 apartments: 74 one-bedroom units, 66 two-bedroom units and six three-bedroom units.

None of the apartments will be part of the city's "below market rate" program.

Rent is expected to range from $3,365 to $3550 for a one-bedroom apartment, $3,730 to $4,015 for a two-bedroom, and $4,600 to $4,675 for a three-bedroom, according to the project website.

The apartment complex will have a fitness center, a resident lounge and interior courtyards with Wi-Fi, bike storage and maintenance, and a saltwater pool and spa, the website says. It will also have an outdoor area with fire pits, barbecue grills and TVs, and a pet area that measures roughly 50 feet by 10 feet, Greystar staff said.

The development could be for families or employees that work at nearby tech companies, they said. It is located in the Redwood City School District.

The company declined to comment when asked if it had partnered or consulted with Facebook on the project's development.

Anton Menlo

Adjacent to Elan Menlo Park, at 3639 Haven Ave., a much larger apartment complex under construction called Anton Menlo, is expected to complete the first 59 of its 394 apartments in March and will be available for lease then, according to Tony Patillo, director of construction.

The project covers about 10 acres and is expected to contain 35 studio apartments, 208 one-bedroom apartments, 139 two-bedroom apartments and 12 three-bedroom apartments. The apartments range in size from 563 to 1,549 square feet, according to the city website.

Thirty-seven of the apartments will be part of the city's "below market rate" housing program, with 22 for very-low-income renters and 15 for low-income renters.

The project website reports it will have a sports lounge, cafe, pool, spas for pets and people, a bocce ball court, gym, rooftop terrace and chef demonstration kitchen.

Not all of those amenities will necessarily be available when leasing begins, Mr. Patillo said. The project is expected to be fully completed in the fall, and more housing will become available in phases before then.

The development was planned in partnership with Facebook.


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Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 12, 2017 at 2:22 pm

How did the apts. on Haven get approval w/out any BMR?

Like this comment
Posted by Kate Bradshaw - Almanac Reporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 12, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Kate Bradshaw - Almanac Reporter is a registered user.

Curious - Developers of rental apartments cannot be required to contribute to the city's below market rate housing, as the result of what's called the "Palmer Decision" (Web Link). However, the city can offer a developer the rights to build at an increased density in exchange for the developer building below market rate housing, along with other benefits to the city. The Elan/Greystar apartment development did not opt to build at that increased, or "bonus" density level, so it was not required to build affordable housing.

5 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 12, 2017 at 6:49 pm

I was visually appalled and disguested when driving 101 south and seeing a way-too-large monstrous hotel.

It's an assault on nature, and one's eyes.

Mr. Bohannon and our Planning Commission and City Council should be ashamed for their lack of taste and character by putting this eyesore up.

3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 12, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"I was visually appalled and disguested (sic) when driving 101 south and seeing a way-too-large monstrous hotel. "

Oh my god! What did you think of the hotel that got built right next to the freeway at University??!!

Like this comment
Posted by Randy
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 13, 2017 at 7:40 am

Yeah, I went by there yesterday during rush hour - around 4:30- 5 pm. It was a mess (traffic wise), I can only imagine how much worse it will be for people living there, and others who already have to use those routes to get home. Oh well, happy I live on the other side of 101.

3 people like this
Posted by _SupportLocal_
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jan 13, 2017 at 12:36 pm

@KateBradshaw - "The Elan/Greystar apartment development did not opt to build at that increased, or "bonus" density level, so it was not required to build affordable housing."

Considering the lack of affordable housing, I'm shocked there isn't an expectation that ALLLLLL new development seeking ANY approval, variances, or tax incentives don't *Require* affordable housing. Development companies should be black listed, and communities should be warned when certain characters start buying up property. I understand some lawyers think requiring inclusionary housing regulations is not right, but there should be an addendum excluding cities where a housing shortage is extraordinarily high. Why haven't they done this? The bay area has a housing crisis. It shouldn't be an option, it should be a requirement to make room for people. The Greystar development have two other projects in Redwood City...Greystar can afford to do the right thing, which is support the extraordinary circumstances the local community is facing with affordable housing. It is ridiculous that the City elected officials will clap their hands at the 'investment' dollars coming in, and the new number of rental units... but completely miss that these units aren't for the actual people living in the city, but for people moving here. Renter paying $2000 does not equal future renter paying $3700… they are different people.

The truth of the matter is -- in this housing crisis, a lack of requirement or touted low numbers like 15% are not enough to fix the problem. Our elected officials need to buckle their belts and really establish which team they are on... the local people or the businesses. And, you can't be on both.

5 people like this
Posted by Why Affordable Housing Doesn't Get Built
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 13, 2017 at 3:21 pm


The development companies are in it to make money. They will build affordable housing if it is profitable. Frankly, they don't care what they build as long as it makes money and they can build it fast. Time is money.

And it can be profitable to build affordable *if* cities and neighbors let them build it with density. Density is the key. The cost of land in the Bay Area is way too expensive otherwise for affordable housing.

Dense housing means building taller. And therein lies the problem. The NIMBYs always say no. They say there's too much traffic, too much water use, schools will be overcrowded, not enough parking, don't like the architecture, etc.

Eventually, the development company gets the message and builds small. And if the company still doesn't get it, NIMBYs use the city bureaucracy to throw up roadblocks. And if that doesn't work, the NIMBYs sue. And they usually win concessions because time is money. Even frivolous lawsuits take years to resolve. And no development company wants to sit on a piece of land paying interest and property taxes for years before it can even start building.

Google the Palo Alto Maybell development and you will see what I mean. 80% of that development was affordable housing. The city council approved it. Then, the neighbors got together and put the development on the ballot. The VOTERS turned it down. They thought it was too dense and would bring too much traffic to their neighborhood.

The NIMBYs are the hidden lobbying force behind why no major affordable housing is built. Elected officials know this. The development companies know this. The general public doesn't want to acknowledge the problem is really themselves.

The development companies have learned any form of high rise housing is generally a non-starter. So, they build the only profitable housing that can get approved: luxury housing.

4 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jan 13, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

There is hope! Frontpage article in today's Daily Post "Apartments for the car-less" Proposal calls for fewer parking slots and smaller homes. It's referred to as "workforce housing", and is located at ECR and Page Mill. What a novel idea. Will the NIMBY's knock this one out-of-the-park?

7 people like this
Posted by Hans Montoya
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 13, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Maybe the most exciting thing about these projects is that they will be filled with hundreds of potential VOTERS who don't think 3 or 4-story development is the end of the world. Menlo Park elections can be pretty close, so this is big to slowly bring the electorate into this century.

I can't see these new stakeholders thinking that the top city priority should be "protecting property values and convenience for people who bought their house for $13,000 in 1976 and now it's worth $2.4M". That's progress, right?

4 people like this
Posted by NImby
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 13, 2017 at 5:49 pm

We're seeing a lot of poor planning by cities. And they are being pushed hard by developers, and probably want the revenue.

People would be less NIMBY if they saw better planning. As it is, quality of life is suffering as we fail to balance commercial development with residential -- and address traffic/transit, schools, parks, bike routes, etc.

1 person likes this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jan 13, 2017 at 5:58 pm

Beth wrote, "I was visually appalled and disgusted when driving 101 south and seeing a way-too-large monstrous hotel. It's an assault on nature, and one's eyes. Mr. Bohannon and our Planning Commission and City Council should be ashamed for their lack of taste and character by putting this eyesore up."

This project was approved by 65.3% of Menlo Park voters: Web Link

8 people like this
Posted by Not a Newbie
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jan 13, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Many of us "NIMBYs" moved here 20+ years ago, when Menlo Park was a lot more like Woodside than San Francisco. But the developers are happy to turn the city into a mini-San Francisco -- which, by the way, makes housing even less affordable. So now we need higher density housing -- but even then, prices aren't falling -- and they won't. I guess it never ends -- eventually we'll be like downtown SF, then Manhattan.

Why do the pro-growth folks get to dictate our city's direction? Instead of the folks that have lived here for decades?

Newbies vs. NIMBYs... Newbies: "what a great little town, I want to move there! Then I can change it to be something different, something more to my liking." How disrespectful.

9 people like this
Posted by Why Affordable Housing Doesn't Get Built
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 13, 2017 at 6:38 pm


The problem actually isn't the majority. It's the vocal minority. California laws are designed to empower the vocal minority to keep the status quo. I'm not saying those laws are necessarily bad. They were passed with good intentions, but they have been abused in order to stop or limit development that could bring affordable housing.

Look at the Downtown Specific Plan. That was supposed to speed up construction. It wasn't even asking for that much density. Yet years after it was approved, we still have large tracts of empty lots.

What's stopping developers? The vocal minority.

They put Measure M on the ballot. Measure M showed that a majority still liked the DSP. Yet, even after being defeated, the vocal minority kept throwing roadblocks. It's been over two years since then and Greenheart still hasn't been able to START construction.

The real solution is California must be able to stop a minority of the community from adding time and expense to projects that bring denser housing options.

4 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Jan 14, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Except for Kate Bradshaw, most of you are confused about the facts.
Randy: No one will be "living" at the Bohannon development. No housing was required and Bohannon refuses to build housing, which is funny because of the hundreds of houses his grandfather built in MP after WWI.

Supportlocal: Developers of rental housing get to follow the law, which states they don't have to build housing as long as they stay within the zoning. Office developers, however must build or pay into the BMR program. 15% is too low. This needs to be increased. Office developers should be required to house their employees.

Why Affordable Housing Doesn't Get Built: Nimbys are not the problem. Nimbys, when pushed will accept housing over office developments in the belief residents will care about the town and invest in its well being. However, more housing units means more residents which will mean more land must be found for more schools and playing fields. Infrastructure for a town of 50,000 residents comes at a greater cost than a town of 34,000.

Hans Montoya: there weren't many houses in 1976 that cost only $13,000. Your hyperbole reveals bitterness. Take a moment and think about why you chose to live in MP. Could it have been because the taxpayers in 1960 - 2000 were diligent to protect and preserve open space, build a beautiful civic center, create new parks, pass bonds for a new pool, gym, playing fields, children's center, plus build new schools? What will you do to guard the benefits of living in MP? The vocal minority has no power to delay development. Measure M delayed nothing. Stanford and Greenheart have delayed for their own reasons, some of which is due to market forces. Stanford is in no rush. The land has been in their portfolio since the founding of the university. The university waited long enough to realize that it could not ask Santa Clara County for another 5 million sf expansion without providing employees with housing options. Scott Hassan, owner of Greenheart is gathering up his co-investors and startups. This developer refuses to tell the City how many employees will be squeezed into their office buildings. The dog park this developer has offered up as the big public benefit makes MP the laughing stock of every city from SF to San Jose.

The town is changing. The council has invited developers to come to MP by waving very generous building rights but not making bold demands from them as San Francisco and Mountain View do. The sad thing is that young couples who make a combined income of $250,000 cannot buy a house in MP. These people outsource their responsibilities as parents to nannies, tutors, drivers, food delivery systems, gardeners and house keepers. That's the price of living in MP. Who is to blame? The Silicon Valley mentality of technology is better than a real life. The future is yours. Go big!

Like this comment
Posted by Why Affordable Housing Doesn't Get Built
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 17, 2017 at 4:03 pm

@Reality Check
The problem is that it just takes a few die hards to significantly delay and deter new housing density. I don't think that's debatable. It's been a problem in CA for quite some time.

Greenheart was first proposed with more housing. The current plans cut back on that due to density concerns. You claim market forces caused Greenheart's and Stanford's building delays. What market forces are you talking about?

Interest rates have been extremely low for almost a decade. The Fed has pumped an extraordinary amount of liquidity into the economy through quantitative easing. The Bay Area economy has been booming. Unemployment is very low and people keep moving here. Housing and rental prices are through the roof.

A developer is not going to wait for the economy to turn sour to build. The developer generally has to borrow money to buy the land or in Stanford's case there is an opportunity cost when the land is underutilized. It doesn't make economic sense to wait. But if NIMBYs are throwing up roadblocks, it makes perfect sense why nothing has been built when the economic conditions are ripe to build.

Every reason you cited was not a health and safety reason to delay development. They are information requests or preferences. Yet, these developers can't build until those preferences were satisfied. That sounds like a community enforced delay to me despite meeting the conditions of the DSP.

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

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