Stanford adds workforce and postdoc housing in Redwood City

The university’s acquisition of the Elan Redwood City apartment complex will provide affordable and transit-oriented housing near both its main and Redwood City campuses, while further connecting Stanford with the city. Stanford will also explore new opportunities to partner with local schools.

Seeking to expand housing options for members of the university community and further engage with the Redwood City community, Stanford has purchased the newly built Elan Redwood City apartment complex and renamed it The Cardinal Apartments.

Stanford recently acquired the 175-unit Elan Redwood City, renamed The Cardinal Apartments, that will provide subsidized and transit-oriented housing for employees and postdocs. (Image credit: BrightRoomSF)

Pursuant to an agreement reached in June, the acquisition will provide 175 units for Stanford’s employees on Franklin Street in downtown Redwood City, which is within walking distance from the Caltrain station.

Stanford’s purchase of the apartment complex is part of the university’s efforts to broaden the availability and improve the affordability of its housing options. Staff and postdoctoral scholars interested in leasing a unit will receive priority consideration when applying, with top priority given to staff based in Redwood City. The university will also work with the city to designate 37 of the units as deed-restricted, below-market-rate housing for very-low- and low-income households, meaning they are only available to households earning up to 50 and 80 percent, respectively, of the Area Median Income for San Mateo County.

The Cardinal Apartments are available immediately for lease and include 20 studio, 110 one-bedroom and 45 two-bedroom units. Stanford affiliates can sign up on the website to receive more information about rental rates and availability.

The complex’s amenities include a fitness center, rooftop deck and outdoor courtyard, and residents will have easy access to grocery stores, a library, public transit and downtown restaurants and shops. Stanford also recently opened a new childcare facility as part of the Stanford Redwood City campus.

Sustainable commute options

Stanford recently opened its new campus in Redwood City, with more than 2,000 staff members now working approximately 1.5 miles from the city’s downtown. According to university officials, the purchase of the Elan Redwood City apartments provides transit-oriented housing options for those commuting to either the main or Redwood City campuses.

“This was a unique opportunity to provide a significant amount of housing that is convenient for sustainable commuting and allows our workforce and postdocs to live in a wonderfully vibrant community,” said Jean Snider, associate vice president of real estate. “Residents can walk to the Caltrain station and either ride the free shuttle to the Stanford Redwood City campus or take the train two stops and hop on the free Marguerite shuttle to arrive at the main campus. We anticipate that the easy access to sustainable commute options will encourage residents to use them.”

Housing affordability and availability

This is one of multiple projects the university is pursuing to increase its supply of housing. Stanford is currently building 215 apartments along El Camino Real in Menlo Park close to public transit as part of its Middle Plaza project. Stanford also recently submitted an application to build 27 for-sale, single-family faculty homes and 12 below-market-rate rental units for the community in Portola Valley. And the university is building the new 1,400-unit Escondido Village Graduate Residences that will allow more than 2,000 additional graduate students to live on campus.

The decision to convert 37 units at The Cardinal Apartments to deed-restricted affordable housing and prioritize staff and postdocs is part of Stanford’s focus on affordability issues.

“We have heard from many members of our community that the lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area is one of the most significant challenges to working at Stanford,” said Whitney McNair, executive director of faculty staff housing. “Based on feedback received by the university’s Affordability Task Force, we are giving priority to staff and postdocs in order to increase their options for living closer to work. Although the task force has not yet provided its full set of recommendations, we did not want to miss this opportunity to assist those populations within our community.”

In addition to the designated affordable housing units, more than 80 apartments will be priced equivalent to moderate-income affordable housing. Rent for the remaining units at The Cardinal Apartments will also be subsidized by the university and discounted below-market rate for Stanford-affiliated tenants. The variety of rent levels reflects the broad cross-section of Stanford’s population that will benefit from the new units becoming available.

To further encourage employees to live and work in the city, university staff based at Stanford Redwood City who apply for a unit will receive first consideration, followed by postdocs and staff working on the main Stanford campus, and then faculty and other applicants.

“We’re excited about having more Stanford community members make Redwood City their home and become involved in civic life,” said Lucy Wicks, director of government and community relations. “Redwood City already provides a great place to live, work and play for thousands of Stanford employees.”

Partnership with local schools

The addition of the Stanford Redwood City campus and now The Cardinal Apartments, bringing more members of the Stanford community to Redwood City, is also leading the university to pursue new and expanded areas of partnership with local schools.

The city’s schools are distributed between the Redwood City School District that serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade, and the Sequoia Union High School District that enrolls high school students from Redwood City and other southern San Mateo County communities. The university, which already has ongoing collaborations with the Redwood City school community through various programs in the Graduate School of Education, will work with both school districts to identify new ways to expand opportunities for students and educators.

“Stanford’s educational mission aligns with that of Redwood City schools, and we’re delighted to further support the work of local educators to foster a lifelong love of learning in their students and prepare them for successful futures,” said Wicks. “We are embracing this opportunity to strengthen our relationships with teachers, students and parents in Redwood City as we deepen our commitment to the city.”

For more information on The Cardinal Apartments, or to connect with the onsite management team, visit There will be an open house on Saturday, December 7, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1 Franklin Street in Redwood City.

Stanford community members interested in learning more about Stanford’s workforce and postdoc housing programs may contact Faculty Staff Housing at (650) 725-6893 or