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Retirement/residential complex plans unveiled

STANFORD -- Stanford University and Sand Hill Senior Partners, a consortium of local firms, announced conceptual plans Wednesday, Feb. 12, for a senior retirement community and a complex of apartments and townhouses on 72 acres on the west side of the Stanford campus.

Niel Davidson, director of real estate development in the Stanford Management Co., said the concept will be refined in the next three months after discussions with local officials and others.

The early plan conceives of 375 to 400 condominiums for retired people on the 20-acre site of the former Children's Hospital, and 700 to 750 rental apartments on an adjacent 52-acre parcel. Total project costs are expected to exceed $160 million, Davidson said.

The old Children's Hospital buildings will be demolished. The Ronald McDonald House and the Children's Health Council building will remain on the site.

The condominium and apartment sites are within the city of Palo Alto, between Sand Hill Road and San Francisquito Creek.

An initial application is expected to be submitted to the city of Palo Alto in about three months, Davidson said. The preparation of detailed drawings, the environmental impact report process and other public hearings are expected to take two to three years before construction could begin.

Davidson was joined in the announcement by Joe Martignetti, project manager of Sand Hill Senior Partners. The group is made up of the Hillsdale Group and the M.H. Podell Co., both of Burlingame, and William Wilson & Associates and Webcor Builders Inc., both of San Mateo.

Martignetti said that consortium members are experienced in financing, building and operating senior retirement and health care communities. They will build and operate the complex under a long-term lease agreement with the university.

In addition to the condominiums, the senior retirement community will include a health-care center with assisted living units and skilled nursing beds, as well as a center for gerontology research and education, Martignetti said.

The condominium units will be for sale, while the health-care units will be rented. The price of the senior housing units is expected to range from $250,000 to more than $500,000 in current dollars. Market rents for the apartments will be between $900 and $1,600 in current dollars, depending upon unit size. Palo Alto regulations require a portion of the units to be available at below market rates

The retirement complex will be licensed by the state as a continuing care community, Martignetti said.

"We are excited by the opportunity to create one of the finest retirement communities in the country," Martignetti said. "Our intention is to provide a model project, with a full range of housing options, recreational opportunities, health care and other services."

(People interested in having their names added to the senior community prospect list should call the Hillsdale Group at 415-348-6783.)

Davidson said that about 80 percent of the rental apartments on the 52-acre site will be one- and two-bedroom flats, while 20 percent will be three- and four-bedroom townhouses. A priority system for occupancy of the units will be worked out in the coming months.

"Nine years ago, we received conceptual approval from the city for 1,100 units of housing on 46 acres of land, or 24 units per acre," Davidson said. "Now we are proposing a substantial reduction in density - 1,050 to 1,150 units on 72 acres, or an average of 15 units an acre.

"We plan to leave as much open space as possible on the 72 acres."

Davidson said that San Francisquito Creek and a 16-acre archaeological preserve along the creek will not be built on and will provide a buffer between the new housing and Menlo Park homes.

A range of amenities, including swimming pools, health facilities, recreation programs, and biking and walking trails will be provided in the development, Davidson said.

Davidson credited the Age Center Alliance, a local advisory group, with a major role in initiating the senior housing project, and in proposing programs for the complex.



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