Sunnyvale plans to add more housing near its transit hubs with a unique project that incorporates multiple bedrooms and bathrooms per apartment.
The Sunnyvale Planning Commission on Monday night unanimously voted to recommend that the city council approve plans to demolish a two-floor office at 1202 Kifer Road and erect a seven-floor apartment building in its place. The building will offer 29 apartments ranging from three to four bedrooms. Each bedroom will have an attached bathroom designed in a way that encourages communal living. The half-acre site is part of the city’s Lawrence Station Area Plan, which aims to increase housing near its transit corridor. The property is owned by NeoElixir, Inc. and will be developed by Pacific General Construction, according to the city.
Commissioners Galen Davis and John Howe were absent from the meeting. The five present commissioners commended the building’s innovative design to address the parcel’s irregular shape.
“A lot of times, we talk about these things in units, and we’re just looking at 29 units … but we’re talking about 111 beds and that’s quite a lot of people in a site that’s not very large,” Planning Commission chair Martin Pyne said in the meeting. “It’s a very good use of this site and I’m looking forward to seeing it develop.”
The new apartment building is near the intersection of Kifer Road and Lawrence Expressway and less than a 10-minute walk to the train station. Kifer Road also serves as the divide between the cities of Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, and there are multiple housing developments that recently became available or are being constructed on the Santa Clara side.
Residents say there has been an increase in construction throughout Sunnyvale. Gail Scott lives near the proposed building, and she hopes the new housing will be affordable.
“Sunnyvale has a lot of people from tech who might be higher income, who could afford to live in them, but … not everybody has high income,” Scott told San José Spotlight.
Of the 29 apartments, four will be rented as affordable housing. The building’s leasing office will work with the city’s housing department to allocate those spaces, senior planner Momo Ishijima said in the meeting. One of the four will be rented at very low-income rates and the other three will be at low-income rates.
The city has to build 11,966 more homes by 2031, with 6,709 below market rate, based on the state’s requirements. Multiple housing projects are underway in Sunnyvale near the train station, including some by the same architect for this project, Studio T-SQ.
One of the commission’s biggest concerns with the plans was guest parking. The building will have 52 allocated parking spots using car lifts, all of which will be for residents. Commissioner Michael Serrone pointed out the lack of guest parking could mean visitors might use the neighboring Costco parking lot.
To address these concerns, the city added a parking management plan to the permit approval requirements. Serrone said despite worries over parking, this development is an “innovative and creative way to make use of a difficult corner” and a needed improvement for the area.
“It fits in with the other housing projects that are going in, it’s right by transit, so all of that is very positive. And the way the bedrooms are used, each with a separate bath, (is) a very good idea that addresses how we live now-a-days,” Serrone said in the meeting.