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Tree House Apartments

    33 Studio & Two One Bedroom Units
Project Status: Estimated Completion Date is November 2011
488 W. Charleston Street
Palo Alto, CA
Phone: 650-321-9709
Santa Clara County

Project Description

Tree House Apartments” is a new construction, affordable multifamily apartment community located in Palo Alto, California. The 31,132 sq. foot parcel of land on which the Tree House Apartments is being constructed is located at 488 W. Charleston Road, approximately 2 miles from Palo Alto’s downtown core and one block East of El Camino Real. The project will provide 33 studios and two one-bedroom affordable residential units. One one-bedroom apartment will be set aside for an onsite manager. Project amenities will include onsite parking spaces, bicycle storage, a landscaped courtyard, trash compactor, coin operated laundry facility, a community room with a kitchen and computer room. Twelve protected trees will remain on the site and open spaces will promote community.
Tree House Apartments will be an environmentally-conscious development and is proud to be one of the few multi-family projects in Palo Alto where smoking will not be permitted inside the units. The project will be constructed using sustainable building materials and will also incorporate a number of ‘green’ features designed to ensure its long-term energy-efficiency and sustainability. Tree House exceeds minimum Green Point rated requirements.

Unit Mix & Rents

Tree House Apartments will consist entirely of affordable rental units and will target households with incomes ranging from 20% to 50% of AMI ($14,520 to $46,650 based on household size). Monthly rents will range from $332.00 to $877.00

Project Financing

The project will be financed with 9% Low-Income Housing Tax-Credits. PAHC’s funding partners include the City of Palo Alto (CDBG and Residential Housing Funds), Enterprise Social Investment Corp (tax credit investor), Bank of America (construction lender), Santa Clara County, Stanford Affordable Housing Funds, Housing Trust of Santa Clara County, Sobrato Affordable Housing Fund, and Opportunity Fund.

Project Timeline

Construction Start November 2010
Expected Construction Completion November 2011
Stabilization/Full Occupancy January 2012


The project is well-located with respect to transportation: the VTA buses run 7 days a week along El Camino Real with a stop located less than 0.25 mi from the site. It offers a direct connection to midtown & downtown Palo Alto and within a few blocks of the University Avenue & California Avenue Cal Train Stations. In an effort to encourage use of public transportation and reduce greenhouse emissions, residents will be provided with free VTA Eco passes.

Neighborhood Amenities

Residents of Tree House Apartments will enjoy numerous service and retail amenities. Residents will have quick access to dozens of dining options, retail outlets, and services in the vicinity of Stanford shopping center to the North and a Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Sears and other retailers are located less than two miles south of the subject site. Local grocery stores and small markets can be found in much closer proximity, including a Walgreen located across El Camino Real.


Affordable housing is greatly needed in the City of Palo Alto as evidenced by extensive waiting lists at other affordable housing communities in the area. With few projected additions to the existing low-income housing stock, the subject site will only be able to satisfy a small fraction of the demand. Furthermore, market rate comparable properties in the region have limited vacancy and command rents averaging 20-35% higher than the rents proposed for Tree House Apartments.

Resident Services

An emphasis will be placed on providing residents with valuable services and opportunities that enhance their quality of life and promote a safe and stable community. The project will benefit from a part-time Assistant Manager who will reside on-site and ensure that the property is maintained to the highest standard. In addition, a resident services coordinator will oversee a comprehensive resident services program based on the needs of the majority of residents. Programs will utilize community resources and may include financial literacy classes, job skills training, English Instruction Classes, as well as other educational, recreational, and health and wellness programs. Activities will focus on community involvement among residents and the surrounding neighborhood.


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