Why

A significant site in the heart of East Palo Alto, the “Four Corners” site at University and Bay has been vacant for over 30 years. Over the years, community members have consistently lamented, “when will anything ever be built here?” The site has featured prominently in previous planning processes (Ravenswood / Four Corners TOD Specific Plan and the East Palo Alto General Plan), which called for a vibrant, mixed-use “downtown” at this location. In late 2019, Sand Hill Property Company purchased the property. As a property owner and housing provider in East Palo Alto, we have been deeply invested in the city for the past several years, we understand the importance of this site to the community, and we want to help realize the City’s vision for itself.

Based on a review of previous planning processes and feedback that we’ve heard from the community to date, we have created five Core Principles that articulate the community’s priorities and will guide design decisions moving forward.

Core Principles

Based on the Ravenswood / Four Corners TOD Specific Plan, the East Palo Alto General Plan, and Community Input

respect

Respect what came before us

Honor and respect the previous engagement processes, planning principles, and the General Plan; recognize and respect local history

main street

Create a vibrant, mixed-use “Main Street”

Combine a wide range of uses in an inviting and complimentary way, including retail, restaurant, housing, employment, community-serving uses, and public open space; create conditions to support other local businesses to grow and thrive

Live_Gather

Create places to live and gather

Build a place that can be both a “home” and a “destination;” create mixed-income housing and community gathering place for all of EPA, including a new public “town square”, a public plaza/courtyard, and neighborhood amenities

Mobility

Improve mobility and access

Create a safe walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly destination that is easy to move through and around, connected to the neighborhood, and improves this “heart” of the city for all East Palo Alto residents to access and enjoy

Jobs

Create jobs and local revenue

Create an employment and economic engine that provides opportunities for small business and tax revenue for the City and schools

Building on these Core Principles, our proposed vibrant, mixed-use “downtown” at University and Bay includes key highlights such as:

  • Public space and community amenities that can be enjoyed by all East Palo Alto residents, such as a new town square, central plaza, and community space, such as a new East Palo Alto Library.
  • Mixed-income housing that can serve a diversity of income levels, from affordable to workforce to market rate.
  • A “main street” of ground-floor retail along Bay Road, addressing a desire for retail, restaurants, and neighborhood-serving services.
  • Employment uses, including life-science and laboratory space, which can provide a diversity of employment opportunities for East Palo Alto residents.
  • A design that is pedestrian-friendly, bike-friendly, and easily and safely accessible by all modes of transportation.
  • Amenities like public open space and neighborhood amenities within a few blocks of nearby housing, businesses and community institutions.
  • Buildings that respect their neighbors and the neighborhood through a combination of setbacks, trees and vegetation, and attractive architecture and screening.
  • Sufficient parking at grade on internal surface streets, in a parking structure, and through one level of underground parking.

Project Summary

Consistent with the prior planning principles, the General Plan, and community input, we plan to create and catalyze a vibrant, mixed-use “downtown” at University and Bay. At the heart of the plan are a new public “town square” and a central public plaza surrounded by ground-floor retail, restaurants, and community uses, including a new East Palo Alto Library directly across from City Hall.

Details

SizeApprox. 6.1 Acres
Community Space/Retail/RestaurantUp to 40,000 square feet
Residential180 units mixed-income
Life Sciences / Laboratory500,000 square feet
Off-Street ParkingApprox. 1,300 spaces
On-Street ParkingApprox. 30 spaces
Height*Residential - 7 stories max.| Life Sciences/Laboratory - 8 stories

*Maximum heights are at or below General Plans allowances

Project Timeline/ Next Steps

Moving forward, we intend to continue a robust community engagement process and work to develop this site in fulfilment of the vision articulated by the East Palo Alto community.

*Additional milestones will be added to the timeline as the project moved forward

The East Palo Alto General Plan and Ravenswood/Four Corners Specific Plan call for a mix of uses in the heart of the city. Mixed use neighborhoods provide a variety of uses that work well together in one place and are easily walkable or bikeable.

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Sand Hill Property Company recently purchased the long-vacant land at the corner of University Avenue and Bay Road.

This important location was designated by the community in the Specific Plan and EPA General Plan to become a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood.

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Read our statement of solidarity with the black community and our commitments to action.