Today, Santa Clara’s Development Review Hearing is scheduled to review plans for Clara Gardens, a fully affordable residential complex at 3550 El Camino Real. The housing proposal will preserve an existing hotel and replace surface parking with a seven-story apartment building. Berkeley-based RCD Housing is responsible for the project as the property owner.
Clara Gardens is set to contain 120 units of affordable housing, mixing the existing two wings of Bella Vista Motel with a seven-story building. Unit sizes will range with studios, one, two, and three-bedroom units. The motel will contain mainly studios and one-beds. Units will be for households earning less than 80% of the Area Median Income, i.e., AMI.
The 72-foot tall structure will yield 85,620, with 7,500 square feet for the 66-car garage and 1,440 square feet for commercial retail. Additional surface parking will be included by Flora Vista Avenue to increase the total site car capacity to 81 vehicles. Parking will also be included for 120 bicycles.
Amenities will include two interconnected courtyards, common rooms, a children’s play area, and a bicycle repair studio, Exterior terraces will provide additional open-air space across the project. Landscaping will improve the sidewalks along both street frontages for the property.
The 1.12-acre site will wrap around the lot of an existing restaurant, leaving it untouched, with two street frontages along El Camino and Flora Vista Avenue respectively.
The project architect is Van Meter Williams Pollack, a San Francisco-based architecture firm. Renderings show a typical podium-style building with various colors, materials, and even private decks used to break up the overall massing. Facade materials will include cement plaster, fiber cement panels, random board, wood-look panels, exposed concrete, and various other materials used for decoration.
The proposal will replace an existing hotel by the overpass intersection with El Camino Real and the Lawrence Expressway. Nearby, there is an existing dense townhome development and Villa Granada, an Essex Apartment building where one and two-bedroom units rent for between $2,500 and $3,800 per month.
By having all units restricted as affordable, RCD Housing will benefit enormously from State Senate Bill 35. The application will be streamlined for ministerial development permit approval. The project also benefits from the State Density Bonus program, increasing available zoning for projects that meet a certain threshold.
The City of Santa Clara’s Development Review Hearing is scheduled to start today, January 12th, and 3 PM. For more information about the meeting and how to participate, please visit the city’s Legislative Public Meetings website here.