On May 16, Greenbelt Alliance was delighted to attend the Grand Opening of Edwina Benner Plaza, along with non-profit affordable housing developer MidPen Housing Corporation and their partners.
The development was named after California’s first female mayor, Edwina Benner, who served as mayor of Sunnyvale from 1924 to 1926 and again from 1937 to 1938. Her niece, Beverly David, was among the speakers at the grand opening.
The project received the Greenbelt Alliance Endorsement in February 2016 after meeting our strict endorsement criteria for sustainable urban development. It is a prime example of the type of smart growth urgently needed in Silicon Valley.
The Edwina Benner Plaza Apartments will provide 66 new homes for low-income residents, along with community rooms, play areas, and after-school facilities, on an underutilized 1.32- acre lot. These new homes will be especially helpful in addressing the region’s housing affordability crisis. Santa Clara County currently has a shortfall of more than 67,000 affordable homes available for low-income residents. The average rent in Sunnyvale for a two-bedroom apartment is currently more than $3,000 per month, far beyond the reach of many families.
The site at 460 Persian Drive is within a half mile of the Fair Oaks light rail station and Seven Seas Park, Sunnyvale’s newest open space. Residents will be able to comfortably walk, bike, and take transit to nearby amenities. To make it even easier to get around, residents will receive free transit passes for the first year. Many other sustainable features will be incorporated into the building, including energy-efficient design, water-efficient native landscaping, and sustainable construction materials, improving the project’s environmental performance and create a healthier living environment. The development even includes a computer lab!
Kyomi Honda Yamamoto, Greenbelt Alliance’s South Bay Regional Representative, attended the event. She noted, “It was very gratifying to see the results of our work and partnership with the Sunnyvale community, and especially to share the enthusiasm of new residents who have already moved into their new homes.” She continued, “Greenbelt Alliance looks forward to many more such grand openings for smart growth projects we’ve endorsed that make our neighborhoods more equitable and inclusive to all.”