Update: construction has begun on this Greenbelt Alliance endorsed 66-unit affordable housing project named after the first female mayor in California. Sunnyvale city officials and project supporters were in attendance June 29, 2017, for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Edwina Benner Plaza affordable housing project at 460 Persian Drive. Read more about this success story here.
Greenbelt Alliance South Bay Regional Representative, Kiyomi Honda Yamamoto attended the groundbreaking ceremony and said that “Sunnyvale has been making an impact in improving our region’s housing crisis. The Edwina Benner project, which is close to jobs, schools, and transit, adds 66 affordable units, with 23 reserved for those at risk or formerly homeless, and 43 units targeted for those living and working in Sunnyvale.” She went on to state that, “recently, Sunnyvale also adopted the R Plus Alternative Plan, which allows an addition of 8,500 residential homes along El Camino Real.”
On January 25, 2016, the City of Sunnyvale approved the Edwina Benner Plaza Apartments by the non-profit affordable housing developer MidPen Housing Corporation.
Greenbelt Alliance had strongly encouraged the city to approve these new homes to create a more affordable, walkable, transit-friendly neighborhood in one of the most expensive areas of the Bay Area and relieve development pressure on our natural and agricultural lands.
The Edwina Benner Plaza Apartments—named after the local civic leader who was first female mayor in California—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 park, so residents will be able to comfortably walk, bike, and take transit to nearby amenities. To make it even easier to get around, a new sidewalk will be added, ample secure bike parking will be provided, and 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.
Many thanks to Tomio Hayase-Izu, a Greenbelt Alliance volunteer who stayed at the city’s hearing until 1:30 a.m. to share his testimony. That’s the type of dedication it takes to make the Bay Area a better place to live!