Olmsted Terrace new residence for faculty

Sept. 30, 2010, 2:03 a.m.

After four years of planning and a year and a half of construction, all the houses of the new Olmsted Terrace development have been sold and the first faculty residents have moved in.

The development, located on Stanford Avenue between Escondido Road and El Camino Real, has six completed and occupied homes. An additional five homes are set to be completed each month until April 2011 for a total of 39 houses, said Tiffany Griego, associate director of real estate for Stanford’s Office of Real Estate.

Stanford developed Olmsted Terrace to help recruit and retain faculty by creating desirable, affordable, on-campus housing. At $700,000 to $900,000, the homes are intended to make ownership a more realistic option for faculty in the relatively high-cost Palo Alto area.

Olmsted Terrace new residence for faculty
Faculty have begun moving into the newly opened Olmsted Terrace homes. (ZACK HOBERG/The Stanford Daily)

“Real estate prices are very high in this area and affordable housing for our faculty is a major challenge,” wrote Jan Thomson, director of Faculty-Staff Housing, in an e-mail to The Daily. “A special, and very restricted, lease was developed for Olmsted Terrace in order to make the homes more affordable for our faculty and to keep them affordable for future faculty who buy there.”

Buyers are subject to a 51-year restrictive ground lease. As a condition of the lease, after 51 years the lessee must sell the home back to the University, which can in turn sell the home to another faculty member.

“It’s really trying to create a stock of faculty housing that Stanford will have into perpetuity,” Griego said.

Faculty members were quick to realize the benefits of Olmsted Terrace. More than 175 eligible faculty members expressed interest in the homes. Due to the high demand, priority was given to Academic Council faculty who had never owned a home in the Bay Area. In August, the last available Olmsted Terrace home was sold.

The development, which consists of two-story, three- and four-bedroom homes, includes amenities designed exclusively for faculty. Such amenities include studies in every home located near the front door so students and colleagues can easily visit faculty without disturbing other family members. Additionally, the homes have high speed SUNet access to allow faculty members to work at home, as well as designated parking for guests.

“We worked with a faculty focus group early on to figure out the design and program of the homes,” Griego said. “They are definitely targeted to faculty, with a goal of maximizing value for the faculty with every single decision.”

The development boasts a clustered design where homes share courtyards and jogging paths. The homes are equipped with energy- and water-efficient appliances, allowing each home to exceed state energy-efficiency standards by at least 15 percent.

Additionally, the homes’ architectural styles complement the surrounding Palo Alto homes. Five different architectural styles and four different floor plans allowed faculty members to choose homes that would best serve their needs.

“We have tried to avoid making a cookie-cutter development here,” Griego said. “Instead, we’ve really tried to create a community.”

In addition to the 39 Olmsted Terrace homes, 25 homes, including four duplex buildings (eight units) and 17 single-family homes are available for rent between Olmsted Road and El Camino Real. Seven homes were completed for occupancy on Sept. 24, with the rest set to be completed by December 2010.

Contact Kelsey King at [email protected]

Login or create an account