April 28, 2014; Silicon Valley Business Journal

The real estate market is a fickle variable, but it worked in favor of the Palo Alto Housing Corporation, which bought a site to develop into senior housing in 2012—60 units for low-income seniors and 15 market-rate homes—but ran into opposition by citizens groups. Opponents cited density and neighborhood character as the problems. The project was eventually defeated by voters via referendum last year, although the effort was being supported by the City Council.

This leaves Palo Alto with only one site dedicated to seniors and the disabled and there are about 500 people on the waiting list. The new project would have more than doubled that number.

In the end, Palo Alto Housing Corp sold to another developer for $22 million, or $6.4 million more than the original purchase price. We can hope that this covers all of the predevelopment and carrying costs, but it likely won’t take all of the sting out of a failed project in the face of growing need.—Ruth McCambridge