275 Saratoga Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95051
Project Type: Assisted Living & Memory Care
Owner/Developer: Swenson Builders
Presented to our members: July 2022
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* Projects go through several phases. Developers submit applications to the City, get their design reviewed, do redesigns based on City & community feedback, resubmit proposals for review, and get approval (though can even redesign after approval)
275 Saratoga Member Feedback
The proposal consists of building an assisted living and memory care facility on a 1.4-acre site currently occupied by a two-story office building. The four-story structure will consist of 97 assisted living units and 24 memory care units
totaling 146 beds. On-site amenities include common lounges, a theater, a salon, courtyards, and a programming schedule aimed to keep residents active and engaged. It includes 65 slots for below-grade parking, bicycle parking for staff, a designated rideshare area, and an ongoing shuttle service for on-site residents. Our Project Advocacy Members provided the following feedback:
275 Saratoga Scored 4.8 out of 5 overall from our Project Advocacy Committee members.
Community Score: 4/5
Our members were happy to hear local residents were engaged during a community meeting held back on March 2, 2022. Similarly, they were happy that Swenson decided to present to our members and seek additional feedback on this project. Overall, our members appreciated the due diligence in engaging the community, yet they wish to see it expanded to reach the folks who this project seeks to serve. Some examples of additional community engagement include neighborhood associations and senior groups to further understand this population’s unique needs.
Vibrancy Score: 5/5
Our members were very impressed with the exterior architectural design, as well as the integration of a variety of amenities to serve residents. Our members particularly value the inclusion of a courtyard, theater, and salon - amenities which some of our members have not seen much in assisted living & memory care facilities. In addition, the proposed building will sit across from the Pruneridge Golf Club, a recreational opportunity for residents seeking to spend time outdoors and stay active. To further this as a vibrant development, one step the residence provider/management could take is to explore if seniors living nearby the project could be invited into the building to benefit from the variety of thoughtful amenities and programming schedule that are proposed. That could strengthen the connection between the building residents and the broader community.
Transportation Score: 5/5
As we understand it, the proposal includes 65 parking spaces, including 7 ADA spaces, which is above the required 46 slots. Despite the 19-parking slot surplus, most of our members believe the ratio is appropriate. The slight increase in parking was deliberate to accommodate rotating shifts and the needs of parking residents, medical, and support staff. Residents will have access to a shuttle service which will run daily to designated areas and stops. The shuttle area for pick up and drop offs also doubles as a rideshare area, a well-received feature among some of our members. We also like the space for staff to park their bikes. We would ask if the space for people using walkers is sufficiently safe on-site. Overall, our members believe the proposal will meet the transportation needs of residents, the neighborhood and those working there.
Sustainability Score: 5/5
The proposal seeks to meet the City of Santa Clara’s code for sustainability standards. This includes an all-electric building, drought-tolerant landscaping, and plumbing to use recycled water, the last of which stood out in particular. Our members were also happy this project will also include solar panels to off-set energy costs. Those elements left a positive impression on most of our members, yet they hope to see a more robust and defined sustainability plan. This includes a third-party verification such as LEED or GreenPoint Rated (GPR) Gold or above.
Intensity/Zoning Score: 5/5
The proposal consists of 121 assisted living units, including 97 assisted living and 24 memory care units. The building is projected to be 49 feet tall, above the allowable 35 feet under the General Plan Land Use designation. Our members were very happy to see this building taller than allowed. The 4-story building will be constructed using light gauge non-combustible materials per code requirements. Our members believe this site is appropriately zoned and understand the constraints balancing density with quality amenities. Overall, our members hope to see no changes which would reduce the height and/or stories of this building.
Legacy Score: N/A
Members of Catalyze SV didn’t think this category was applicable to this site. However, they would like to highly encourage Swenson to include a marker, plaque, and/or piece of art that acknowledges the land with an emphasis on Native American history.
Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5.
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Affordability Score: N/A
Because of the commercial zoning designation for assisted living projects by the City of Santa Clara, 275 Saratoga might not be subject to inclusionary housing ordinance. As we understand it, there’s still ongoing discussions whether this project will contribute in-lieu fees towards affordable housing production. Our members decided to mark this category as “Not Available” because we do not yet have enough details to make a determination. We will reach back out to the developer Swenson to ask for updates on this. Once we do, we’ll be able to determine if we can in fact score this project on this category.