Residents of Hotel President in downtown Palo Alto facing possible evictions in November say they won’t go down without a fight.
The City of Palo Alto has met with and told the developer that they definitely cannot violate the Municipal Code 18.18.120(b) and turn our homes into a hotel.
However the residents have still been told that their leases will continue to be terminated and that City decisions have “absolutely no bearing or impact on” their tenancy.Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners, or AJ Capital, announced June 12 that it had purchased the 488 University Ave. building, with the intent of converting the historic property back into a hotel with 100 guest rooms. Currently, the hotel is used as a residential building. However, the city on July 17 informed the company that it could not convert the property into a hotel because that would violate the city rules. AJ Capital met privately with city officials about its plan before the purchase but has not submitted an application for the proposed conversion.
Michelle Kraus, a 10-year President Hotel Apartments tenant, applauded the city for properly interpreting its laws “against a developer that has come in with a lot of money,” but said residents now need the city’s help to stay in their aparments. Some have already packed up and left, yielding to AJ Capital’s planned changes, she said.
“This is the fight for the soul of Silicon Valley,” said Kraus, who helped form the President Hotel Tenants group.
The group, which launched a petition over the weekend, is asking the city to halt the evictions, issue a moratorium on any rent hikes and explore putting a rent stabilization program in place.
To Residents of the City of Palo Alto
Please urge AJ Capital (out-of-state developer) to halt the eviction of the residents, and not to otherwise raise our rents in retribution!
Our historic apartment building provides homes for Palo Altans who serve this community. We are Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) students, teachers both in PAUSD, other local schools and in our homes, medical researchers, service industry employees, local business owners, veterans, entrepreneurs, and so on. Many residents have lived here for decades. In the middle of a housing crisis in Palo Alto and the entire Bay area, evicting this many residents to turn workforce housing into yet another luxury hotel is not what our community needs –especially with 8 luxury hotels already in downtown! We really appreciate how our Palo Alto City Council has backed us up and supported the community of Palo Alto by enforcing the regulations that developers cannot turn this oversized building into yet another hotel.