Mountain View City Council votes to demolish family apartments for multi-million dollar townhomes

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KGO) -- Despite the efforts of residents, dozens of naturally affordable housing apartments in Mountain View will soon be demolished and replaced with market-rate townhouses, which could eventually sell for nearly $1.5 million each upon completion.

Mountain View City Council members voted Tuesday night to approve a proposal by Morgan Hill-based developer Dividend Homes, to raze the entire 2310 Rock Street apartment complex.

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"I have three babies, and also my oldest starting school in September," said Christina Kongaika, whose family has lived at the complex since last year. "I have to figure out what school she'll be going to in another city probably."

Kongaika says the timing is also tough because her husband is currently enrolled in the police academy. She's hoping they won't have to move too far away.

"I'm not angry. I know sometimes life has challenging times, but I'm trying to be as positive as possible throughout the process," said Kongaika.

Residents at 2310 Rock Street currently pay around $1,100 a month in rent for a one-bedroom apartment and up to $3,000 for a two-bedroom. Under the city's Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance, most tenants will be eligible for the cash equivalent of three months median market rate rent for a similar sized apartment to help with moving.

Mayor Lisa Matichak appeared to be sympathetic and understanding of the concerns brought up by residents at the council meeting but said her hands were tied.

"In this case, this is a fully compliant project where the owner wants to sell, and I feel like it's their right to sell their property," said Matichak.

According to RentCAFE, the average price for a rental in the city is a little more than $3,200 per month. Former Mayor Lenny Siegal says more needs to be done to protect lower and middle-class families in Mountain View.

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"We need these people," said Siegel. "When I moved to Mountain View, we considered it a working-class community. Now, you have to be a retiree who bought 30 years ago or a software engineer."

City officials say approximately one-fifth of the residents at 2310 Rock Street have already found a new place to live. The developer has agreed to extend the move out date through September of this year.

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