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Rendering of Portola Terrace

Stanford faculty & community workforce housing with a large oak woodland

Stanford is proud to build Portola Terrace as part of the university's ongoing stewardship of its land and long-term commitment to a strong and resilient community.


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Portola Terrace benefits the community

Faculty are central to Stanford’s ability to be a leading research university, cultural center, employer, and health care provider. Portola Terrace will provide additional housing options for faculty in one of the country’s most expensive housing markets, helping Stanford attract and retain top-tier educators and researchers. Living near campus also allows for deeper connections with students and enriches teaching and research.

Workforce households, including teachers, first responders, health care workers, and other essential service providers, are integral to our community and also face significant housing challenges. Portola Terrace will help the Town of Portola Valley meet its share of the regional housing demand.

Property tax revenues, fees and other taxes from Portola Terrace will increase funding for the town, Portola Valley and Sequoia Union High School Districts as well as Woodside Fire Protection District.

Wildfire safety for nearby residents will greatly improve with the following: an aggressive approach to reducing potential wildfire fuel sources on the property through the VMP; a new fire maintenance road; undergrounding of the PG&E power line along Alpine Road; an extended water line that increases water availability for the Westridge Area; and added fire hydrants. 


Rendering of a house in Portola Terrace

Creating a stronger community

To help address the regional housing crisis, Stanford was encouraged by the Town Council to put forth a housing concept on its land that meets the University’s need for faculty housing and the Town’s need for workforce housing.

Portola Terrace is designed to: 

  • Create a residential community that compliments the Town’s rural character and enhances the natural features of the site
  • Cluster the homes together to maximize the woodland landscape and foster a sense of community
  • Minimize the residences visual impact along Alpine Road and surrounding areas
  • Provide more affordable housing:
    • For the Town through long-term affordable rental units
    • For Stanford faculty through small lot homes
  • Embrace Portola Valley General Plan and Design Guidelines:
    • Minimize disturbance to terrain and vegetation
    • Maximize natural beauty and open space, maintain rural character
    • Keep buildings and land use subordinate to nature

Portola Terrace features


  • Encompasses 6 acres (8 percent of the property) along an internal ring road.
  • 27 houses on long-term ground leases for Stanford faculty, and 12 affordable apartments that are for rent and for community workforce households - for a total of 39 units.
  • Designed by Siegel & Strain, architects for the Portola Valley Town Center.
  • Fire-resistant design elements and building materials that adhere to the California Wildland Urban Interface codes and follow the recommendations of the Portola Valley Ad Hoc Wildfire Preparedness Committee.
  • All electric, solar-powered heating and cooling systems, eliminating the need for natural gas.
  • Central neighborhood playground and picnic area.
  • Native drought-tolerant landscaping with a 200-foot defensible space fire break and access road.
  • Landscape screening and undergrounding of high-voltage power lines along Alpine Road.

Oak Woodland

  • 69 acres (92 percent of the property) to remain undeveloped as part of the woodlands and habitats of the Alpine Scenic Corridor. 
  • Publicly accessible new trails that integrate into the town’s trail system. 
  • Reduction of target plant populations that are fire fuels through manual clearing, mechanized masticating equipment and livestock grazing. 
  • Environmental protection for wildlife habitats, including nesting birds, San Francisco dusky-footed woodrats and California red-legged frogs.
Map of Project Location