smaller post-World War II tract homes, usually entry-level
Look here if you want highly-regarded schools and a pleasant Menlo Park neighborhood, at a discount.
Overview: Bay Road runs past a number of tracts including (from south to north) Newbridge Park, Belle Haven City (better known as Flood Triangle), Suburban Park, Bay Road Oaks, Oakhurst and Lorelei Manor. This area is bisected by Flood County Recreation Center (“Flood Park”).
Housing stock: Most homes are small ranchers built in the mid-'40s to early '50s, originally as affordable housing with just one bath, although this can vary between tracts. Many homes have been expanded with second bath and sometimes more bedrooms, but small is still the rule. Updated homes are common, but there's virtually no new construction and no condos.
At the southern tip, Newbridge Park is the oldest tract and a handful of 1920s bungalows bear witness to this. Adding to the pre-war charm are the grounds of the beautiful old Veterans Affairs Hospital on the other side of Bay. Generally the oldest houses in this tract are along Bay or just off it on the side streets. Newbridge has a small area of modest apartment buildings as well as a few office buildings.
Moving north there’s Flood Triangle, so named because of the triangular shape of its street layout and its proximity to Flood Park. Aside from that, differences between Newbridge and the Triangle are subtle. Both were built primarily from 1936 to 1951, and mostly from 1946 on.
Just north of Flood Park, Suburban Park dates from 1947-51. Houses here are mostly small 3-bedroom/one- and two-bath ranchers. Like the Triangle, streets are arranged in a pleasant winding layout. This is the largest tract in the area and usually has a good inventory of homes for sale. Suburban Park homes backing to Highway 101 are some of the most affordable in Menlo Park, although the neighborhood is attractive and well-maintained. An elementary school is located here but it belongs to a different district, Ravenswood, and neighborhood kids don’t attend it.
Heading north is a smaller but similar tract, Bay Road Oaks. Built in 1948, these homes are the well-regarded "King-Built" ranchers found throughout nearby Redwood City's Friendly Acres just to north across Marsh Road, and also in Woodside Plaza.
Just to the north on Theresa is Oakhurst, a real anomaly for Bay Road with its large 3- and 4-bedroom/2-bath homes built in 1974. This was a sheep ranch prior to development.
At the northern-most end, just south of Marsh Road, is Lorelei Manor. Like Oakhurst, Lorelei is unique for the area, in this case because its contemporaries are more typical of Santa Clara County than San Mateo. All Lorelei Manor homes were originally very small 3/2s and most still are. Small homes and lots, a nearby rail line and commercial buildings, plus the usual discount for contemporary architecture, make this the most consistently affordable Menlo Park development west of 101.
Lot sizes: Depends on the tract, often with large variations on the same street. Newbridge is usually in the high 5000 range, the Triangle a bit larger. 7-8000 sq.ft. lots are not uncommon in both areas with a few around 9-12k. Suburban Park is commonly 5500 sq.ft. but 6000-7000 lots are easily found. Bay Road Oaks is usually around 5500 feet, Oakhurst all 7000 sq.ft. lots. Lorelei lots are generally around 5000 sq.ft.
Affordability: Affordability is great for Menlo Park but only fair for the mid-Peninsula. In 2002 these homes sold in the 12th through 59th percentiles compared to other Menlo Park homes, with 80% clustered in the 17th through 49th percentiles. Much depends on proximity to 101. Approximately 20% of mid-Peninsula neighborhoods are less expensive than Suburban Park homes very close to 101, but for better locations in that neighborhood it’s 40%. With nearby "lower” Willows this is entry-level Menlo Park west of 101 and a great opportunity for families on a budget looking for well-regarded schools. This area started out affordable and has stayed that way relative to most of Menlo Park. Homes were originally small, lots usually average in size. The eastern fringe is impacted by noise from either Highway 101 and/or Southern Pacific's Dumbarton Branch rail line. The western boundary, Bay Road, is a fairly busy two-lane street, but side streets have little traffic and are invariably pleasant. Most tracts are quite similar in appearance and price with the exception noted below.
The affordability factor ranges from 5.3 to 6 for all tracts except Lorelei Manor, which is 4.9.
This information is based on district and other sources but may be obsolete by the time you read this. Verify district boundaries and school availability with district offices.
The only public elementary school located in this area, James Flood, belongs to the Ravenswood City district and is not attended by children from Suburban Park.
Amenities: Flood County Recreational Area, Bay Road (picnic areas, softball field, baseball field, tennis courts, Pentanque court, horseshoes, volleyball court, grassy fields, play ground).
Shopping: Large but rather tired shopping center just north of Marsh in Redwood City. Some shopping along Willow and a short drive to downtown Menlo Park.
Neighborhoods with similar ambience: Menlo Park’s “Lower” Willows; Redwood City’s Woodside Plaza; Sunnyvale’s Cherry Chase; many areas of Mountain View west of El Camino on both sides of Grant Road; and large areas of Santa Clara.
Neighborhoods with similar prices (5% +/-): It depends on the area.
Lorelei Manor’s small contemporaries are the most consistently affordable homes in this area. For the same money you might barely get into Palo Alto's Ventura, but you could easily get into a wide range of conventional ranchers in West San Jose with good schools, as well as the pre-war neighborhoods of Willow Glen and Rose Garden.
Aside from Lorelei Manor, homes tend to be fairly consistent in price, with perhaps a slight edge to Suburban Park. This area sells much like the Menlo Park’s Lower Willows and along O'Connor, as well as the contemporaries of Palo Alto's Charleston Meadows. Further afield, the neighborhoods you get for the same money as Bay Road read like a "Who's Who" of attractive yet affordable midrange alternatives. To the north, Redwood City's pleasant Woodside Plaza and the similar tract homes in the rolling hills just west of the Alameda, as well as parts of handsome Mt. Carmel; San Carlos' charming post-war Howard Park and Oak Park, pre-war Lyon & Hoag and hilly Devonshire east of Alameda; and San Mateo's comfortable Westwood Knolls hillside ranchers and the pre-war Beresford Manor. To the south, parts of downtown Mountain View; Sunnyvale with good Santa Clara schools; Sunnyvale and West San Jose with excellent Cupertino schools; some attractive entry-level Cupertino neighborhoods, also with great schools; some great parts of Santa Clara; and the much newer and larger homes of San Jose's Almaden Valley. See an important qualification regarding price comparisons.
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