Apartment recommendations in Silicon Valley
February 26, 2014 2:54 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving to California from Michigan to take a job at HP. Do you have recommendations for a 2 bedroom apartment that meets my needs? Safety and dog walkability are prime concerns. Especially interested in perspectives on Prometheus Apartments Metropolitan and Americana.

(Anon because this post involves very specific information which could identify my username to my employers).

My wife and I are moving in early April and trying to figure out where we'll live. I'd like to be within a ~45-minute commute, so we're looking anywhere from San Mateo down to San Jose. Primary concerns are:

2 Bd/2Ba, $3500 ish max. Less than $3k would be less vomit-inducing, but I've nearly given up on that. 900+ sq ft, 1000-1100+ much better (we are moving from a house so everything feels tiny).

Pet friendly for large dogs (50+ lbs). Dealbreaker otherwise.

Washer/dryer in unit. Dealbreaker otherwise.

Should have good places to walk the dog outside the apartment. We have found several really nice buildings that are awesome except for the fact that they're on major highways or have almost no walkability. Villa Granada in Santa Clara/Sunnyvale is a good example.

Should feel and be extremely safe. We've read so many stories of car breakins and thefts that we're starting to despair about every location we look. Multiple extremely nice apartments have had car breakins inside their secure garages (550 Moreland in Santa Clara, which is extremely expensive for the area, comes to mind). Is this just the norm in the area??

We also prefer a nicer building. We visiting Southwood in Palo Alto, extremely close to work. It is right on a park and has a great location, but it is so, so run-down looking and is one of the most expensive properties due to its location. If I'm going to be paying $3k+ for a tiny 2 bedroom, I strongly prefer to have a nice, luxury-feeling building.

We like nature. I like the idea of walkability to a downtown area, but we do not want to live right in a downtown. We prefer more of a suburban feel.

We thought we liked Metropolitan in San Mateo the best, but we are unsure of the neighborhood, and its proximity to major roads 3rd and 4th avenue seem to make it non-ideal for dog ownership. On the other end of the map, we liked the Villa Granada facilities the best, but it is near almost nothing, the local supermarket felt unsafe, and there is nowhere to walk a dog. Opinions on those or similar properties are especially welcome.
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
One strategy is to get a month-to-month place and look around. You're asking specific questions about specific apartment buildings which I doubt many folks here have experience with. The peninsula is a helluva place to find an apartment right now.

I work in Palo Alto, but I have colleagues that drive in from Lafayette (East Bay), Tracey(!), Santa Cruz, Mill Valley, and the like. Just crazy stupid stuff. I live near Half Moon Bay, which is not a bad PA commute. I see some $2100/mon 2BR condos in the hmbreview.com right now -- if they are the condos I'm thinking of, they're not fancy at all but you save $1000 and get to live near a cold inhospitable beach.
posted by troyer at 3:13 PM on February 26, 2014

A few years ago I lived in "downtown" San Mateo near the Metropolitan and really liked the general area. It seemed pretty dog-friendly to me (lots of people walking their dogs for sure) and 3rd/4th ave really aren't THAT major or busy for roads out there. It's also really safe, though the parts closer to 101 may look a bit more run down. I walked around plenty of times by myself late at night and never felt like I was putting myself at risk. The big park is really nice and I bet your dog would love running around there.
posted by joan_holloway at 3:13 PM on February 26, 2014

Do you have a down payment? You can buy a pretty nice house with a yard around here with a mortgage payment less than $3500 a month. I'm in Sunnyvale, walking distance to downtown.
posted by w0mbat at 3:19 PM on February 26, 2014

Please memail me.
posted by not.so.hip at 3:46 PM on February 26, 2014

I lived at the Aegena in San Jose and Villa Camino in Sunnyvale each for several years. I never had problems at either, though I would say overall the Sunnyvale location was better/quieter/probably safer. My neighbor's son had his car broken into in San Jose, but it was clear that it happened because people knew him and it wasn't random (no other cars were touched). There are lots of little places like that around (there's a nicer place across the street from the Aegena which I think is more upscale)...I would also try to find a short term deal as a temporary home while you actually go out and look at what's available (and try your commute from various locations). Nthing the house idea if you can afford it, though it will probably be a cramped little place compared to what you're used to. This is why I left the area.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 4:14 PM on February 26, 2014

Is there any particular reason you're not looking to rent a house instead of an apartment? You'll have more options and can look at the "downtown" areas of Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Mountain View which are pretty walkable and dog-friendly.

ETA: Something along these lines would seem to meet your needs?
posted by komlord at 4:23 PM on February 26, 2014

I'm extremely familiar with the Santa Clara neighborhood you mentioned. I've never once felt unsafe, and I'm really jittery about these things. It's a very family and pet oriented neighborhood, and there are quite a few apartment/condo complexes nearby like Mansion Grove and Bella Vista that will meet your space and budget criteria. Feel free to MeMail me if you'd like!

I don't know where your new workplace will be, but I would definitely try to find a place as close as possible. A friend recently relocated from the East Coast to here for a job in Mountain View, and she's renting a place in San Jose for now. It is technically a 45min commute, but it takes her an hour, sometimes longer, if she tries to get in by 9am. The commute really made her question her decision to move here, and she's looking for a new place in Sunnyvale.
posted by peripathetic at 4:45 PM on February 26, 2014

My experience is that car break-ins are common all over the bay area. Under no circumstances leave wallets, laptops, etc. in your car.
posted by wintersweet at 7:17 PM on February 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just came in to tell you that the Metropolitan has a large dog park nearby called Seal Point Dog park. It's mostly dirt and you'd probably want to drive your dog there, but it is large enough for a 50 lb dog to get his ya-yas out. Also, it's right on the Bay Trail, which is bike-rideable for miles and miles along the inner bay.
posted by choochoo at 9:15 PM on February 26, 2014

The car break in thing. I think we all have a story. Your car should be denuded of ANYTHING that anyone might think would be valuable. Hell, I'd even leave the ashtray open to show that there's nothing in it!

After that, just know that one morning you may find one of your windows broken. It happens and it's not the end of the world.

I'm going to nth trying to find a house rather than an apartment complex. It seems to me that your dough should go pretty far.

I'd look north of Palo Alto, rather than south, it'll be a reverse commute (if there really is such a thing.)

Half Moon Bay is God's Country.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:53 AM on February 27, 2014

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