IT wasn't really a different scene at the Milpitas City Council last week as our elected officials made some very generous gestures to a pair of developers. The possible change from the past is that the numbers keep getting bigger.

In a push to get the Apton Plaza Apartments going on a one and a half acre triangle of land just north of the new city library, the council agreed to provide a $4.4-million loan instead of just giving the project some money to provide "affordable" apartments. A Roseville builder, USA Properties, says all of the 93 units in a three stacker atop a parking garage will be affordable through state tax credits. The city staff said it wasn't a good deal because the loan would only get paid back in a timely manner if the project was a success, and recommended denial.

The mayor agreed that Milpitas is getting an "overabundance" of below-market affordable units, which have gotten subsidized with grants from the Milpitas Redevelopment Agency. However, in wanting to spur this complex toward fruition, he suggested that future developments be given an option of paying the city a fee so as to avoid adding a percentage of below-market subsidized units.

This should make some developers happier and theoretically up-grade the housing stock with higher-priced units that might attract executives rather than the working class.

At the same meeting where the council took a lead from the federal government in the loan bailout, the welcome mat was spread


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for the possible emergence of a new kind of up-scale apartment. This apartment complex at Great Mall Parkway and South Main Street is a build out of the 137 Centria West condo units completed last year.

Newport Beach's Lyon builders will construct 381 additional units of multi-family apartments based on the request granted by the council last Tuesday. This represents an added 54 units in a new configuration that will feature a rooftop pool on the seventh story above a parking structure. The builder will also be let off the hook to build 67 units of subsidized below-market units, agreed to last year. The executive-style architectural treatment will be different than anything Milpitas has seen heretofore, it was promised.

In its eagerness to keep the growth in the Midtown "transit" corridor, the council proved itself again a very friendly, accommodating environment for developers. With the recession and the need for economic turnarounds, no one is really complaining.