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March 17, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Menlo Park: Condo plan comes to council Menlo Park: Condo plan comes to council (March 17, 2004)

By Rebecca Wallace
Almanac Staff Writer

A plan to build a 36-unit, three-story condominium building in place of the Gaylord restaurant on El Camino Real in Menlo Park is coming before the members of the City Council to gauge their opinion.

Proposed by former 49er and Stanford quarterback John Paye, the project at 1702-1706 El Camino would include demolishing both the Indian restaurant and a neighboring small office building, city associate planner Jeffrey Smith wrote in a staff report. The condominium structure would include an underground parking garage and five units sold at below-market rate.

For this project, Mr. Paye needs several approvals from the city, including approval to merge those two land parcels with the neighboring one at 1704 El Camino, which contains the Red Cottage Inn; a development permit, and environmental review.

The project also has a second phase: Mr. Paye is anticipating that the 27-room Red Cottage Inn would be expanded in about 10 years to 41 rooms. To that end, he's requesting that the city now grant him development rights to give him permission for that future construction, Mr. Smith wrote.

Because the city typically expects an applicant to provide a public benefit in exchange for such rights, Mr. Paye said he is prepared to guarantee to continue to pay the city a steady amount of hotel taxes from the Red Cottage Inn for the next 10 years, even if the inn closes or experiences a drop in business, Mr. Smith wrote.

Mr. Paye would match the average amount of hotel taxes that the inn has paid in the last 10 years, not including the atypical "boom" years of 1999 and 2000 in the average, Mr. Smith wrote. That annual amount would be $35,544.

The council is scheduled to discuss the plan at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 16, in the Burgess Recreation Center at 700 Alma St. Because the meeting is a study session, no formal action -- only broad-based direction -- is allowed.

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