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Menlo Park council approves Sobrato office complex

While the Menlo Park City Council didn't take action on every item on the agenda for its Aug. 19 meeting, there were still plenty of actions taken:

A 5-0 vote gave a green light to the 259,920-square-foot Sobrato office complex consisting of two four-story buildings on a 13-acre site at 151 Commonwealth Drive, in the industrial M-2 zone.

Representatives from several local nonprofits, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula and InnVision, spoke about the Sobrato Organization's financial support of their programs. The council thanked the company for its community service, but also asked to increase the public benefits in exchange for approval of the office complex.

The Sobrato Organization agreed to pay Menlo Park a minimum of $100,000 annually for 10 years – increased at the council's request from the original amount of $75,000 -- along with one-time payments of $150,000 for the city's capital improvement fund and $1.85 million for the below-market-rate housing fund. In addition, the company and the city will both contribute to replacing an aging water main that crosses the site.

Construction of the complex is expected to be finished in 2015.

Payday loans

Another 5-0 vote declared payday and auto title loan businesses to be public nuisances that weren't welcome in Menlo Park. Council members instituted a moratorium two years ago on such businesses, even though none exist in Menlo Park. The council's vote on Aug. 19 made the ban permanent.

Bostic Avenue

Although not a formal action, the council indicated its support for renaming a portion of Hamilton Avenue after the late Hattie Bostic. Belle Haven residents and members of the Mt. Olive Apostolic Original Holy Church of God, which was founded by Ms. Bostic, spoke about the inspiration she had given the community through her sermons as well as the crime prevention, affordable housing and youth programs she created.

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