Almanac

News - August 6, 2014

Commission eyes Greenheart proposal

by Sandy Brundage

The amount of office space vs. retail in Greenheart's proposed 420,000-square-foot project on El Camino Real at Oak Grove Avenue in Menlo Park may vary depending on what the market supports, according to the developer.

Greenheart's project includes two three-story office buildings with 210,000 square feet of commercial space, and up to 220 apartments on its nearly 7-acre site.

The commercial space would include at least 188,000 square feet of offices and 22,000 square feet set aside for other commercial use.

The residential building would include 7,000 square feet of retail. Ninety-five percent of the on-site parking would be provided by an underground garage with entrances off El Camino Real and Garwood Way.

The amount of retail vs. office space in the non-residential portion of the complex could change depending on market demands, said Greenheart representative Bob Burke, who explained that the company has earmarked 22,000 square feet within the two commercial buildings as "flex space."

The EIR will study the possible impacts from this space being retail or office, Mr. Burke said. "We are and will continue to market this ground floor space for retail uses but we have the ability for it to become office if retail use does not prove to be viable."

The downtown/El Camino Real specific plan noted that the site is not a strong retail location, according to Mr. Burke. "We want to increase the pedestrian activity along El Camino so we are going to try our best to make retail work. However, no one wants blacked out storefronts if the retail space does not prove viable."

The 7,000-square-feet of ground floor space in the residential portion of the project, along Oak Grove Avenue, is not flex space and will be reserved for retail, he said.

The company will provide public benefits for allowing a higher floor-area ratio and taller buildings. The two office buildings would reach 48 feet, with the top stories set back, a height comparable to other structures in the neighborhood, according to Greenheart.

The proposal also includes renovating Garwood Way and creating a bicycle/pedestrian path to connect with the Caltrain station on Merrill Street.

The Planning Commission was scheduled to outline the scope of an environmental impact report for the project on Aug. 4 after the Almanac's print deadline.

Go to tinyurl.com/green842 to see a staff report.

Check AlmanacNews.com for updates.

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