"Stanford/Arrillaga project leaders did not listen to the objections of Menlo Park neighborhoods — instead of reducing the traffic and safety concerns, they have increased it," said Save Menlo spokeswoman Perla Ni in an email to the Almanac. "This is the largest medical office complex that has ever been proposed for Menlo Park and now, they are proposing to add more housing on top of it."
Save Menlo, a grassroots effort to oppose the proposed plan, met with Stanford University representatives on Jan. 18. During the meeting, the group reviewed the revised plans the university submitted to Menlo Park last week.
The project will replace car lots along 300 to 500 El Camino Real with a mixed-use complex of 96,000 square feet of medical offices, 133,500 square feet of offices, 10,000 square feet of retail, and housing.
The latest changes propose adding 15 to 30 apartments for a maximum total of 150 units. Architects also modified the public plaza on Middle Avenue with what Stanford described as "bicycle and pedestrian friendly improvements."
The proposal remains consistent with the baseline requirements of the specific plan, according to city staff, and won't trigger public benefit discussions. That leaves Menlo Park without much control over the project since it won't require approvals for anything beyond the Planning Commission's signing off on architectural details.
Some city officials, including planning commissioners and council members, have not been shy about expressing disappointment with the project. They said that throughout creation of the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan, Stanford appeared to support developing the empty car lots as senior housing. Instead, the university is now forging ahead with a project composed primarily of office space, which is expected to add heavy traffic along the city's main corridor.
On Monday, Jan. 28, the Planning Commission will hold a study session for the project. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St.
Go to tinyurl.com/MP-arrillaga to review the plans on the city's website. The latest version should be posted by Friday, Jan. 25.