Menlo Park and the Bohannon Development Co. have concluded preliminary negotiations over a proposal for a nearly 1 million-square-foot office/hotel project near Marsh Road and Bayfront Expressway, giving residents their first look at what the city might receive in exchange for major zoning concessions.
Among other things, the Bohannon company has agreed to offset the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the project, to reduce vehicle trips by 17 percent, and to provide monetary benefits.
Released late Thursday, the "term sheet" outlines a list of conditions the Bohannon company has agreed to, if the City Council approves the project. They include:
■ A total of $1 million to fund city projects in the nearby Belle Haven neighborhood, in Bedwell Bayfront Park, or in other city recreation facilities;
■ Increasing the tax to guests at the new hotel by 1 percent over the city's current rate, raising an additional $100,000 to $150,000 for city coffers;
■ Hiring priority for Belle Haven residents interested in construction jobs at the site, as well as jobs once the hotel and offices are up and running;
■ A series of terms related to traffic, conservation, and greenhouse gas emissions. The Bohannon company has agreed to completely offset the carbon emissions generated by the operation of the buildings, to reduce vehicle trips to and from the site by 17 percent below the total trips projected by the environmental impact report, and to build the offices to meet LEED Gold certification, and the hotel to meet LEED Silver certification.
The Bohannon company would have to begin building the hotel within eight years of the date of approval, and the first office building within 15 years of the date of approval.
The Bohannon company has already spent over $7 million to develop project plans and apply to the city, and on communication efforts.
A financial analysis commissioned by the city concluded that the project would involve considerable risk to the developer, and might not be financially feasible.
The City Council will review the term sheet at its April 6 meeting. It could elect to proceed with the approval process, or it could ask for more concessions from the Bohannon company.
The council has already decided that the size of the project -- three office buildings up to 140 feet and a 230-room hotel, along with several large parking garages -- would not be a deal-breaker.
The city estimated that the project would generate $1.6 million per year for the city's general fund.
To see the term sheet, click here.
The city has also released a final environmental review of the project, with an expanded consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and other issues, plus renderings of what the buildings might look like from U.S. 101 and the Marsh Road overpass. To view the report, click here.
A more comprehensive story will run in the March 31 issue of The Almanac.