Tonight: Two downtown Menlo Park projects, public benefit discussions

Planning Commission to hold study sessions

Two downtown Menlo Park development proposals with different options for public benefits will be discussed during separate study sessions at tonight's Planning Commission meeting.

The first is a proposal to build a mixed-use complex that includes a three-story non-medical office building with five studio apartments, and a three-story, 10-unit apartment building over a two-level underground parking garage at 650-660 Live Oak Ave. -- the former site of a funeral home.

Developer 650 Live Oak LLC has suggested creating a 16-bed community garden that would be open to the public, and including one below-market-rate one-bedroom apartment in exchange for extra building density as defined by the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan. An analysis by consultants BAE Urban Economics estimated the value of the proposed public benefits at $391,000, according to the staff report.

The second proposal is by Lane Partners for a 25,156-square-foot, three-story office building on top of a two-level underground parking garage at 1020 Alma St.. Construction will require demolishing existing businesses from 1010 Alma St. to 1026 Alma St. That includes Los Salonez and Cindy Nails Spa II, as well as Iberia restaurant.

As for public benefits, Lane Partners has proposed building a retail/cafe pavilion with outdoor seating and a one-time payment to the city of $180,212. Although the developer also listed pedestrian paths and two small public plazas as potential benefits, the city's staff was not inclined to agree, as those amenities would mainly serve the tenants, according to the staff report. BAE estimated the value of those public amenities at $379,000, which does not include a valuation of the pedestrian paths.

No action will be taken tonight on either proposal, but project representatives will be there to answer questions from the commissioners.

The complete agenda is available on the city's website.

Tonight's meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Civic Center at 701 Laurel St. It will be streamed live online.

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1 person likes this
Posted by Just asking
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 18, 2015 at 2:19 pm

So how does a small cafe count as a benefit when a real restaurant is removed to build offices??

1 person likes this
Posted by Allan
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Palo Alto has been duped, swindled, ripped off, you name it, buy a complicit and/or ignorant city council that just cant say no to developers and their 'public benefit' deals. The public rarely benefits in these deals, the developer ALWAYS does. Don't get ripped off too.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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