News

Saturday: Stanford holds 'open house' on its proposed El Camino development in Menlo Park

 

Stanford University is holding an "open house" event Saturday, where the public is invited to ask questions and make comments about the university's revised plans for a 459,000-square-foot office, housing and retail development along El Camino Real in Menlo Park.

The event will run from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, at Encinal Elementary School, 195 Encinal Ave. in Atherton.

At the event, visitors can check in at different stations, where there will be posters and Stanford staff available to provide explanations and answer questions, said Sydnee Journel, Stanford's assistant director of community relations.

Each station will deal with a different aspect of the project, such as landscaping, retail, office space, circulation and access, and a planned public plaza space, she said. Attendees will be asked to provide feedback via surveys and comment cards.

Stanford is now calling the proposed development Middle Plaza, after a plaza planned for the project at 500 El Camino Real near Middle Avenue. The entire project will occupy 8.4 acres running from the Stanford Park Hotel (100 El Camino Real) in the south to Big 5 Sporting Goods (700 El Camino) in the north.

Stanford's revised plans would increase housing to 215 rental apartments, reduce office space to 145,000 square feet, and retain retail at about 10,000 square feet.

The plaza area would be nearly twice as large and occupy about half an acre, the university said. The design of the project would be more aligned with Menlo Park's "village character," Mr. Elliot said.

Stanford has a website, middleplaza.org, devoted to the project.

The Encinal School event will also showcase poster projects by students in two third-grade classes at Laurel School. The students were tasked to create their own plans for what Middle Plaza should look like.

Comments

4 people like this
Posted by Maximize profit
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2015 at 8:59 pm

The key is to maximize profit for Stanford -taking into account long-term PR and additional profit down the road.


2 people like this
Posted by Big brother
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 4, 2015 at 10:42 pm

And let's propagandize the school children while we're at it. Because no one has any problem with exploiting third graders on behalf of a private developer. Devious and very clever!


16 people like this
Posted by Joe Grass
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 5, 2015 at 1:17 am

459,000 square feet! Wake up Menlo Park, this is what Measure M was about, and Stanford knows it, and is trying to mitigate community backlash. Hence the scaling back of the project's office space. Along with the other 2 giant projects proposed along El Camino (Derry Lane/Fosters Freeze area, and the old Cadillac dealer area), how can we handle more traffic? Menlo Park is totally grid locked now.....I can barely even CROSS El Camino Real to drive my kids carpool to Hillview Middle School.

Opposing this KIND of project is not being "anti development". This kind of project will generate maximum profit for the developer, maximum traffic impact to the city, and minimum sales tax revenue for Menlo Park. We need hotels (high local sales tax generator) and low cost housing, not office parks.

Specifically for this project: the housing that Stanford added is a step in the right direction, but how about more low cost units, and a smaller scale project? And 140,000 square feet of office space is a big negative impact for the city (high traffic vs low tax revenue). Why not make that part a hotel? Like the boutique hotel proposed at the old Shell Station at Val Paraiso/El Camino?

At least we have Stanford's attention. I would ask people to please not give up, keep politely engaging, talk to your neighbors, and be vocal toward your city council now. And when the Environmental Impact Report comes out, let's talk about traffic and other impacts.


10 people like this
Posted by Westside Trucker
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 5, 2015 at 10:16 am

Ok, shall we just continue to look at rental fences and watch the weeds grow for another 10 years ?


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 5, 2015 at 10:41 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

In my opinion Stanford has been an incredibly good community partner. Stanford properties already contribute the bulk of the city hotel taxes. I know of no other developer that has gone to the lengths that Stanford has to reach out to the community, listen to their concerns and change their plans.

Measure M failed - by a large margin.

The Downtown Specific Plan is the law regarding what can and cannot be built.

Further restricting what Stanford proposes to build could easily result in a massive law suit against the city.

And remember that Stanford could easily build the entire project as a property tax exempt development.


10 people like this
Posted by Lifer in Menlo
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm

As always Im stupid. I'm in shock by the audacity of Stanford employees pretending they are Menlo Park residents that care about the children
This is not just a "Facebook" media show. It's a town with families that have been here for many generations. Please disclose if you work or build for our evil overlord Stanford. In our two generations the lies are nonstop. Read the book written by a Stanford professor about the killing of Mrs Stanford. Nothing has changed.
2 ull time employees paid for by Menlo park only job was to defeat Measure M why does that not cause an uproar. You did not win. You cheated as usual


7 people like this
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 5, 2015 at 1:08 pm

to all the Stanford Haters including @lifer in MP

Do you all realize that the ONLY reason that your homes have appreciated the way they have and the area is so desirable is because of STANFORD.


5 people like this
Posted by Judith Morley
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 5, 2015 at 1:49 pm

TRAFFIC TRAFFIC TRAFFIC. ITS THE TRAFFIC, Stupid.


1 person likes this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 5, 2015 at 2:36 pm

really? is a registered user.

Just remember, it's a 'village.'


4 people like this
Posted by Wake Up Call
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 5, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Thank you "Joe Grass", You are right. Stanford's meeting tonight will not include a way for attendees to express their views with the other attendees by way of a microphone. Tonight is a "we hear you and we acknowledge your opinion." Why are thee meetings being held in Atherton and not at the City's Recreation center?
No changes will be made to the project simply because Stanford holds these meetings. The purpose of these meetings is out of the Development Text Book. The only changes made to the project will be based on Stanford's bottom line or if the council goes back and revises the Specific Plan in several areas. The entire site should be housing and the council (Keith, Cline, Ohtaki, Fergusson & Cohen) had an opportunity to zone the Stanford property for housing.
In January 2012, the City was forced to settle a law suit filed by housing advocates who charged the City with negligence for having an outdated housing element in the City's General Plan. The settlement forced the City to identify 1,900 new housing sites. Do you think the council could have recognized the Stanford land as being the perfect site for new housing? From January 2012 through all of 2014, the council could have revised the Specific Plan and forced Stanford to build housing. Gone were Cohen and Fergusson but Mueller and Carlton joined their pro development colleagues, leaving us with two massive office complexes on an already congested road.
MP needs housing, especially for all the employees who will be working at the office buildings approved by this council. Without housing for Menlo Park employees, the traffic will come to a dead stop. The Sunset Magazine site is the next possible office park.
Redwood City council election surprised everyone when long time pro development council member Roseanne Foust lost her seat. It's time for MP residents to take back the town.


9 people like this
Posted by D.K.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 6, 2015 at 4:25 am

@wakeupcall - wasn't it Mueller who told Stanford to redesign their project last year so it's impacts fell in line with the Specifc Plan? Read the article in the link below:

Web Link

You seem focused on politics and election slogans more than policy and facts.



Like this comment
Posted by 1999
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 6, 2015 at 7:30 am

The last time an incumbent lost re-election in Redwood City was sixteen years ago.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 6, 2015 at 7:44 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Anyone who attended last night's open house would have been impressed with how well Stanford has listened to community concerns and continued to modify the project.

Thank you Stanford.


Like this comment
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 6, 2015 at 9:07 am

really? is a registered user.

'The Sunset Magazine site is the next possible office park.'

Wake Up Call: I think technically, Sunset Magazine is already an office park in private ownership.


8 people like this
Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 6, 2015 at 9:25 am

Stanford has been very responsive to resident and council comments. This latest project is MUCH better than where it started, and better than most such projects. The Post mis-quoted me as saying it was the best project in 15 years - not so fast guys. I said although the housing architecture could use refinement - more soul - the overall project now looks better than MOST of what I've seen built recently on the peninsula. Credit to Stanford.


7 people like this
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 6, 2015 at 9:44 am

I attended the open house last night and am impressed with how Stanford has responded to prior community feedback, the overall design, and how it was presented. I understand people who demonize Stanford will never be happy but I expect most residents will be pleased with all the changes Stanford has made. The city should ask Stanford to eliminate the blight now as the construction will not start for AT LEAST another year, e.g., fence screening, temporary landscaping along El Camino and possibly razing the vacant buildings.

(Note: the school children asked Stanford for the opportunity to make the drawings that were displayed; Stanford did not recruit them. So, Stanford supported a community-initiated project.)


Like this comment
Posted by Beth M
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 6, 2015 at 12:36 pm

I attended the open house last night. The new plans do look better, although 5 stories is still too big. They reduced office space and increased housing because the previous proposal failed the traffic study. They think they fixed that by 1) reducing office space, 2) making the rental apartments open only to Stanford faculty and staff.

It's true that the city does get much revenue from this mix, but as long as they pass the traffic requirements I suspect the city and most residents (those who won't be so badly affected by the increased traffic) will give the project a thumbs up.


Like this comment
Posted by beeswax
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Beth M wrote "making the rental apartments open only to Stanford faculty and staff"

I hadn't heard this. I was not able attend the meeting (or the one on Sat).

I'm NOT saying Ms. M is wrong, but just curious: can anyone else confirm this?


Like this comment
Posted by Win Derman
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 6, 2015 at 5:50 pm

I"m pleased that we may actually see some progress on cleaning up the blight left on El Camino by the former auto agencies

BUT, I remember going to the community meetings held by Stanford on the widening of Sand Hill Road.

Has any of you tried to take Sand Hill Road after 3 or 4 PM in the afternoon going west? Good luck! And, wait till the Stanford Hospital, Packard Hospital, and Stanford Shopping Center expansions are up and running.

I only hope the people who did the traffic study for the El Camino development are NOT the same people ho did the traffic study for Sand Hill Road.


Like this comment
Posted by need more
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 8, 2015 at 5:24 pm

The project IS better. It would be far better with an actual bike and pedestrian tunnel to Burgess, and a north/south bike path along the tracks.
The council needs to give itself the power to negotiate these things. They haven't finished the Specific Plan review.

@ Dana H Great point about blight. The city needs to implement a blight ordinance and enforce it. Stanford has recently cleaned up its property, but Greenheart's is a disgusting stick in the eye of Menlo Park (weeds everywhere, fence falling over).


1 person likes this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 8, 2015 at 5:40 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It would be far better with an actual bike and pedestrian tunnel to Burgess, and a north/south bike path along the tracks. "

Stanford does not own the parcel between its project property and the tracks and Stanford does not have access rights to the CalTrain right of way.

Stanford has made clear that they would help fund such a project but the project can ONLY be undertaken by the City - not by Stanford.


Like this comment
Posted by need more
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 13, 2015 at 5:41 pm

@ Peter C - yes, the city needs to make the undercrossing a project. It also needs to require negotiation for benefits from stanford.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 13, 2015 at 6:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"It also needs to require negotiation for benefits from stanford."

Stanford's proposal fully conforms with the requirements of the zoning established by the Downtown Specific Plan. And Stanford is not seeking a public benefit bonus so the City has no legal basis to require Stanford to do anything.


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

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