Menlo Park: Feldman's Books, Gentry magazine buildings up for sale, redevelopment


Two of Menlo Park's oldest commercial buildings – the current locations of Feldman's Books (1170 El Camino Real) and Gentry magazine offices (1162 El Camino) – are up for sale and advertised for potential redevelopment.

The Feldman's Books building, constructed in 1905, was once home to the Menlo French Laundry, according to "Images of America: Menlo Park," by Janet and Reg McGovern and Betty and Nicholas Veronico. The building housing Gentry's offices, built in 1910, was once home to the Menlo Meat Market, according to the Menlo Park Historical Association.

The listing on says the property's tenants are on short-term leases. The property, being sold as a package deal, would "provide an opportunity for an investor to procure an extremely well located retail/office property to either re-tenant, owner-occupy or redevelop the parcel," the posting says.

According to the listing, the two buildings could be redeveloped into an 11,303-square-foot mixed-use property, with a 60 foot maximum height limit if the developer provides a public benefit approved by the city.

Jeffrey Ida, the listing broker, said the property has generated some interest, but declined further comment. The property is owned by four siblings of the Delagnes family, and Kim Delagnes, wife of part-owner Jon Delagnes, confirmed that there have been a number of interested potential buyers.

She said the family has commissioned a report on the historical status of the buildings, which is expected to be released Friday, Feb. 5, and could provide further information on the kinds of protections or restrictions the buildings would be subject to.

The ideal buyer of the property, she said, would update the buildings and retain the tenants who want to stay.

According to Steve Feldman, who works at the bookstore with the shop's owner, his brother Jack, the building has been up for sale for about a year, with fewer buyers looking at the property recently. "They don't seem to be trying as hard as they were six months ago" to sell it, he said.

Elsie Floriani, a co-founder and executive editor of Gentry, said the lease on the building has been extended "well into" 2016. "We'd love to stay here because it's been our home for so long," she said.

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11 people like this
Posted by westmenlo
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 3, 2016 at 1:20 pm

can someone please explain why these actual occupied buildings with actual running businesses are being targeted for "redevelopment" when we have vast tracts of open dilapidated vacant lots that one would imagine would be ripe for "redevelopment"??? of course the building is privately owned and the owner can do what they want - sort of - they still need permission from the city to do something like this. personally I think we need to stop dragging our feet on the redevelopment of the El Camino Wastelands - if traffic is an issue, build a bypass tunnel under Menlo Park (only half joking).

9 people like this
Posted by Gern
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 3, 2016 at 2:30 pm

Will we soon be adding Feldman's Books, Gentry Magazine and Guild Theatre to the sad list that includes Sunset Magazine, Park Theater, Roger Reynolds Nursery, Foster's Freeze, Iberia Restaurant, Jan's Deli, Mike's Cafe, Wessex Books and a host of other businesses which served and defined Menlo Park for decades? The exodus over the past year or two alone has been remarkable, and will only continue as our downtown is cleaved and redeveloped per the DSP. We'll get some new businesses, to be sure, but I still maintain the promised vibrancy will amount to little more than increased traffic and, if the remaining retailers are lucky, longer lines at fewer stores. But I'm a curmudgeon that way and realize many of you will welcome the changes, whatever they bring.


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Posted by Medfor
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Feb 3, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Perihan public record the property taxes have not been paid I this property since 2007

5 people like this
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 3, 2016 at 3:22 pm

Why is it only homeowners can sell their homes for "redevelopment" at outrageous prices. When owner of commercial properties want to do this they are vilified.

Business are leaving / closing in MP because the rents are way to high for the amount foot traffic in MP.

10 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 3, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Sad to see another historic piece of old Menlo going to development. Before you know it, there will be nothing left of early Menlo Park. It's losing its distinctiveness and character.

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Posted by George Fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2016 at 7:28 pm

The Almanac article omitted the stated listing price of $3.8 Million for the 8,373 SF lot on El Camino Real. The article admitted the property “could be redeveloped into an 11,303 square foot mixed use property with a 60 foot maximum height limit if the developer provides a public benefit approved by the city.”

4 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2016 at 10:53 pm

Hopefully the city gov't realizes the importance of protecting city history. The Feldman Books building is one the few pre 1906 earthquake buildings in Menlo Park.

5 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 3, 2016 at 11:16 pm

1170 ECR aka the 1905 Martin J. McCarthy Groceries is eligible for listing in the National Register at the local level. Time for someone to file for that status. And for the other buildings listed below.

"An historical resources survey of Menlo Park in 1990 found two buildings in the Plan area individually eligible for listing in the National Register at the federal level (status code “3S”); the 1899 John Duff House at 849 El Camino Real, and the 1917 Oasis at 241 El Camino Real. This survey also identified the following three buildings in the Plan area to be individually eligible for listing in the National Register at the local level (status code of “5S1”): 1) the 1910 Doughty’s Meat Market/Kate Taylor Interiors at 1162 El Camino Real; 2) the 1905 Martin J. McCarthy
Groceries at 1170 El Camino Real; and 3) the 1925 K.L. Plumbing/ Guy Plumbing at 1265 El Camino Real." Web Link

By the way major developer and property manager Marcus & Millichap are representing the sellers. George Marcus, the Marcus in the firm, owns Evvia Restaurant in Palo Alto. Marcus, who has a home in Los Altos Hills, controls a $1.9 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Web Link

13 people like this
Posted by Dagwood
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 4, 2016 at 9:14 am

Feldman's Books is one of the handful of high-quality used books stores left not only in this area but California as a whole. The selection and prices of their books is comparable to the best used book stores, such as Bell's Books in Palo Alto. Menlo Park is very lucky to have such a business, operated by its owners out of love of books and the unique pleasures of well-stocked and well-run bricks-and-mortar bookstores. Every effort should be made for Feldman's to stay in place by being recognized as the valuable cultural and community resource it is.

12 people like this
Posted by former Menlo Park resident
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm

I like old books, but have never managed to be at Feldman's at a time when they are open. Gentry, well, don't get me started. I do not know the family that owns this property. No dog in this fight, in other words.

The Delagnes family has evidently been a reasonable steward of the property, as both Feldman's and Gentry are long-term tenants. Probably the property was acquired by the previous generation as an investment, and the current owners would prefer to be free of the headaches. As a descendant of someone who never met a vacant building he didn't think he could buy and hold for a profit, I have some sympathy for that viewpoint. I am also sympathetic to the desire to retain some of the old character. As I understand the story, the family is looking to sell the property, not redevelop it themselves. If there is a strong desire to preserve those buildings from redevelopment, now is the time for people who feel that way to put their money where their mouth is and buy the property before one of those greedy developers does. But punishing the current owners simply because a previous generation happened to buy property with some character and didn't redevelop it doesn't seem appropriate.

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Posted by gunste
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Feb 4, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Last week I went to "downtown" Menlo Park looking for a Jewelry store. I remember that there used to be two. Nothing?! Tried Los Altos, but did not like their offering. Solution: a new wrist band for my watch for $22.83 from China,including shipping. - Going "upscale" does not add much for the average shopper.

1 person likes this
Posted by stella
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 4, 2016 at 5:51 pm

“A generation which ignores history has no past and no future”
Robert Heinlein, Science Fiction Writer

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Posted by protect local stores
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 5, 2016 at 9:16 am

I'll bet those sites will be filled with offices, the darling of developers these days. The problem is that once these are built, it's unlikely they would ever become stores again. We will need to go to other cities more and more for businesses whose evictions our city hall has promoted through its laissez faire zoning and increased allowances for offices.

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Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 5, 2016 at 11:35 am


A brand new Jewelry store, Cici Wong opened on SC last year. Sorry you missed it. There are a few others downtown as well and one on Sand Hill and even more in Palo Alto and RWC. There are also other place to buy a watch band, there is even a watch repair in Safeway.

There is nothing in MP that is "going upscale". SC is filled with mom and pop's and 5 thrift stores. No upscale chains in sight.

2 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm

As I mentioned in the last thread, what you're all missing is that the sites don't work for development because of parking requirements in planning for new floor area. So it's silly for anybody to buy the sites assuming that they can tear anything down and re-build while turning a profit.

So the DSP has actually saved these buildings by default, although Gentry magazine may be replace with something a bit more useful. And isn't Gentry an OFFICE by the way?

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2016 at 10:23 am

I'm worried about Feldman's. I grew up shopping there and I have friends who look forward to spending time there when they visit from out if town. Is it premature to wonder if they could sublet space in Kepler's.

I'm with some of you on Gentry. Pffft. It's been the butt of jokes since its inception.

1 person likes this
Posted by srsly
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 10, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Why are you badmouthing Gentry?
You should probably take a look at the ABAG site to see the plan for the El Camino corridor. Yes -it's coming to snarky Menlo Park where "your ranch-style home is just a over-priced one".

2 people like this
Posted by NPD
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 22, 2016 at 2:11 pm

I am leaving Menlo Park, the city where I grew up for 51 years, because I am sick of seeing the charm of it disappear. Tired of seeing Foster Freeze disappear, sick of seeing Sunset blow away. Tired of seeing names of everything at Burgess Park, and Burgess Theater gone.

Feldman's is the last bit of charm. Take that away and there is nothing left.

The Menlo Park that I grew up in is gone.

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

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