Monday: Planning Commission could approve boutique hotel in Menlo Park


A new boutique hotel proposed for a site on El Camino Real in Menlo Park could be approved tonight.

The Menlo Park Planning Commission could decide on Monday, April 18, whether it should approve a four-story, 61-room boutique hotel, with a ground-floor restaurant and bar, located on a half-acre site at 1400 El Camino Real, roughly at the corner of Glenwood Avenue and El Camino.

The hotel, proposed by Pollock Financial Group, would also have a "special functions" room, an outdoor plaza with a large heritage oak tree, and an exercise area.

As part of the decision, the Planning Commission would have to decide on the amount of parking that should be required for the hotel and restaurant, and whether to allow live entertainment, alcohol sales and outdoor seating there.

The commission would also decide whether to accept a payment of $268,076 as the developer's contribution to the city's below-market-rate housing fund, the financial equivalent of the developer's requirement to provide roughly four-fifths of a below-market-rate housing unit.

Finally, if the commission votes to approve the project, it would decide whether the 12 percent tax that hotel guests would pay to the city is eligible to be considered a public benefit.

With the current proposal, the hotel would have 75 parking spots in an underground garage and bike parking. For big events, the developers said they've worked it out so guests could use the parking lot of Language Pacifica across Glenwood Avenue.

Live entertainment is proposed for both indoor and outdoor venues at the hotel, and performances could be weekly. Events would comply with the city's noise ordinance and outdoor events would conclude by 10 p.m.

Previous discussions last November with the city's Planning Commission included debate over the developer's claim that revenue generated by the city's transient occupancy tax would meet the company's public benefit requirement.

Jeff Pollock, vice president of Pollock Financial Group, said the hotel is expected to generate $8.5 million in transit occupancy tax revenue over 10 years, and approximately $600,000 in its first year.

The developer also proposes installing a dedicated right-turn lane from Glenwood Avenue onto El Camino Real, new curbs, gutters and landscaping.

In response to some planning commissioners' comments on the structure's proposed aesthetics, city staff say, the style of the building has not changed much, but some architectural changes in the hotel's designs have been made.

Read the staff report on the project, attend the meeting at 7 p.m. at the City Council Chambers at 701 Laurel St. in Menlo Park, or watch it online.

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2 people like this
Posted by Samia
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm

This seems fine overall, but why does it have to be so ugly. Hopefully the PC pushes back on aesthetics.

3 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2016 at 2:24 pm

No giveaways from the city. Full taxes and special fees from the developer. Better yet, don't allow it. Too much traffic, too much noise, and not enough parking.

And where's the heritage oak coming from.

2 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 18, 2016 at 3:04 pm

So, its OK that Palo Alto and Redwood City fully build out (and contribute to traffic), but MP should not develop. How does that logic work?

6 people like this
Posted by MPer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2016 at 3:30 pm

I like the empty lot, it looks nice. Let's keep it that way, and the other empty lots as well. That's why it costs so much to live in MP, so we can keep out dusty empty lots and chainlink fences.

8 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 18, 2016 at 3:34 pm

There goes my AirBnB income!

1 person likes this
Posted by Louise68
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 18, 2016 at 3:35 pm

How can our city justify adding even more people (in this case -- hotel guests )who will use more of our too-scarce water?

Using figures from a paper published in 5-2014 by the University of Nevada in Las Vegas -- "Water Use on the Las Vegas Strip: Assessments and Suggestions for Conservation":

Web Link

For average use per guest per night, if you do some simple calculations, assuming an 80% occupancy rate, this new hotel will use between 32,000 and 42,000 cubic feet of water per month, which ranges from 53 to 70 times what one single-family home here in Menlo Park is allocated every month.

You cannot drink money.

Please remember that!

10 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2016 at 4:09 pm

@Louise68 -- You're right. Menlo Park would be MUCH better off with undeveloped, weed-choked empty lots instead...

2 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 18, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Regarding water, we should push our Council to be the first 'Toilet to Tap' community on the Peninsula. Water recycling's come a long way. Can't be any worse than Daisani?

1 person likes this
Posted by Steve Taffee
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 18, 2016 at 6:14 pm

We should prioritize affordable housing over tax revenue.

4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 18, 2016 at 10:20 pm

That is one ugly building!

Like this comment
Posted by Ed Schor
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 19, 2016 at 4:50 pm

I don't understand letting developers donate for affordable housing rather than building affordable housing. Where is that affordable housing supposed to located? Who will build it. This seems like the city is creating a savings account for affordable housing that will never get used.

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

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