Instead of a mid-day coffee break, people who work at a the Menlo Business Park on O'Brien Drive in eastern Menlo Park may soon be opting for a quick dive at the office cluster's employee-only rooftop pool.
On July 25, the Menlo Park Planning Commission approved a proposal by Tarlton Properties to build a rooftop pool, fitness center, yoga studio area and cafe at an office building at 1430 O'Brien Drive in the city Park's M-2 area east of U.S. 101.
The two-story building was first constructed in the 1980s and Tarlton Properties now plans to remodel the 66,000 square-foot structure and expand it by 19,000 square feet, according to Susan Eschweiler, principal architect at DES, the architectural firm designing the project.
A 47-foot-tall tower for stairs and an elevator would also be installed.
The building is an office and research and development space for Tarlton Properties' "Menlo Park Labs," which houses life science tech startups that have outgrown smaller work spaces, Ms. Eschweiler said.
The project includes a "below market rate" housing payment of $228,070 to the city, and involves removal of two heritage pear trees.
The expansion would add square footage without adding on-site parking, creating a potential parking crunch, which could be "problematic," Commissioner John Onken said. A traffic reduction program, which includes shuttle service, bike storage and subsidized transit, could cut the daily trip count to the building by 16 trips in the morning and 13 in the afternoon, according to the staff report.
The fitness center would be available only to employees of the business park, but the cafe would be open to the public, open for lunch only. Both would mostly be used by employees at nearby offices who likely wouldn't drive there, according to city staff, and people would travel there at times that differ from regular office hours, thereby reducing the potential increase in parking demand.
"I love this project," Commissioner Andrew Barnes said. "I think it's a great vision for what this area is wanting to become."
"I don't think it's going to be easy," he added. "I hope you get it right."