Menlo Park: City receives plans for 16-bed boarding house


A three-story, 16-bedroom boarding house on Willow Road could be in Menlo Park's future, according to a proposal recently submitted to the Menlo Park Planning Department.

A 6,274-square-foot building would be constructed at 555 to 557 Willow Road, the site of Menlo BBQ restaurant. The plan is to keep the restaurant but remove an unused office building. Eight parking spaces would be added to the six there, resulting in a total of 14 spots.

Each unit in the boarding house would have a bedroom and bathroom, with a shared kitchen and common area, according to Menlo Park senior planner, Kyle Perata. He said he is not aware of any other such facility in the city.

The proposal comes roughly two years after an earlier iteration of the project was reviewed by the city's Planning Commission. At the time, owner Reza Valiyee and architect David Claydon proposed two separate buildings, each with five units.

The project has been modified in response to criticisms from the commissioners. Now, the plans appear to be more clear about the owner's intent to rent the units for single-room occupancy and to completely demolish the office building on the site, rather than leaving the remains of the building as a foundation for the new structure.

The owner, Mr. Valiyee, owns apartments and boarding houses in Berkeley and has in the past been criticized for maintaining facilities that did not meet the city's housing codes, according to Tenants Together, a California tenants' advocacy organization.

The Planning Commission could be the final decision-making body to give permission for the project, Mr. Perata said, though the commission has not yet determined a meeting date to study or review the proposal.

People may submit comments or questions to Kyle Perata at (650) 330-6721 or by Thursday, Sept. 1, for staff to consider before they prepare a report on the project.


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Like this comment
Posted by Walter
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 20, 2016 at 10:31 am

Thank goodness something constructive if finally being proposed for this site. Willow Road serves as a Gateway to the community. For the many several years, this property has to be the worst looking one along Willow Road. The abandoned office building looks like it is ready to fall down, thus having something fresh, new and helpful to the community is a step in the right direction. In a word, bravo.

Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 23, 2016 at 9:41 am

I just hope he will be a better Landlord in Menlo Park! He has had so many challenges in the East Bay. It's amazing that Menlo Park with all the money has let Willowv Rd and El Camino look awful for many years.

Like this comment
Posted by Willow Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Sep 2, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Looks like this will be our new Red Light District.

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