Menlo Park: 3-story, mixed-use building may arise downtown

Plans include space for retail, offices and housing

The single-story building running from 706 to 716 Santa Cruz Ave., which currently houses the Japanese restaurant Juban Yakiniku and Union Bank, may be demolished and replaced with a three-story, mixed-use building.

According to plans filed with the city of Menlo Park for the site at the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Chestnut Street, the new building would have retail space and parking on the ground floor, office space on the second floor, and four condominiums with private terraces on the third floor.

The plans, prepared by Hayes Group Architects, would remove two heritage trees currently in the parking lot behind the building.

According to Vasile Oros, manager of Menlo Park Ace Hardware and part-owner of the building, the project is still in an exploratory phase.

"We don't have very concrete answers because it's not something certain still," he said. A public meeting with neighboring businesses has been planned to get feedback on the project.

"We are happy with what is there," he said, but added that the Oros family is seeking to improve the site's "potential" and the downtown area overall.

"It could be a long shot," he said.

In the meantime, he said, he has opened White Oak Works, a furniture showroom at 714 Santa Cruz Ave., next to Ace Hardware. The business, according to its website, builds and sells furniture, cabinetry, doors, gates and mantles made from white oak.

Go to for more information.


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13 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 10, 2017 at 12:29 pm

This looks like a great upgrade! We keep the ground floor retail, add a few offices and much-needed housing, and we're talking 3 stories not 30.

This is how we should be building and modernizing downtown.

Now cue the "No Birds" because OMG 4 units of housing will cause traffic, ruin the schools, and it's something *different*...

1 person likes this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 10, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Any other three story buildings on Santa Cruz? What happens to the private parking lot at the rear of the buildings? The planned bldg will need substantial add'l parking.

10 people like this
Posted by Mike Keenly
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 10, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Great idea! Looking forward to hearing more about it.

14 people like this
Posted by Parking
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 10, 2017 at 3:30 pm

It seems like every downtown lot, whether large or small, is supposed to have its own parking if it wants to redevelop. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the city build a centralized parking garage?

The parking garage can be paid for by redevelopment fees in lieu of the property owner constructing parking on site. Then, the city can charge a monthly fee to the property owners for the number of spaces the property owners' tenants use.

One of the challenges of redevelopment is every property owner has to build a driveway and parking lot on site. If the parking has to be built underground, then the costs get really high.

7 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 10, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Agreed 100% re Parking - a couple of centralized garages (with a net capacity increase!) plus replacing quite a bit of the current parking canyons with mixed-use development would be a huge overall win for Menlo Park. A few large garages are more efficient, scalable, and easier to manage capacity and permits and such for. They can also be run by a for-profit entity, and can be priced to meet market demand (even dynamically!)

Like this comment
Posted by More retail, not less
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 10, 2017 at 8:46 pm

While upgrading a lot/building sounds reasonable, decreasing ANY street level retail square footage (restaurants ( love Juban), services, etc.) and replacing it with parking sounds like a horrible idea. Menlo Park needs more retail/ restaurants, not less. Rather than offices, how about a second story restaurant/bar with terraces? Or a yoga studio with a Sprouts or Jamba Juice/ Bear Bowls or some other healthy food option?

6 people like this
Posted by Parking
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 11, 2017 at 12:04 am

@More Retail

Even property owners would agree with you. I'm sure they hate the parking requirement too. Parking brings in zero revenue for them. It's a necessary condition whether they are building residential, retail or office. They need a way for their patrons to get to the property. Having a centralized nearby parking structure would be preferable and more cost efficient.

Menlo Park could build a multi-story parking structure to accommodate numerous downtown properties. Those properties can then eliminate their own onsite parking and redevelop the old parking spaces into new retail buildings. The city could even make it a requirement that for any parking eliminated, an equivalent square footage in a new building must be devoted to retail.

2 people like this
Posted by stvr
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 11, 2017 at 5:02 pm

They should be pooling the parking to avoid construction of any new driveways. Hurts the pedestrian environment. I have to say I'm impressed with the comments from Almanac readers so far. Constructive and less nay-saying than there used to be.

5 people like this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 12, 2017 at 8:46 am

Build that parking garage! It goes without saying.

But take a look at that 'artistis impression' again. It looks pretty big and corporate- the right fit for small-town feel Menlo Park? Size isn't the problem, but it looks like 'scale' may be.

1 person likes this
Posted by Louise68
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 12, 2017 at 10:18 am

Darn -- that building is ugly!! Why can't architects ever design anything that is beautiful?

(Or is anyone going to try to convince us that a junk pile is as beautiful as a Gothic cathedral?)

10 people like this
Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 12, 2017 at 12:41 pm

David Roise is a registered user.

Happy to see some multi-level development proposed in downtown Menlo Park.

With respect to parking, instead of building new parking structures (or requiring large numbers of parking spaces in new developments), perhaps we should consider what they are doing in Summit, NJ, where they are currently running a 6-month pilot program to subsidize Uber rides for 100 residents who would otherwise park their cars at the local commuter train station. The town is avoiding, or at least postponing, spending $10 million for a new parking structure, at a cost of about $167,000 a year for the Uber subsidy. The program is effectively a 100-car virtual parking garage. See Web Link

With the widespread availability of ride-sharing and car-sharing programs right now, and with the likely availability of self-driving vehicles in the near future, it makes absolutely no sense for us to waste huge amounts of public money and public space on structures for warehousing private vehicles in the middle of our downtown.

9 people like this
Posted by Nikki Stitt Sokol
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Jan 13, 2017 at 1:45 pm

This is exactly the sort of development downtown Menlo Park needs. While I might quibble with the architectural style (the article indicates the designs are very early, so this doesn't seem final at all), it strikes a great balance of retail, office, and housing. Yes, please! More of this.

I hope the owners/developers will realize that there are people in Menlo Park who will want this project and will support them. But I also hope they know that people will be even more supportive if it's architecturally beautiful (in contrast to a few of the new buildings constructed in recent years, e.g. where the old jewelry store was). Good design = more support.

2 people like this
Posted by popuppark
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm

time to get rid of the popup park! give us some parking spaces back. This morning more broken plastic chairs, and more garbage thrown all over.

ask the city what is in that large tanker truck that power washes the fake grass. Is it chemical, or what?

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