Biotech company plans 8-story building in Menlo Park

A rendering of the new CS Bio building proposed at 1075 O'Brien Drive in Menlo Park. (Image courtesy city of Menlo Park.)

A 120-foot-high, eight-story building with three levels of structured parking, four floors of offices, a top-floor restaurant, a first-floor cafe and a rooftop garden has been proposed at 1075 O'Brien Drive and 20 Kelly Court to replace a single-story warehouse there.

The proposal is part of an expansion plan by the biotech company, CS Bio, a peptide and peptide synthesizer manufacturer.

The Menlo Park Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the project Monday, July 17.

The proposed building is the first in the newly created "life sciences" zoning category that came out of the city's "ConnectMenlo" general plan update.

The plan would be in the life sciences district and would be eligible for "bonus" development, meaning CS Bio would be able to opt to build at a higher density in exchange for providing community benefits.

In that category of development, the maximum height is 110 feet, with an allowance to add 10 feet if the building is in the city's potential flood zone, which applies to this property, according to Associate Planner Tom Smith with the city of Menlo Park.

According to project drawings, the development would have a coffee shop and parking on the first floor and a top-floor restaurant with a rooftop garden and deck.

As community amenities, the owner has also proposed a publicly accessible basketball court and a vocational program. No further information is available yet on the vocational program. The basketball court is proposed to be put on the Hetch Hetchy right-of-way, so it would have to be permitted by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, according to staff.

According to Mr. Smith, the new building would be used only for office space, not for manufacturing purposes. On the east side of the site, the company plans to add a chemical storage bunker.

CS Bio, which has two buildings at its 20 Kelly Court site, has proposed to merge the properties, so that the average height of all three buildings will be below the maximum average height for a property of 67.5 feet.

The timeline for the project, Mr. Smith said, depends on the type of environmental analysis that will be needed, which is currently unknown. He said that planning staff wanted to submit the plans to the Planning Commission early, "before they get too far with the design," he said.


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28 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 14, 2017 at 12:23 pm

And how are all these tall buildings east of 101 impacting our cooling bay breezes and contributing to our hotter temps in central and west Menlo Park?

6 people like this
Posted by pdj
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 14, 2017 at 8:30 pm

pdj is a registered user.

This is only the beginning of M2 area development. Image the height of all the new buildings along Bayfront at 120 feet. Companies can opt for amenities without housing in return for increased height.

5 people like this
Posted by Really?
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 15, 2017 at 9:44 am

Really "whatever"? The breeze in Central and West Menlo is all that is of concern with this proposed development?

30 people like this
Posted by Kate Kennedy
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 16, 2017 at 10:47 pm

Anyone who's curious about the impacts of replacing warehouses on the east side with multi-story office buildings should come to Hedge Road in Suburban Park, where Hedge bends towards 101, and take a look at the massive building that looms over the homes of my neighbors on the freeway side of that stretch. At night, the building is lit up like the alien ship in "Close Encounters," and during the day, sunlight reflects off the building's reflective surfaces so brightly that shafts of blinding light shoot into the east-facing windows of the homes on that side of the road. It sure feels like the residents who have to live in the shadow of these buildings are inconsequential factors in Menlo Park's pursuit of those sweet, sweet development dollars.

And for what it's worth, I think the point about large buildings blocking the cooling bay breezes is a good one.

4 people like this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 17, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Tall buildings in this area may impact the breezes in some portion of East Palo Alto - not so much central and west Menlo Park. The prevailing winds almost always blow along the length of the Bay, towards Alviso. Being concerned traffic make sense, but I don't buy this argument, because it ignores this fundamental observation. Central and Western Menlo Park should be more concerned about construction in downtown Redwood City. I've spent too much time bicycling along the side of the Bay to not notice this. (Menlo Gateway might impact Belle Haven a little.)

2 people like this
Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 17, 2017 at 4:44 pm

Here - some actual data about prevailing winds. You can see that the wind for central and western Menlo Park come from the vicinity of San Carlos airport. You're welcome.
Web Link

7 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2017 at 5:14 pm

So, what do the "Yes" people on the Council AND Planning Commission have to say? Do they read any of these comments? Do they send out relevant information and surveys to Menlo Park residents? Are they at all interested in feedback or do they only rely on the few 'open' council review meetings they hold, sometimes after they've invested into a plan?

If not the residents and voters here, who do they answer to?

3 people like this
Posted by Clunge
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 18, 2017 at 1:10 pm

I dont want to live in San Mateo - can we please stop trying to be a large city? As far as this 8 story thing goes, I dont see who's looking to head into the industrial park for a rooftop dinner.
Speaking of which, the rooftop bar at the BBC is nice - only $50 for 4 drinks.
Back to drinking alone at home for now.

2 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 18, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Anyone concerned about the chemical storage facility in town? High rise I can deal with, chemical waste/spill/disaster in a residential area not so much.

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

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