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Menlo Park: Commission to review plan to redevelop Feldman's Books site

Planning Commission to host March 11 study session on apartment building

A proposal to build a three-story, nine-unit apartment building where Feldman's Books and a youth mental health clinic sit now will head to the Menlo Park Planning Commission for a study session Monday, March 11.

The Planning Commission will weigh in on the proposal and its design, but won't make any final decisions on the project until a later date.

The property includes the addresses 1162 through 1170 El Camino Real and sits between the Fed Ex Office Print and Ship Center and Ann's Nail Salon. The two buildings are currently occupied by used bookstore Feldman's Books at 1170 El Camino Real and Bay Area Clinical Associates, or BACA – a mental health care provider working primarily with teens and young adults – at 1162 and 1166 El Camino Real.

The buildings there have long histories in the city. The building at 1162 El Camino Real was constructed in 1910 and was formerly Doughty's Meat Market. The building at 1170 El Camino Real was built in 1905 and was formerly Martin J. McCarthy Groceries, according to a staff report.

Analyses found the buildings are not considered historic resources under the California Environmental Quality Act, the report states.

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The proposal, from Chase Rapp of Prince Street Partners, a Palo Alto-based developer, is to demolish the existing buildings and construct a three-story building with nine prefabricated modular apartments – two studios, three one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom apartments – on the top two stories. The developer plans to build a parking garage on the ground floor with nine parking spaces, as well as a lobby. The development proposal is at the "base" density level, meaning no public benefits would be required by the developer. The building would also have skylights, solar arrays and privacy screening from El Camino Real.

Architect Toby Long, of Toby Long Design Architects, Inc., wrote in a letter to the Planning Commission that "The high-quality materials and sophisticated design and construction strategies will be a wonderful addition to the El Camino corridor and will provide much-needed housing for the downtown area."

Rapp is also developing the site of the former Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital at Santa Cruz Avenue and Merrill Street. In negotiations with the city to redevelop that site, Rapp agreed to dedicate two of the units from the El Camino Real project for below-market-rate renters, on the condition that these units are completed within two years of the occupancy of the Santa Cruz Avenue buildings.

The Menlo Park Planning Commission is scheduled to meet starting at 7 p.m. Monday, March 11, in the City Council Chambers at 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center. Access the full meeting agenda here or stream it online here.

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Kate Bradshaw
   
Kate Bradshaw reports food news and feature stories all over the Peninsula, from south of San Francisco to north of San José. Since she began working with Embarcadero Media in 2015, she's reported on everything from Menlo Park's City Hall politics to Mountain View's education system. She has won awards from the California News Publishers Association for her coverage of local government, elections and land use reporting. Read more >>

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Menlo Park: Commission to review plan to redevelop Feldman's Books site

Planning Commission to host March 11 study session on apartment building

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 11:56 am

A proposal to build a three-story, nine-unit apartment building where Feldman's Books and a youth mental health clinic sit now will head to the Menlo Park Planning Commission for a study session Monday, March 11.

The Planning Commission will weigh in on the proposal and its design, but won't make any final decisions on the project until a later date.

The property includes the addresses 1162 through 1170 El Camino Real and sits between the Fed Ex Office Print and Ship Center and Ann's Nail Salon. The two buildings are currently occupied by used bookstore Feldman's Books at 1170 El Camino Real and Bay Area Clinical Associates, or BACA – a mental health care provider working primarily with teens and young adults – at 1162 and 1166 El Camino Real.

The buildings there have long histories in the city. The building at 1162 El Camino Real was constructed in 1910 and was formerly Doughty's Meat Market. The building at 1170 El Camino Real was built in 1905 and was formerly Martin J. McCarthy Groceries, according to a staff report.

Analyses found the buildings are not considered historic resources under the California Environmental Quality Act, the report states.

The proposal, from Chase Rapp of Prince Street Partners, a Palo Alto-based developer, is to demolish the existing buildings and construct a three-story building with nine prefabricated modular apartments – two studios, three one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom apartments – on the top two stories. The developer plans to build a parking garage on the ground floor with nine parking spaces, as well as a lobby. The development proposal is at the "base" density level, meaning no public benefits would be required by the developer. The building would also have skylights, solar arrays and privacy screening from El Camino Real.

Architect Toby Long, of Toby Long Design Architects, Inc., wrote in a letter to the Planning Commission that "The high-quality materials and sophisticated design and construction strategies will be a wonderful addition to the El Camino corridor and will provide much-needed housing for the downtown area."

Rapp is also developing the site of the former Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital at Santa Cruz Avenue and Merrill Street. In negotiations with the city to redevelop that site, Rapp agreed to dedicate two of the units from the El Camino Real project for below-market-rate renters, on the condition that these units are completed within two years of the occupancy of the Santa Cruz Avenue buildings.

The Menlo Park Planning Commission is scheduled to meet starting at 7 p.m. Monday, March 11, in the City Council Chambers at 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center. Access the full meeting agenda here or stream it online here.

Comments

Mark
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 8, 2019 at 12:33 pm
Mark, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 8, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Not wholly unexpected but I also have an idea for a "wonderful addition to the El Camino corridor" in Menlo Park: a quality used bookstore with reasonable hours and a helpful staff. Losing Feldman's will be one more death knell in the slavish quest for "vibrancy" in this town, sadly.


Parent of a teen
Menlo Park: University Heights
on Mar 8, 2019 at 1:15 pm
Parent of a teen, Menlo Park: University Heights
on Mar 8, 2019 at 1:15 pm

This would be devastating given that the current buildings house Safe Space and Bay Area Clinical Associates. This is a desperately needed community service for our kids and teens. Web Link

The current location is ideal as it's close to Menlo-Atherton, Menlo and Sacred Heart Schools - in addition to most of the schools in the Menlo Park City School District and Las Lomitas School District.

We need these vital community services. Please don't add more housing/retail space here. There are already two large housing developments underway on El Camino - one between Oak Grove and Valparaiso/Glenwood and the other between the Stanford Park Hotel and the Big 5 (across from Safeway).

- A concerned parent of a teen in therapy!


Planning Commission Please
Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 8, 2019 at 2:22 pm
Planning Commission Please, Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 8, 2019 at 2:22 pm

This architecture is terrible. So cheap.


Margo
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 8, 2019 at 2:50 pm
Margo, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 8, 2019 at 2:50 pm

Development???? I think not. This is not development, it's DESTRUCTION. Just because something is old and maybe doesn't make a lot of money is no reason to desrroy it. Feldman's is a great asset to Menlo Park. They've been there for many years. Their son attended Menlo Atherton (he was in my math class some years ago). They perform a great service, repurposing books---finding new people to own and love books previously owned and loved by someone who is ready to pass them on. As for the safe house---I was not aware it was there. Why in the world does anyone think it should be replaced? As a previous commenter pointed out, it's well placed near schools and provides a much needed service. Please, Planning Commission and City Council, rethink this. Find the value in what we have. Nine apartments in exchange for services we cannot replace????? Come on!!!


John McGraw
Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Mar 8, 2019 at 4:31 pm
John McGraw, Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Mar 8, 2019 at 4:31 pm

All of you with ideas on what to do with this space should put your money where your mouth is. Buy the property and develop as you see fit. I am tired of all these meaningless ideas without any action.

If you are not will to risk your money, your arguments are meaningless.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Mar 8, 2019 at 6:26 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Mar 8, 2019 at 6:26 pm

Mr. McGraw:

people are always free with other peoples' money. Always. Their own? Not so much.


Kate Kennedy
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 9, 2019 at 12:17 am
Kate Kennedy, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 9, 2019 at 12:17 am

And so continues the headlong rush to strip every last shred of character and history from Menlo Park.

This summer, we're moving to the east coast after 21 years as happy members of the Menlo Park community, and while it breaks my heart to leave this place we've loved and where we've raised our kids, I'm happy, in a way, not to have to stick around and bear witness to all this "progress."

I hope Feldman's and the youth mental health clinic live to fight another day.


CA Love
Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 9, 2019 at 6:56 am
CA Love, Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 9, 2019 at 6:56 am

Precious housing location currently underutilized use as bookstore?

God bless Jeff Besos, 9 more families can now live on El Camino now because of the internet. If you enjoy flipping thru books try the public library. All you NIMBY’ers give other people a chance to live in MP too.

Can’t break ground here fast enough...

These folks that are against all these projects sound a lot like the MAGA folks, local edition. They want to make PA and MP great again by not allowing more people to live here and keep 100+ year old grocery markets building the way it is so 9 new families can’t move here into a new possibly beautiful building.


P. Anders
Atherton: other
on Mar 9, 2019 at 9:33 am
P. Anders, Atherton: other
on Mar 9, 2019 at 9:33 am

Yes, Menlo Park. Great idea. The best way to solve our overcrowding problem is to add more people/housing/commercial space. Bravo!


Beth
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:22 am
Beth, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:22 am

CA love.

You can't always get what you want. There's been plenty of housing built already in MP and will be more. Housing for this little amount of people is nothing toward solving a housing problem.

Ask the developers why they've built so many corporate places along 101 rather than housing? They're the ones who can make housing units happen.

Think beyond your self and find what works, which might mean sacrifice. I couldn't afford this area, so lived in Oakland and commuted to south Palo Alto 5 days a week for 4 years. Big deal. Getting through difficult situations isn't all bad, by long shot, and if you're hellbent to live in MP, then you've got big bucks already to even THINK of living here. Just might not happen right away.


Menlo Boomer
Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:30 am
Menlo Boomer, Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:30 am

What, no! "Building housing" is one of those things I want Menlo Park to ~say~ it's going to do, not something it actually ~does~.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 9, 2019 at 2:58 pm
Peter Carpenter, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Mar 9, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Concerned citizens need to realize that the decision as to what could be built on this site was made when the DSP was adopted by the City Council - after years of discussion, debate and a ballot measure. Now is too late to decide that what is proposed is inappropriate.


really?
Menlo Park: other
on Mar 9, 2019 at 5:38 pm
really?, Menlo Park: other
on Mar 9, 2019 at 5:38 pm

Mediocre design on a much loved street front. Let's hope planning commission stands up to this.


Arm chair opinions
Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 9, 2019 at 7:31 pm
Arm chair opinions, Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 9, 2019 at 7:31 pm

Agree with all the comments about Safe Space. This is a relatively new and extremely important, needed, valued addition to the community. If it is forced to relocate, I hope the owners are able to find a similarly convenient, and visible location.

Regarding housing, Menlo Park needs to figure out how to offer affordable housing to teachers before allowing more 2 bedroom (and larger) apartments that could result in more school children.

Regarding aesthetics, at least the proposed design is only 3 stories, has some decent articulation, doesn't have metal bars running in front of the windows, and uses some wood that doesn't look artificial or like particle board , as opposed to the Glenwood facing facade of the Park James hotel building, that is truly an eyesore (with the exception of the street level stone, wood fencing and planter boxes). Shocked the planning commission allowed a completely flat face, with barred windows! (Planning Commission members, if you're reading this, please don't approve something like that again - and if you're going to allow a 4th floor, don't allow a light to run up the top floor that stays on all night and is visible to the nearby residential neighborhoods !)


Progressive
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 10, 2019 at 11:03 am
Progressive, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 10, 2019 at 11:03 am

Now if we can only redevelop the crappy line of businesses across the street we might have something.


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