News

Menlo Park council OKs mixed-use Allied Arts development despite outcry over heritage trees

Apartments, retail, restaurant space and townhomes along El Camino Real approved

The City Council on Tuesday approved a proposal to redevelop this site, 201-211 El Camino Real, into a three-story building with ground-floor shops and a restaurant, plus 12 apartments on the upper floors. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

A proposal to construct a three-story building with apartments, townhomes, retail and restaurant space, in Menlo Park Allied Arts neighborhood won unanimous approval from the City Council Tuesday, Oct. 27.

The proposal, by property owner Yihan Hu, will demolish the current structures at 201-211 El Camino Real, at the corner of El Camino Real and Cambridge Avenue where Koma Sushi is currently located, and replace them with a 25,282-square-foot structure with spaces for one restaurant and up to three retail shops on the ground floor, and 12 apartments – six one-bedroom and six two-bedroom units – on the second and third floors.

The structure would have a two-level underground parking garage with 59 spaces. Behind it, at 612 Cambridge Avenue, would be two new townhouses.

A rendering of the proposed development at 201-211 El Camino Real, which the Menlo Park City Council approved Tuesday, Oct. 27. Image courtesy HuHan Two, LLC/EID Architects.

In the hours leading up to the council's meeting on the proposal, about 25 messages entered the City Council's public email inbox from people beseeching council members to spare the heritage trees planned to be felled as part of the proposal.

Project architects Mark Wommack and Stuart Welte of EID Architects said they worked hard to avoid impacting the heritage trees, but landed at their proposal after consulting with multiple arborists and going through the city's legal process for obtaining permits to cut down a heritage tree. Five trees, two of which are considered heritage trees, are expected to be axed. At least 26 new trees will be planted on the site, the architects said. Despite the outcry over the heritage trees, the council did not require the developer to change the project to preserve the trees.

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As an additional condition to their approval of the project, the council members agreed that the developer should install electrical equipment needed to accommodate electric vehicles at whatever level is mandated by the city at the time the developer acquires the building permit.

The developer has agreed to dedicate two of the housing units for below-market-rate rent or purchase by low-income households. The developer has the option to convert the housing units from rental to ownership properties in the future, according to a staff report, and if the housing units are sold, then the two units will be eligible for below-market-rate purchase by low-income households, according to a staff report.

Sidewalks are also planned to be widened to 12 feet from 4 feet, and the developer plans to install a raised crosswalk on Cambridge Avenue to improve pedestrian safety near the property.

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Menlo Park council OKs mixed-use Allied Arts development despite outcry over heritage trees

Apartments, retail, restaurant space and townhomes along El Camino Real approved

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Oct 30, 2020, 11:26 am

A proposal to construct a three-story building with apartments, townhomes, retail and restaurant space, in Menlo Park Allied Arts neighborhood won unanimous approval from the City Council Tuesday, Oct. 27.

The proposal, by property owner Yihan Hu, will demolish the current structures at 201-211 El Camino Real, at the corner of El Camino Real and Cambridge Avenue where Koma Sushi is currently located, and replace them with a 25,282-square-foot structure with spaces for one restaurant and up to three retail shops on the ground floor, and 12 apartments – six one-bedroom and six two-bedroom units – on the second and third floors.

The structure would have a two-level underground parking garage with 59 spaces. Behind it, at 612 Cambridge Avenue, would be two new townhouses.

In the hours leading up to the council's meeting on the proposal, about 25 messages entered the City Council's public email inbox from people beseeching council members to spare the heritage trees planned to be felled as part of the proposal.

Project architects Mark Wommack and Stuart Welte of EID Architects said they worked hard to avoid impacting the heritage trees, but landed at their proposal after consulting with multiple arborists and going through the city's legal process for obtaining permits to cut down a heritage tree. Five trees, two of which are considered heritage trees, are expected to be axed. At least 26 new trees will be planted on the site, the architects said. Despite the outcry over the heritage trees, the council did not require the developer to change the project to preserve the trees.

As an additional condition to their approval of the project, the council members agreed that the developer should install electrical equipment needed to accommodate electric vehicles at whatever level is mandated by the city at the time the developer acquires the building permit.

The developer has agreed to dedicate two of the housing units for below-market-rate rent or purchase by low-income households. The developer has the option to convert the housing units from rental to ownership properties in the future, according to a staff report, and if the housing units are sold, then the two units will be eligible for below-market-rate purchase by low-income households, according to a staff report.

Sidewalks are also planned to be widened to 12 feet from 4 feet, and the developer plans to install a raised crosswalk on Cambridge Avenue to improve pedestrian safety near the property.

Comments

Louise D
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 30, 2020 at 12:52 pm
Louise D, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 12:52 pm
11 people like this

I'm glad the sidewalks will be increased to 12' for the project at the corner of Cambridge and El Camino as you cannot safely turn right on red now because you can't see the cars coming unless you're almost in the lane on El Camino.


nancy
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Oct 30, 2020 at 1:22 pm
nancy, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 1:22 pm
7 people like this

Yes, and the wider sidewalks also help mitigate the increasing sense that this section El Camino Real is a tunnel. Menlo Park should require wide sidewalks for any structure built on this throughway.


Happy Resident
Registered user
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 30, 2020 at 1:29 pm
Happy Resident, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 1:29 pm
11 people like this

Good move forward for Menlo Park. More blight is being removed. City Council, keep up the good work.


pearl
Registered user
another community
on Oct 30, 2020 at 1:55 pm
pearl, another community
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 1:55 pm
167 people like this

A three story building!!! You've got to be kidding!!! That just ruins the whole look of Menlo Park. But, the developers don't care. They don't live in Menlo Park. To them, it's all about money. Shame on City Council members for approving this major monstrosity!!! You've lost my vote!!!


jgftw
Registered user
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 30, 2020 at 4:27 pm
jgftw, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 4:27 pm
3 people like this

Great to see development being approved. I love our trees dearly but they shouldn’t get in the way of revitalizing downtown, which is sorely needed.


ARLEENE wilkoladki
Registered user
Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 30, 2020 at 8:12 pm
ARLEENE wilkoladki, Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 8:12 pm
10 people like this

I’m confused I certainly would not call this area a blight or is it downtown Menlo


Timely Vote,
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Nov 4, 2020 at 1:15 am
Timely Vote,, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2020 at 1:15 am
Like this comment

You guys consistently miss the point about low income housing, I go back to the Seminary Development in which several homes were sold to people who qualified as low income at very low prices that were on a waiting list, including my mailman, No problem there except if you had let the developer build and sell those homes at market price, take the extra funds from the sales, then you could have placed 6-8 low income families in lower priced homes, of whom I am quite sure would have been very happy in avg. homes and not need luxury. I know of an 8 plex you could have purchased for less than the price of one Seminary Home, I can appreciate our mailman living in a luxury home but why place one person instead of 8 families. You could have accomplished 2 things, place more families, and satisfied requirements for more low income units by number, You can do the same at this new Allied Arts Development and everything now in the pipeline. Don't take my word for it, ask the people on the waiting list, some maybe even currently homeless,


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