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What If Woodside Atherton Hadn’t Spent $8+ Million Restoring Allied Arts?

Original post made by Ms. Reality Check, Woodside: other, on Aug 3, 2007

The Woodside Atherton Auxiliary to Children’s Hospital at Stanford is good at soliciting funds, as demonstrated by their Tally Ho events and the $8+ million they raised and borrowed to restore the Allied Arts Guild. And they spent that $8+ million on restoring the Allied Arts complex. But what if…?

What if they used half the $8 million to do what absolutely needed to be done plus a few extras? Then they could invest $4 million at 5% and give $200,000 to Children’s Hospital every year, plus whatever they made from Tally Ho and running the Allied Arts complex--an amount that averaged over $200,000 a year for the last eight years! That’s $400,000+ a year, FOREVER!

What if they made do with most of the site, and did only the critically necessary work on the buildings to make them safe and tight and invested $6 million at 5%? That would allow them to give $300,000 a year to the Hospital--FOREVER! Include the $200,000 from the other activities noted above and you have a total of $500,000+ a year, FOREVER!

What if they hadn’t tried to become a destination conference center, hadn’t kicked out the Palo Alto restaurant, hadn’t sought a variance from Menlo Park, hadn’t tried to manage special events, hadn’t tried to become an upscale art colony, and hadn’t redone the parking lot and killed bus traffic. They’d still have the Palo Alto-run restaurant, few new restrictions on operations, decent foot traffic, and more user-friendly retail stores. And Children’s Hospital would have the $100,000+ a year donated by the Palo Alto Auxiliary from their restaurant operations.

What do they have now? No restaurant and a dismal future for any food service organization that tries to locate at Allied Arts. No foot traffic, no bus tours, a struggling group of retail shops, and no conferences or special events. Oh yes, and a nicely restored group of buildings,

What did the Woodside Atherton Auxiliary’s decisions cost Children’s Hospital? $200,000 to $300,000 a year from the potential earnings if the some of the funds raised had been invested rather than put into restoring the property. $100,000 a year that is no longer coming from Palo Alto restaurant operations. And probably reduced donations from the Tally Ho as those funds are used to cover Allied Arts operational losses.

$300,00 to $400,000 a year that could have gone to the Children’s Hospital--and now won’t. But the buildings look nice. Gardens could use some work, though.

Comments (3)

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Posted by AC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 3, 2007 at 4:36 pm

Can't something be done to correct the parking lot situation so that buses could resume bringing people to Allied Arts?

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Posted by Bulldozer
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 4, 2007 at 5:54 am

What if they bulldozed Allied Arts, subdivided it, and sold off a bunch of mini-mansions at $4mm each? The profits would become an endowment for the Children's Hospital. The neighbors property values would increase, there would be no retail or bus traffic.

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Posted by no bulldozing
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 4, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Bulldozer - excuse me, but we neighbors prefer the guild. It's charming and it's what gives our neighborhood its name.
For some strange reason, there have been virtually no special events such as weddings and traditional parties since the restoration was completed. There are more hours available for that than ever before. Something important is amiss. There are plenty of ways to earn money for the children on this site without bulldozing it.

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