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City reviews plan for abandoned dealership

Original post made on Apr 15, 2009

The developer of the site of an abandoned car dealership on El Camino Real laid out the details of a proposed office/retail complex at an April 6 meeting of the Menlo Park Planning Commission, to generally favorable reviews.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 15, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (19)

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Posted by Kal Trains
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 15, 2009 at 9:46 am

So, what does Cal-trains have to say about this?

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Posted by mp mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 15, 2009 at 10:27 am

Just do it, and stop forcing onerous requirements. El camino has been dead long enough.

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Posted by C. Latta
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Apr 15, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Just do it and get it over with. The overzoning in M.P. has often created things that are just not aesthetic. Take a look at the monstrosity of a hotel that looks like low cost housing on the corner of Sand Hill and 280!

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Posted by I Agree
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 16, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I agree with MP Mom, I think we're looking at 6+ years at an abandon theater, 4+ years of abandon car lots, etc. It's getting ridiculous, make a decision a go with it! As far as the hotel, I think they did a great job. In fact, it should win some type of an award! To build buildings that blend well into the topography of the land, keep them at a reasonable level and not 10+ stories, and to also create additional tax revenue, kudos! Thanks developer!!!

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Posted by Norma
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 16, 2009 at 1:11 pm

The Rosewood hotel is hideous, but what do you expect from something built in the middle of a freeway cloverleaf?

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Posted by What??!!
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 17, 2009 at 9:53 am

We live in Sharon Heights, the hotel is about 1/2 mile from my home. I don't know what other type of architecture would have been better?? Would a 10 story "box" type structure have been better? C'mon folks, this is a good thing, and the 100's of newly planted trees have not even taken root yet. This was the best possible architecture for this site, I say "nice job" Rosewood!

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Posted by Norma
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 17, 2009 at 10:47 am

What's all this about a 10-story box? That's not even permissible in Menlo Park, is it?

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Posted by concerned about MP
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 17, 2009 at 4:48 pm

As a Sharon Heights resident, I'm thankful that the Rosewood hotel is not some boxy, huge hotel. It may not win awards, but its not bad, either.
And lets get some businesses into all those vacant properties on El Camino!

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Posted by pro development - with housing
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm

It's too bad this well designed project does not include any housing, which we desperately need close to transportation. Unfortunately our current council majority and their supporters have strangled developers so much that the housing doesn't pencil and the lending is difficult. Our last council entertained a fantastic 5 story mixed use project for this site that would have been perfect, but it was threatened with lawsuits.

If you doubt this council is obstructionist please note they reduced commercial floor area allowed in the El Camino zone on Tuesday night. Also, ever wonder what happened to the Derry project?

Fortunately we had four years of great leadership that gave us the Rosewood. Our current council members Fergussen and Cohen voted against it.

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Posted by Jeff C.
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 17, 2009 at 6:38 pm

I would like to know who brainstormed the brilliant idea of building a $500.00 a night Motel adjacent to interstate 280 and Sandhill Rd. Menlo Park snobbery is at an all-time high.
"Buffy, we're staying in Menlo Park tonight. It's located next door to a 2.5 mile Linear accelerator." "Grab Poopsie the Poodle and let's check-in."

Palo Alto's downtown was built before Menlo Park tried to play little brother.

I'm sure the so-called Menlo Park Powers-at-be will also screw up the old auto row which by the way was cement and gravel RR filling station before most of these snobs were born.

Sometimes MP makes me feel like sticking a finger down my throat.

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Posted by What is wrong?
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2009 at 10:45 pm

"Jeff C" what is seriously wrong with you? Angry? Jealous? How did your post help anyone, or anything? Who cares "who" decided on Rosewood? Was it your money? Congratulations on being from Palo Alto, eat some cake, and then "stick a finger down your throat"!
I'm hoping MP residents can offer up better blogs than this!

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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 18, 2009 at 7:39 am

Smart person.
I grew-up in Menlo Park. Went to Hillview School until 1969 when it was K-8. Woodside High was my High School.
Congratulations, Hillview now looks like an intercity school.

Menlo Park was a blue collar town. Now it is the cookie cutter little brother city of Palo Alto.

M.P. really lost focus.
The street name, "American Way" (off of Valparaiso) used to mean something.

Snobs moved in and jacked prices through the roof. $70.00 for a men's haircut? Lord.....

Please, Menlo Park isn't the township of Atherton .


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Posted by observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 18, 2009 at 7:54 am

Andy Cohen was in favor of the Rosewood, and said so, and Kelly could not vote because her spouse works for Stanford.

I am so glad the current council is holding the line on housing. The "we need more housing" mantra was leading to some ridiculous overbuilding. Check out the first block of Linfield, off Middlefield, to see 50+ units that were approved when this insanity was at its peak. Many have now been on the market for years, and it's pretty clear that our city does not need any more overpriced junk, even though that's the only kind of housing that developers want to build.

Anyway, this thread is about the planning commission, not the council. Am I the only poster here who actually watched that meeting? The PC did fine, gave the developer room to proceed and clarified where he needed to make changes. El Camino will become prettier and more productive, but it's not going to happen overnight given the number of properties that need TLC. If anyone deserves blame, it's the prior council for letting a once-vibrant street become a haven for weeds and dilapidated buildings.

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Posted by whoa
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Excuse me, "pro development - with housing"
You think the current council is the reason there aren't loans available for building on El Camino right now? Have you talked with any lenders and found out where they are making construction loans? Sorry, but our entire country is in a financial crisis and Menlo Park is just a piece of that.
At least this council is trying to create a plan that the whole community helps create. We have a once in a generation opportunity to do it right. The prior council refused to plan, even when staff recommended it, and instead encouraged major projects that were in violation of the city's zoning rules and general plan.
Maybe you just like ANY development, as long as it's development and has housing? Many of us like PLANNED development so we have a community-supported idea of what our city will become and what the positive and negative impacts will be of renovation and new development.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 19, 2009 at 3:22 pm

If Andy COhen, the Runaway Councilman was in favor of the hotel he would have voted for it. Instead he was the sole negative vote. Observor should have observed the vote.

The Rosewood Hotel is a boon to Menlo Park injecting a much-needed extimated $1.6M recurring revenue into the City coffers and providing 250 new jobs. Nicholas Jellins, Mickie Winkler, and Lee Duboc are responsible for the Rosewood Hotel. However this came fruition in spite of Andy Cohen’s attempt to keep this project from coming to a vote by the duly elected council members.

In June 2006 this development came to the vote of the City Council. Duboc was in Chicago making preparations for her daughter’s wedding. The Council rules state that at least 3 members be physically present in the Council Chambers for the vote. We had 4 members present. But Kelly Ferguson had to abstain because her husband works for Stanford. That left the required 3 members.

But in a fit of pique Andy Cohen abrogated his responsibility the community by angrily storming out of the meeting. Mayor Jellins approached the City Attorney Bill McClure to determine if anything could be done to get Andy to return to the Dais to reestablish the quorum and continue with the council business at hand. Mr. McClure prevailed upon Ms. Ferguson to cajole Andy to return to the chambers to fulfill his duty to the people who elected him. Ms. Ferguson called Andy on her cell phone and went to his home to retrieve the runaway councilman. After a considerable delay Andy returned to the chambers and cast his no vote. Jellins, Winkler, and Duboc (by telephone) cast their yes votes.

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Posted by correct the record
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 19, 2009 at 4:05 pm

You seem to keep forgetting that the project was not just a hotel but also 100,000 square feet of office space that will not generate sales tax revenue to the city. It was the latter that Cohen opposed. The motion was the combined hotel and office building.
I am glad the hotel won the support of a majority.
In an attempt to pull this thread back to topic: The same majority saw the auto dealerships leave town and refused to follow staff advice to create plans for El Camino. We are where we are so let's focus on the future, ok?

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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Apr 19, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Rosewood came through the city in 2002. This thing is not a creation of any council. That is just silly talk.

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Posted by Maria
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 22, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Why can't we accomodate Whole Foods for El Camino? It is a good market (even if I can't afford it).

Hopefully, we won't have any more care dealerships on El Camino (Menlo Park).

Better to take time and develop this area attractively.

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Posted by Maria
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 24, 2009 at 1:43 pm

We should NOT add any height to whatever goes in there!!

Let's keep Menlo Park attractive.

To share parking spaces is RIDICULOUS. What if someone wants to stay home or go in and out during "business" hours?

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

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