The city's Architectural Review Board on Thursday will conduct a preliminary review of an application to redevelop the former Facebook headquarters at 1050 Page Mill Road, which would replace two existing buildings with a campus-like office complex.
The proposed project would demolish the Facebook buildings and construct four, two-story office buildings. The new complex, designed by San Francisco-based Form4 Architecture, is modern in style, with "curvaceous" aluminum sunshades and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, according to plans submitted to the city.
The proposed project would occupy the same square footage as the current development -- 283,980 square feet -- but buildings would be located around the perimeter of the site, surrounding a central open space.
This landscaped area would be made possible by moving half of the site's surface parking spaces underground into a new parking structure, which would also help accommodate the proposed addition of 373 parking spaces. The added parking would bring the site much closer to the city's minimum zoning requirement of one space per 300 gross square feet (947 total spaces). There are currently 564 spaces; the project proposes 937.
There's no inclusion in the plans for a potential "spine" road, for which the College Terrace Residents Association has long lobbied and would like to run parallel to California Avenue and Page Mill Road. The road would provide access for service vehicles and ease traffic in College Terrace, especially on California Avenue and the surrounding residential streets, residents have said.
"The notion is that it would go, in theory at least, from Hanover to El Camino and it would provide really a service corridor for all of those buildings there," said Brent Barker, president of the College Terrace Residents' Association.
Two previous Stanford Research Park redevelopments in the area, 2475 Hanover St. (in 2002) and 975 California Ave. (in 2012), were designed to allow for a potential spine road.
Following the California Avenue project approval last year, Stanford Associate Director of Development John Donahue sent a letter to Jaime Rodriguez, Palo Alto's chief transportation official, to propose the city set a very high bar for preparing sites to include access for a future spine road.
The proposed redevelopment of 1050 Page Mill has been designed "so as not to preclude a future vehicular access road through the site," but it is not viewed as "desirable" by the applicant, a staff report states.
"The spine road has to make sense not just to College Terrace but to Stanford, to their lease holders and to the City," Barker said.
The residents' association did win another victory with this proposal, however. It plans to seal off a "back door" entrance that connects the site to California Avenue.
"It was a back door into Facebook," Barker said. "All the employees took that, all the shuttles, service vehicles. So it was kind of a nightmare."
By closing that back entrance, everything would come and go through Page Mill Road.
"If they close it off, we've achieved at least one of the objectives, which is to make sure … they've got parking for 900 cars; we don't want 850 cars coming down California Avenue," Barker said.
City staff will also work with the applicant on the possibility of, at a minimum, creating bicycle and pedestrian access, the report notes.
The Architectural Review Board will meet Thursday, Dec. 5, at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall. The meeting is open for public comment.