News

Chamber of Commerce to move to 'Lytton Gateway'

Business nonprofit signs 10-year lease in office development at 101 Lytton Ave.

The Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce will soon be moving into one of downtown's newest and most conspicuous developments -- the four-story "Lytton Gateway" building at the corner of Lytton Avenue and Alma Street.

The Chamber, which currently rents space on Mitchell Lane, will be the nonprofit tenant in the four-story building, a development that will be anchored by the online-survey company Survey Monkey. The organization announced in a statement that it has signed a 10-year lease on the ground floor of the building and that it plans to move into its new location in mid-summer.

In its announcement, the Chamber lauded the building's prominent location next to the University Avenue transit center and its architecture, which includes a 70-foot tall corner tower. CEO David MacKenzie said the organization is "ecstatic about this new location."

"The 101 Lytton project is a spectacular and unique business and economic opportunity for Palo Alto," MacKenzie said in a statement. "I believe this will re-invigorate the immediate neighborhood and surrounding community and provide more visibility for the Chamber, our enriching programs and our vibrant membership."

The building at 101 Lytton Ave. is the last downtown development to win the city's approval under the "planned community" zone process, which allows developers to exceed zoning regulations in exchange for negotiated public benefits. One of the benefits that the council asked to include in the project included space for a nonprofit group, with rent subsidized by the developer. The agreement also required the developer, Lytton Gateway LLC, to contribute $2 million to parking improvements downtown.

Comments

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 19, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Is the chamber relevant any more? How many members do they have left? What percentage of Palo Alto businesses belong to the chamber? Imagine all of the hard working nonprofits that could have used that subsidized office space?


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 20, 2014 at 9:09 am

The CoC moves so often that its people have sleeping bags instead of desks.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm

In the interest of balance to Mr. MacKenzie's comments I offer the following view. The "101 Lytton" project may yet succeed in providing a pedestrian friendly, inviting environment at ground level, a "gateway", when the final touches are in place, but what we see going up is a montrous, out of scale building, severe and overpowering in its visual impact, completely out of touch with its location in Downtown Palo Alto and the surrounding neighborhood and commercial area. With its 70 foot tower it is a monument to itself. The "101" fits - it belongs in an office park off Bayshore Freeway.





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Posted by Anonymous 2
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm

"The building at 101 Lytton Ave. is the last downtown development to win the city's approval under the "planned community" zone process, which allows developers to exceed zoning regulations in exchange for negotiated public benefits. One of the benefits that the council asked to include in the project included space for a nonprofit group, with rent subsidized by the developer."

I think it bears remembering that there was to be senior affordable housing on the top floor, and when they realized the seniors would get those great views, they took it all off. It's interesting that the Council allowed this ugly PC zoned building without any public benefit of affordable housing at all, when it had even been planned to have it, and no one in the public had protested against the affordable housing there (pretty darned good location for it).


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Posted by Does not pass smell test
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 20, 2014 at 11:47 pm

The developers Boyd Smith and his son Lund Smith got a lot of help from Jim Baer, who represented them at the City Council where the bizarre definition of BMR office space for the Chamber was authorized. I believe it was Greg Sharff who thought this was a good idea.

The Smiths have been able to use their immense wealth to have themselves characterized as philanthropists. Avenidas, just a couple of blocks away from this development, gave the Smiths a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 WHILE the project was in process of getting approval.

Also they somehow convinced some of the people in Downtown North to accept the UNDERPARKING by 22 spaces in return for money for a parking study.
The whole process does not pass the smell test.
Web Link


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Posted by the 101
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2014 at 11:54 pm

resident

"The "101" fits - it belongs in an office park off Bayshore Freeway. "


LOL the '101" building.




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