SURVEY MONKEY SWINGING INTO NEW HABITAT ... The online survey company Survey Monkey has signed on to be the anchor tenant for one of Palo Alto's newest and most ambitious developments. At the former Shell gas-station site on the corner of Alma Street and Lytton Avenue, the company will lease the top three floors and a rooftop deck of what city officials have referred to as the city's four-story "gateway building." The headquarters for Survey Monkey is now at 285 Hamilton Ave., but the growing company needs more room, spokeswoman Becky Cantieri said. "We are committed to Palo Alto but we've been looking for a larger space," she said, adding that the company is considering leasing out the second floor. Cantieri described the space as the "perfect opportunity for us. It's right across from the train station, and a significant number of our employees take the train." Survey Monkey has about 200 employees; 140 of them work in Palo Alto. Councilmember Pat Burt said he is delighted with the new tenant. "It's a growing, cutting-edge company and we're thrilled they've chosen to stay in Palo Alto," he said. The plans needed major revisions before being approved by the City Council. The controversy stemmed from some residents expressing concern about future traffic and parking problems in an already congested area. One of the concessions was eliminating 14 housing units and scaling back the height of the building. Another was an agreement to put a retail store and a nonprofit, downtown-oriented organization on the ground floor of the building. Survey Monkey's move-in date is scheduled for early 2014.
MENLO PARK MAY GET B.F.D. ... Celebrity chef Bradley Ogden is planning to open a new restaurant in the large, plantation-style building that formerly housed Gambardella's on Merrill Street across from the Menlo Park train station, a spokesman for Ogden has announced. Ogden, a chef and restaurateur who has a home in San Jose, is poised to open B.F.D. (Bradley's Fine Diner) in late summer. He plans to develop a restaurant with food served in a casual, approachable atmosphere, said Michael Duffield, a spokesman for Ogden. The space features a 2,800-square-foot, wraparound deck that would be used for patio dining. Gambardella's -- the Italian restaurant that had been a Menlo Park mainstay since the mid-1980s, aside from a brief three-year stint in Burlingame -- closed in late December. A phone call to Andy Gambardella was not immediately returned. The proprietor of nearby restaurants Crepes Cafe and Lisa's Tea Treasures -- which will not be closing, contrary to an earlier report -- are looking forward to their new neighbor. "We're excited. It brings a breath of fresh air," Helene Pascal of Crepes Cafe said of the remodeling that will be done to make way for B.F.D. "We want to make improvements, too -- change the tables, put up new decorations." The Crepes Cafe lease extends to at least 2019, Pascal said. Lisa's Tea Treasures, at 1175 Merrill, continues to host its high teas and private parties and to offer catering. "Lisa's Tea Treasures in Menlo Park is open for business, and we do take reservations. We are looking forward to serving customers as always," Thao Nguyen, manager and co-owner, said.
Heard a rumor about your favorite store or business moving out, or in, down the block or across town? Daryl Savage will check it out.