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PA Weekly to build, occupy new office building

Original post made on Mar 7, 2008

The Palo Alto Weekly will break ground within the next two months on a new three-story office building at 450 Cambridge Ave. that will become its new headquarters.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 7, 2008, 9:00 AM

Comments (36)

Posted by architecture design laboratory, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 7, 2008 at 10:38 am

though this project is slated as a "green project" with LEED rating, in my opinion, the rendering of the building is hideous. what on earth does that kind of building have to do with palo alto, the weekly, or mayfield? this project seems to be architectural pollution in a city with already too many fugly "new" and "modern" buildings. as far as i can tell, the building itself doesn't incorporate many sustainable tactics as a whole. i'm sure there will be low VOC paints, recycled carpets, concrete with fly ash, etc.. but from the building shell, the only thing green about it is the glass. the weekly ought to have a design competition or at least hire someone with some sense of design appropriate for the needs. this building is going to look so bland and out of style 10 years within completion.

Posted by JW, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 7, 2008 at 11:03 am

Looks great to me; modern and very contemporary. It will complement the proposed new granite sculpture at the bottom of California Avenue.

I'm happy to see the PA Weekly looking forward to the future with a "green" contemporary building. Also, you will be improving a very mediocre and uninspiring section of Cambridge Avenue with this new building.

GO Weekly!!!!

Posted by a, a resident of Southgate
on Mar 7, 2008 at 12:52 pm

In a slowing economy with a falling real estate market, doesn't seem too wise to be investing money in a new commercial building.

But hey, good luck anyway. Hope you find good tenants that can help you pay for it.

Posted by ar, a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 7, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Hmmmm, Weekly reduces their staff to two (2) reporters who also probably get paid less than $35k, but decides to spend millions on a new building?

Misplaced priorities?

Posted by Reader, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Most newspapers are cutting costs and reducing staff so it is interesting that our beloved biweekly is actually moving into larger space for its staff of 50. I didn't realise that all the hot air we spout on this Forum was quite so lucrative!

Posted by Now I get it, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 7, 2008 at 3:10 pm

This helps us understand why the Weekly sides with Jim Baer in every development in which he is involved, like Alma Plaza, the Pacific Art League building, Edgewood Plaza and so on.
It is hard to take the opposite side from someone with whom you are so enmeshed.

Posted by Tyler Hanley, online editor of Palo Alto Online
on Mar 7, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

ar - For clarification: We have more than two reporters on staff.

Posted by ar, a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 7, 2008 at 4:45 pm

The Weekly reduced its "staff reporters" down to two (2) sometime last year. Similar to how the Merc reduced its staff size, probably due to loss of ad revenue. I wouldn't be surprised since Google is having the same problems with lost ad revenue.

Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 7, 2008 at 5:24 pm

5 million, how many square feet?

Posted by Resident, a resident of Southgate
on Mar 7, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Well, if it's tough making a living pushing out a biweekly newspaper; go into the real estate business - simple, just diversify!!!

Posted by dd, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 7, 2008 at 9:29 pm

story says 10k

Posted by eck, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 7, 2008 at 9:39 pm

seems like no-brainer - they're paying rent so why not buy? Homeowners do it all the time.

Posted by RS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 7, 2008 at 10:28 pm

10k, you're right, if it had been a snake it would have bit me. thanks dd

So $500 a square foot. Maybe if we can't get Stanford's contractors to build our library at 450 a square foot, we should be taking to the weekly's contractors.

Posted by BeetleNut, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 8, 2008 at 1:38 am

Will they finally hire a copy editor?

Posted by SpaceJam, a resident of Professorville
on Mar 8, 2008 at 1:39 am

I sure hope they add more real estate it is, they only take up half the paper.

Posted by CoolHead, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Mar 8, 2008 at 1:46 am

More knitting articles! More stories on retirees that...without any training at all...have taken up "painting". Expanded coverage on "floral designers".

Posted by OrangePro, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 8, 2008 at 1:51 am

Tyler, Excellent movie reviews!

Posted by FairPlay, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2008 at 1:55 am

architecture design lab, You get today's award for the most boring, pompous comment.

Posted by Now I get it, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2008 at 9:38 am

So the Weekly has been covering stories about Jim Baer's big developments all over town without telling the reader that he is the Weekly's business partner?
Am I the only one who is troubled by this?

Posted by BornToRun, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 8, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Now I Get It, Did it ever occur to you that the articles on Jim Baer projects were written BEFORE The Weekly became his "business partner"?

Posted by ThunderRoad, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Architecture Design Lab, Sounds like you're just jealous because your firm didn't get the job. As my grandmother use to say, "It's not professional to knock the competition."

Posted by Susan B., a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2008 at 2:13 pm

And my mother still says, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." But I guess she wouldn't feel at home on TownSquare.

Posted by Now I get it, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2008 at 3:49 pm

I am referring to an important local newspaper which we count on for objective information. And I am referring to current and forthcoming projects.
Did any of the stories about Alma Plaza have a disclaimer so people would know the connection between the Weekly and this particular developer?

Posted by I Get it Too, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2008 at 6:53 pm

In the Weekly article it says, "The project is being managed by local developer Jim Baer, who jointly purchased the land with the Weekly in 2006." I can think of many articles written in 2007 about Alma Plaza that did not carry any disclaimer. Poor journalism practice in not including a disclosure. Oh well it's just the Weekly that seems to have lost its journalistic ethical roots.

Posted by Words, Words, Words, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Does "jointly" mean 50-50, or some other ratio that might be as little as 95-5?

Posted by ARB, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 8, 2008 at 10:10 pm

If I'm not mistaken, the Weekly ran an article last spring when the building was before the ARB for approval saying it might develop it as its office, depending on the costs. So this isn't news...

Posted by Now I get it, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Some people seem to be uncomfortable with the subject of ethics so they keep changing the subject.
When a developer is building a house or office building for you, you are deeply involved with him. Your relationship with that person is very important. It involves many meetings and conversations, and large amounts of money.
The Weekly has been covering stories about Baer's projects and not mentioning how deeply involved they are with him. It is time to re-read the stories about Alma Plaza and the Pacific Art Building. These are not trivial projects.
The newspaper influences public opinion as well as the city council about how those decisions are made.That's why this is important.
The Weekly is highly regarded around town, so this is a real jolt

Posted by Alma Plaza watcher, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 9, 2008 at 11:13 pm

The Weekly was hardly kind to JOhn McNellis, the developer of Alma Plaza. Stories and editorials were not supportive of him as I recall. Maybe they bent over backwards to be hard on him because of their dealings with Baer? I think you are trying to make an issue without any facts. Trolling for what?

Posted by Tyler Hanley, online editor of Palo Alto Online
on Mar 10, 2008 at 10:09 am

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

ar- Trust me, we have more than two reporters on staff. I can't really comment on ad revenue since I'm in the editorial department, but I promise you we have more than two staff writers. Arden Pennell, Becky Trout and Don Kazak are all considered "staff writers." Sue Dremann also does a great deal of writing for the Weekly.

OrangePro- Thanks for the compliment! Although I've had to cut back a bit on writing movie reviews, I still love doing it. There are some intriguing pictures coming out in 2008 (action fans are in for a real treat, as James Bond, Iron Man and Harry Potter all hit the big screen).

Now I get it (and others)- The Palo Alto Weekly takes great pride in presenting fair and balanced news. As long as I've been here (8 years now), and from what I understand since the Weekly's inception in 1979, the newspaper has held an incredibly high journalistic ethic. Editor Jay Thorwaldson and Managing Editor Jocelyn Dong are among the most admirable journalists I've ever met, and both demand the same journalistic ethic that has personified the Weekly for nearly 30 years. The editorial department and the business/advertising side of the operation are kept very separate -- a "firewall" is maintained. It's a shame that the knee-jerk reaction is to immediately assume favoritism or biased reporting is automatically taking place. Every reporter and editor on staff is very respectful of (and takes great pride in) the position we each have. We hold ourselves to the highest standards, which above all else means presenting the news in a fair and balanced way.

Posted by ar, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 10, 2008 at 10:12 am

Once again, you're skirting the facts.

Fact is the Weekly lost Molly Tannenbaum last year and never replaced her. Hence, the Weekly is down one reporter.

Wish you'd tell the truth!

Posted by ar, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 10, 2008 at 10:24 am

Molly Tannenbaum also covered Alma Plaza. Coincidentally since she's been gone, there hasn't been much news on it, and coincidentally, not much progress on it either. And who's to suffer? Every time I drive by it all I see are the windows boarded up.

Posted by Tyler Hanley, online editor of Palo Alto Online
on Mar 10, 2008 at 11:03 am

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

ar- We do miss Molly, she was a terrific reporter. Not trying to skirt the facts here ar, just correcting some misinformation. You stated that we had only two staff reporters and I'm simply clarifying that we have more than two. Yes, we never replaced the land-use beat position that Molly covered, but Becky, Arden, Don and Sue have done a very admirable job in her absence.

Posted by Baer stories, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 10, 2008 at 3:30 pm

I didn't know anything about the controversy about Baer's offer to the Pacific Art League until I read it in the Daily. Then the Weekly got around to it. The Weekly didn't cover the meetings and the controversial issues, namely Baer's low offer for the building.
Firewall or not, the details of that very local, very interesting story were not adequately covered. The controversy didn't reflect well on Baer but it should have been page 1 news while it was going on, not just at the end.

Posted by ar, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 10, 2008 at 3:47 pm

The Weekly has fewer reporters this year than it did last year and the news is suffering for it, yet the publisher would rather spend millions on an investment in real estate than on investigative reporting.

Ofcourse you're only going to come out with positive things to say about your employer, that's why you cannot be a trusted and unbiased voice in this debate.

If you care about news, put your money where your mouth is and invest in investigative reporters. This is the fault of the Weekly, the Mercury News, and many newspapers across the country who seem only too eager to take money away from the newsroom and put it in real estate in a declining real estate market.

Real smart.

Posted by Georgia Keeran, a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2008 at 3:28 pm

As one of the Trustees that sold the property to Jim Baer, it was never obvious during the sale that Mr. Baer was a partner with the Weekly. We were told there was a possibility the Weekly might lease the existing building after it was remodeled.

Posted by Unnamed Source, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 24, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Mr. Baer may not have been a partner with the Weekly at the time the property was sold.

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