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SOFA project could lose retail space

Original post made on Sep 28, 2007

Long-discussed plans to develop the former Palo Alto Medical Foundation property as mixed use with housing, retail shops and medical offices may be scrapped to make way for a single, large tenant.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 28, 2007, 12:00 AM

Comments (6)

Posted by another resident/shopper, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2007 at 12:03 am

If this happens it will again show who is really running this city!!They state that stores cant pay the high rent they want so the zoning should be changed to allow them to make more, much more money. If this happens there it should be a basis for zone changes throuout the entire city. As long as it applies to everyone it might be ok. I should be able to convert my house into a business location as I can make more rent!

Just like Alma Plaza being converted from a neighborhood shopping center to a super money making high density housing project and a very few small stores that no one needs or will shop at. I suspect that the rent will be so high that a ordinary store will not be able to locate there either.

The upcoming vote for council members is very important as it is the only way for the residents to have some say in what this city is to become. Will it become a city of industry and super high density housing (except for enclaves of the rulers) or remain to some degree a residental community with no fears of a "Hyett" coming to your neighborhood.


Posted by Maybe, maybe not, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 29, 2007 at 8:37 am

It's true that zoning changes in Palo Alto seem to be coin operated, and this leads to an inevitable worsening of the city, because short term financial benefit for some people or corporations outweighs the weak planning efforts made over time that might benefit the city.

But in this case the neighborhood apparently prefers the change, so at least it might benefit someone in Palo Alto.


Posted by Elaine Meyer, a resident of University South
on Sep 29, 2007 at 2:43 pm

The neighbors prefer the change? Who says that? I am not aware that the neighbors were asked what they thought at least that information hasn't reached me.
If the developer would like to do a small survey of the neighbors, we would be glad to cooperate.


Posted by Jeremy Loski, a resident of Ventura
on Sep 29, 2007 at 6:24 pm

I think it all depends on who the single large tenent is, no?

I, too, find this somewhat concerning, but $4-5 per sq ft is a VERY big burden on small retail. Run the numbers.

I have said it before, and I will say it again - Palo Alto is heading for very high end boutique retail and restaurant services. Some of those businesses will be "hobby" businesses affordded by those who can afford to take loses.

We have to pay attention to market forces, and then work with developers and neighbors to come up with something that will work for both sides. This is a sensitive site.


Posted by another resident/shopper, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2007 at 11:03 pm

If they can't find retail stores that will only pay what they can and make a reasonable profit let the space set empty until the owners decide it better to get some rent than none.!! The build was allowed to be built on the condition of having retail.
The city is renting space near university Ave. at a loss to the taxpayers. and it's at a lot less then $4 to $5 a sq.ft. I believe.

The neighbors prefer a change! What a joke. They probably found one or two and they probably work for the developer.


Posted by David Bubenik, a resident of University South
on Oct 1, 2007 at 5:26 pm

I live one block from this project, and I actually know a neighbor who favors this proposal, and I know that the developer also knows that neighbor, so cherry-picking the neighborhood sentiment is not hard to do. The trick is knowing who NOT to ask.

I do not blame the developer. The representation is accurate as far as it goes, and it worked extremely well throughout the Byzantine SoFA process that gave us this woefully misplaced building. However, almost anyone over age 12 can see through this ruse, and I'm gratified to see that most of the current Planning Commission seems to be over age 12.


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