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Palo Alto Jewish campus readies for debut

Staff moves into Palo Alto offices this week, grand opening set for Oct. 18

Staff of the new, $270 million Taube-Koret Campus for Jewish Life will move into their offices Wednesday, three months in advance of the south Palo Alto center's grand opening.

The campus includes the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center and Moldaw Family Residences.

"We'll be spending August setting up and getting ready to open the doors of our fitness center and preschool in September," Alan Sataloff, CEO of the community center, said. "In fact, we're going to invite some of our charter members to help us 'beta test' the facilities in late August -- just like any other Silicon Valley company might do before officially launching."

Senior inhabitants of the Moldaw Family Residences will officially begin moving in during October, according to Daniel Ruth, president and CEO of Jewish Home of San Francisco and the Moldaw Family Residences.

The grand opening is scheduled for Oct. 18.

This week, the 8.5-acre campus at San Antonio and Charleston roads is still the site of heavy construction with drill-wielding crews driving tractors in and out of the area. The rectangular, modern buildings feature several stories of gleaming glass windows, balconies and shingles in pale yellows and greens.

The 145,000-square-foot Jewish Community Center (JCC) will provide members with sports facilities including an indoor and outdoor pool, fitness center and indoor sports courts. The center will also offer educational opportunities ranging from pre-school and after-school programs to lectures and performances in the theater space.

"The Oshman Family JCC sees itself as a nexus of community life providing everything from a state-of-the art fitness center to a performing arts showcase to holding engaging classes for everyone from preschoolers to seniors through our membership programs," Sataloff said.

The inhabitants of the 193 units of senior housing in the 310,000-square-foot Moldaw Family Residences will be allotted multiple benefits such as health care coverage. The eight linked buildings will include dining venues, a music room and a library.

"We wanted to design spaces for older adults that would provide them with an exquisite quality of life and assist them effectively," Ruth said. "We thought of every detail from short walking distances to lighting, color palette and floor services."

The collaborative project was founded in 2001 by the Albert L. Schultz Jewish Community Center (now the Oshman Family JCC) in Palo Alto, the Jewish Home in San Francisco, the Jewish Community Federation and local community leaders.

The coalition of Jewish organizations created the fundraising wing to support acquisition of the former Sun Microsystems site and construction of the campus, according to Sataloff.

"For nearly 50 years, this community has tried to build a permanent home for its Jewish Community Center," Sataloff said. "This has been the most exciting project of my career both because of the size of the project and because of the depth of community commitment, financing and passion about making it happen."

"The idea of building residences has been a dream of the Bay Area Jewish community for 25 to 30 years," Ruth said. "When we had the opportunity to partner with the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, it was a dream come true."

Although the idea for the campus was conceived as early as 2001, ground was not broken until 2007, according to marketing director Hallie Baron.

"It took many years to get the bonds issued and the financing for the campus before construction could begin," she said.

The $270 million project was funded by a combination of tax-exempt bonds issued by nonprofit organizations and donations from 550 private donors.

An extensive real estate team was hired to develop the campus. The seven companies are involved in the design, management and construction of the facilities, officials said.

The eco-friendly campus, which will apply for a LEED-silver sustainability certification, includes a transportation-management plan, onsite recycling programs, water efficiency in landscaping and an integrated building management system that controls all energy use.

Webcor Builders, a contractor on the center's real estate team, helped develop the eco-conscious buildings.

"The campus preserves precious open space by reclaiming a former industrial site and 90 percent of the construction and demolition debris was diverted away from landfills," Andy Ball, president and CEO of Webcor Builders, said.

The campus was built for sustainability because it was the right thing to do, according to Baron.

"The campus will reduce energy consumption, which will require less power and will thus be more cost saving," she said. "The community wanted to have as low an impact on the south Palo Alto area as possible. The previous owner dumped chemicals onto the ground. We cleaned it up and capped it so it can't contaminate the water supply or harm any wildlife or people that come through."

Only the fine tuning remains to be completed before the site's anticipated opening in October.

"The whole exterior is done," Baron said. "They're only doing small things like the plantings of all the beautiful gardens and the tile work on the pool. The campus looks like a real place and not just like a construction project."

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm

It sure is ugly. Why do we get so many ugly developments in Palo Alto these days??


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Congrats, and lots of nachas! I think it is great faciiity -- designed with considerable care for the people and community it will serve...and its neighbors.

I joined right away.


Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 14, 2009 at 4:46 pm

They will all be shopping in Mt. View- Costco, OSH, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath, REI, Trader Joes, Sears, eating on the nice Castro St, where I have yet to see a homeless person, not like our downtown. Good for Mt View! Bad for Palo Alto.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Poster #2, neighbor from another community.

That says it all. We are now a destination, just like city officials desired.


Like this comment
Posted by Rush
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm

That compound looks like a fortress. I wonder if that is intentional?


Like this comment
Posted by I love it!
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2009 at 8:06 pm

I love the modern design! Way to move us into the future JCC! It's a terrific addition to the community. I hope there's room for me when I want senior housing in 20 years, and I'm not Jewish!


Like this comment
Posted by SanAntonioRoad
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2009 at 9:51 pm

The first thing people say when they talk about the project is, I cant believe how ugly it is! How did it ever get approved.
It isn't modern, don't insult modern architecture. Sheer stone walls facing the street. Unbelievable. Indeed, how did it get through the ARB?


Like this comment
Posted by TJ
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 15, 2009 at 7:18 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 15, 2009 at 8:11 am

Who nicknamed it "Fortress Palo Alto" ?
Given it's location, I think that it looks fine. This went through years of review and comment--I am not sure why people are whining now. It is not like one thing was proposed and another thing built.
But I guess this being PA, where council members implore you to vote for an HSR bond and then months later come out against it claiming they did not know what they were supporting--same with the JCC.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 8:37 am

The artists' impressions I saw before the JCC was built gave the impression that it was situated with lawns and landscaping, trees and walkways between the building and the street. The reality is that the same building in a larger setting with plenty of street setback, may have looked a lot better.

We were duped.


Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 15, 2009 at 9:25 am

Maybe you can go to court and get a court order preventing the opening since you claim you were "duped" or you can get Bob Moss to start a petition drive to see whether the center should be torn down to a vote.


Like this comment
Posted by Incredibly ugly
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:40 am

The thing is brand new and already incredibly, in-your-face ugly. And if it looks that bad now, how will it look in 5 years? Yes, aesthetics are subjective, but let's be real - very few people can say with a straight face that this is the kind of design that should be built anywhere near that location.

Whatever process or circumstance happened to allow this thing to be built needs to be closely examined and fixed. Much better can and should be done in the future. Ugh.


Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:43 am

"but let's be real - very few people can say with a straight face that this is the kind of design that should be built anywhere near that location."
Would love to see the results of the survey you did to reach the above conclusion


Like this comment
Posted by gunn mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:45 am

You think it's ugly? Oh yes!! It totally takes away from the beautiful gas stations and empty shack across the street!

Stop complaining and get a life!


Like this comment
Posted by ag
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:46 am

I am very happy to have this addition to our community. I don't care what it looks like and frankly, I can't figure out why anyone else cares. What's important is its function. And yes, I have already joined. There will be trees and plenty of landscaping - just be patient, little trees (which have already been planted on the sidewalk) don't grow overnight!


Like this comment
Posted by Rush
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:48 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by mea
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2009 at 11:06 am

This should definitely win the award for most horrible building built in the Bay Area in the past twenty-five years. What an abomination. What do you mean you don't care what it looks like, we the community have to look at it so we do care.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter K. MUELLER
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 15, 2009 at 11:13 am

Judgement about the construction's appearance include the protective construction facades which are steadily coming down. So one cannot really now see the entire development until all of the construction has been completed.

Current negative critics should wait till it's done. It seems to me the facility will become a glowing community asset made possible by private foundations.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 15, 2009 at 11:20 am

It is like a city in city.


Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

Clearly there are people who are very very unhappy with this building. Either they di dnot pay attention during the public comment period and th emany meetings held prior to the start of building or else the city was duped and something different than what was proposed was built.
Of course some of these people have been complaining since the day construction began.
I suggest that these people seek some sort of legal relief--perhaps a court order not allowing the facility to open or a petition drive to have it torn down and rebuilt. Maybe if enough people get together and scream loudly, the city council will listen and prevent the facility from opening.
This new building clearly does not fit in, as others have pointed out, with the gas stations, empty shack and fast food places, nearby


Like this comment
Posted by Garry Wyndham
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Brutal and repellent architecture. How did this one escape the 'process'? Perhaps our city planners were preoccupied, protecting us from new supermarkets.


Like this comment
Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by SanAntonioroad
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Marvin, you should know. you are the expert on repetition.

We need a contest for the Ugliest Building in PA. Not easy to choose but I vote for this one.


Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Thanks, SanAntonioroad, for the compliment. I am an expert on many things. Seems to me that you and others missed the boat when this issue was discussed and you are now complaining.


Like this comment
Posted by JerryL
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 15, 2009 at 1:15 pm

The big irritant to me is *traffic impact*.
The Charleston/San Antonio intersection is horribly jammed up at times and I am sure those times will increase in duration and frequency as occupancy and events at the JCC increase.

Development after development in this part of town are loading us up with traffic congestion, pollution and other impacts. Yet no one on the council appears to care or have a clue.


Like this comment
Posted by SanAntonioRoad
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Nobody missed the boat. Try to go up against the developer Jim Baer and John Barton't wife Lydia Tan who is the developer of the below market building and on the council John Barton and Drekmeier and Judy Kleinberg and the housing advocates on the so called League of Women voters. See how far you get.


Like this comment
Posted by Sally
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I very seldom look at the blogs after reading the PA Online articles, because whenever I do, I am reminded about how much many people like to whine. Day after day, week after week, when there are much more pressing problems in our world, they whine about issues of taste and traffic. There are review processes to attend and other places to live. Choose among them.

"Degustibus non est disputandum", meaning "there is no disputing about taste", my parents taught me.

Thank you, Marvin, Gunn Mom, and ag, for your comments. I, for one, admire the process, like the buildings, and look forward to its use. Welcome.

And the comments about mosques are just plain nasty.


Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2009 at 2:25 pm

It's not ugly - the building is beautiful. And I'm sure Palo Alto retailers will get a boost - although there's hardly any restaurants near by that are *in* Palo Alto (Roboz' opening next to Peet's will pay them huge dividends). This will be a great addition to the community, and for those of you who live nearby, I wouldn't complain too much. The presence of this center is going to boost housing prices.


Like this comment
Posted by neighor
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm

This is hardly the ugliest building in Palo Alto...look around. Your City Hall is a major contender for that title. Or maybe anything on El Camino.

The Community Center passed all the (considerable) development and planning hoops in Palo Alto.

How about a warm welcome?




Like this comment
Posted by Rush
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Not the ugliest building in the area, but probably the ugliest residential building.


Like this comment
Posted by FS
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Fortress............not really. The comments that I've heard say it looks like a prison.


Like this comment
Posted by Jenny
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Last Monday night the redevelopment of the JJ&F Market near College Terrace brought out 54 residents who wished to speak to that Agenda item. The night the entire project, the Campus for Jewish Life, Altierra etc. went before City Council fewer than 10 people spoke, at least four were in favor of the project.

You can't complain after it's approved. Why weren't you there to help me the night it went before Council, I felt hopeless and alone as it was unnanimously approved!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Rob
a resident of Woodside
on Jul 15, 2009 at 3:39 pm

I wonder if a lot of the PA YMCA members are going to move over to this place?

Also, can something be built in Palo Alto that attracts and entertains younger people, where you don't have to be connected to some kind of religion?


Like this comment
Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2009 at 4:17 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 15, 2009 at 4:34 pm

When someone writes the truth , city staff removes the post and that is very unfair but what they can do? They have to defend the counsulmans, developers.


Like this comment
Posted by Rush
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm

You think that city staff is censoring this web site? Some kind of conspiracy between government and the media?


Like this comment
Posted by Cecelia Horn
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I have lived and walked all around the Loral, West Bayshore and Charleston Road Trapezoid. Once had gainful employment in the historic building where first integrated circuit was fabricated, so I know where I'll be living shortly. For those who carefully read building permits or sales of property, just have a look at the Mecca-facing mosque which is already on the drawing board and the propeerty acquired through the efforts Realtor Essaboy. It will lie in Palo Alto (late home Pearson Electronics and other niche businesses). Check your maps near Commercial Street and the new location of Chiardella's--one of the few old businesses moving to a new town--Palo Alto very far south. Let's welcome all diversity.


Like this comment
Posted by supporter
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 15, 2009 at 5:50 pm

P.A. Native-- Just like you don't have to be Christian to go the YMCA, you don't have to be jewish to go to the JCC. It's open to everyone. (I'm not jewish and I'm joining.)

Remember, this all started because the School District reopened Terman and kicked the JCC out.

So Please-- let's leave the religion part out of this discussion. I sincerely hope the fact that it's "jewish" isn't an underlying source of anger...



Like this comment
Posted by PA resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 9:37 pm

This is a hideous looking building. It looks like a power plant from the San Antonio Road vantage point. I disappointed that the Architecture Review Board would approve such a design.


Like this comment
Posted by LosAltan
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:32 pm

For better or for worse, part of the design is undoubtedly due to the unfortunate need to ensure security (based on armed incursions into JCC's in LA, Seattle, and elsewhere).


Like this comment
Posted by Phil Shirts
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 16, 2009 at 3:10 am

I'm really happy to see the Taube-Koret Campus for Jewish Life nearing completion. What a great, positive facility to have so near to where we live. Wow! It's not every day someone builds a $270 million dollar community center down the street ...and in this economy, as well. I certainly appreciate it.

Thanks, congratulations, best of luck, and welcome.


Like this comment
Posted by A cyclist
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2009 at 8:17 am

A good addition to the city. The auditorium on the corner
of San Antonio and Charleston does look a little stark, but
then consider what it replaced: an aged Fried Chicken outlet,
whose entrance and exit were right on a busy and awkward turn!

Let's not pursue illusionary perfection. I'd like to see more
reasonable and useful new buildings replacing abandoned or decrepit
ones. And that won't happen if we set an excessively high bar on
the new.


Like this comment
Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2009 at 11:22 am

I have absolutely no ill feeling towards Jewish people. I want to make that clear since my post was removed for whatever reason the online staff uses. I'm simply saying that this is a perk for the Jewish community. It may be possible for everyone to join, but I believe the fact that it's a Jewish Community Center will probably deter non-Jewish people to some extent.



Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 16, 2009 at 11:28 am

PA Native--your above comment is ridiculous. Look at the JCC when it was at the Terman site--it was open to everyone--it was considered a great source for all people in the city. things will be the same at the new site. If you feel that being non-Jewish will deter you from using this place, then you have issues.
This never has been nor will be a "perk" for the Jewish community.


Like this comment
Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2009 at 11:38 am

Riiiight. Growing up in Palo Alto since birth, the only time I went to the JCC was when I was with a Jewish friend or attending a batmizvah. Must be beacause I have "issues". Give me a break.


Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 16, 2009 at 11:42 am

PA-Native--did you ever go to the JCC and were denied entrance? Did you ever take advantage of any of the programs that are offered at the JCC. You seem to suggest that being non-Jewish will somehow prevent people from using the facility. Sounds to me like you do have issues, unless you have some real proof that the JCC discourages non-Jewish people from joining or taking part in any of their programs.


Like this comment
Posted by gunn ;mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 16, 2009 at 11:45 am

Im Jewish and have belonged the Young Men's Christian Association on Ross Road for years.
I am constantly having folks nipping at my heels when I am finishing up a treadmill or machine.
I can't wait for a state of the art gym/*outdoor* pool and indoor pool.
If you think that a JCC does not welcome everyone..you are out of touch with reality.


Like this comment
Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2009 at 11:47 am

Stop trying to put words in my mouth Marvin. I didn't say that people were turned away and you know that.

Yes, I am saying being non-Jewish will DETER some people from joining. That's a reality.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2009 at 11:47 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 16, 2009 at 12:02 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Resident (different one)
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Interesting points here. I never went to the JCC at Terman because it never occurred to me that I would be able to join. The only time I even crossed the threshold was to take my child to a birthday party of a jewish friend.

I would imagine that if an organization put something in its name that made it appear to attract one group more than any other, they were automatically making those outside that group feel it wasn't for them.

The YMCA has now become just letters and very few really think it is for Young Christian Men only. However, when I was young I stayed at a YWCA hostel in London and attended a Christian oriented youth club for boys and girls in my local YMCA which was open to all, but certainly had Christian music as part of its program.

If we were to have a community center that called itself African American Palo Alto Community Center, or Buddhist Community Center, or Tree Huggers Community Center, we would not think that others outside that demographic would fit in.

Consequently, if this new JCC truly is for everyone, why do they make it sound so jewish? Couldn't a more inclusive name be found?


Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 16, 2009 at 12:19 pm

It is too bad that so many people are harping about the name of the place and not taking into account the services provided to all at the former JCC and which will be provided to all at the new JCC. A simple look at the website should clear up this issue.
In addition everyone knows what YMCA stands for and no one has suggested a more inclusive name for them.
If you feel that not being jewish is a problem, then do not avail yourself of any of the services and/or events at the center


Like this comment
Posted by SanAntoinio Road
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2009 at 4:55 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2009 at 6:42 pm

This thread is very revealing... and more than a little scary. After a lot of talk about architecture (was it really?)...some blatantly disturbing comments come out.

The JCC needn't change its name. It intends to be as inclusive as the YMCA/YWCA.

If being around so many Jews makes you uncomfortable, don't go there.



Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 16, 2009 at 7:10 pm

SanAntoinio Road--thanks for the advice however misguided it is. I have no trouble in understanding what certain people are saying on this thread--it is clear to me and others. As for empathy--I am supposed to empathize with people who have a problem with an organization or a center because it contains the name of a certain religious group?
Clearly some people have issues and/or misconception regarding the JCC--I suggest they check the JCC online, go there in person or speak with people who have had experiemce with the old JCC at Terman. Obvioulsy there are also some people who have other issues, so matter of persuasion will change their minds. If you have issues with the JCC because it has "jewish" in the name or feel you will be out ofplace at the JCC, then I suggest you go to the YMCA or a center that represents the religion you feel comfortable witj


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2009 at 7:16 pm

AMEN!!!
End of thread.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2009 at 7:25 pm

I don't think that people are understanding what I is being said (and I won't mention names).

I have been to YMCAs and YWCAs in other places which were very Christian in orientation. As a result, I expect YMCAs to be Christian orientated when I go to them. All the YMCAs I have been to also stated that they were for everyone, but when I got there I discovered that although they welcomed me, they still expected me to become involved in their religious beliefs. That was fine with me, but I know others felt uncomfortable about this.

I believe, although I am not a member, that the YMCA on Ross Road has no religious affiliation but since I am not a member, I can't say for sure. My experience of other Ys leads to to feel that it might.

As a result, any other institution that has a religion in its name leads me to feel that it is likely to be similarly orientated because of its name.

Likewise, if I went to an Irish pub I would expect Irish beer, or an Italian restaurant, I would expect Italian cuisine, or a Chinese Supermarket to carry Chinese food.

As a result, I am saying that the name of a place gives an indication of what we expect to find. Consequently, I would imagine many people will not become members because they will, however erroneously, assume that it was not for them.


Like this comment
Posted by Tob
a resident of Woodside
on Jul 16, 2009 at 7:43 pm

I don't think the center should have been able to utilize tax exempt bonds for development. They state everyone is "welcome" to join and I'm positive they're not going to deny anyone (lawsuit), but giving a tax break to the financers of a select religious group for a super luxury 24 hour fitness with housing for select individuals, is taking away tax revenue from those who can afford taxes the most. Granted, the laws allow this, but it just seems wrong.


Like this comment
Posted by Agnostic
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 16, 2009 at 10:19 pm

I'm pretty agnostic about postmodern architecture. I'm afraid the new
JCC is pushing me towards atheistic hostility towards postmodernism.
On the other hand, compared to the gas stations on the other corners, it doesn't look so bad. Over time, it will look better.

As a former non-Jewish member of a JCC (not this one), I suggest that
folks read the Wikipedia articles on Jewish Community Centers and on The Reform Movement in Judaism. The articles might be very *Enlightening*. ;-)

As for traffic-- the whiners do have a point. But remember: Ford Aerospace and Sun were there first.


Like this comment
Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 17, 2009 at 6:51 am

Resident--I am sorry,but it sounds to me like you are stereotyping and/or have pre-conceived notions about places based just on their name--without having any personal interactions with them.
If people want to pass up a chance to be a member or take part in activities at the new JCC based just on the name, without actually finding out any facts, that is their choice.

From a wikipedia article about JCCs:

"In fact, many JCCs sponsor local events. There are, however, many other activities which people can host at the JCC. For example, in Houston there are rooms to rent and Drivers Education classes."


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 17, 2009 at 10:47 am

The development is plain ugly, unfortunately, but the center and its services will undoubtedly be an asset to this community and region. I will not be joining and I feel this way.


Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Marie is a registered user.

I have joined the JCC and am looking forward to using all its facilities. I think it is a fantastic addition to the community and will have far less impact to the community environmentally and from traffic than the Sun Microsystems headquarters that preceded it. As a Jewish community center, I think the main difference from a YMCA is that it will observe Jewish holidays not Christian ones, in terms of when it is open. Any JCC' I have known has been open to anyone. My very religious Catholic aunt and uncle (mass everyday) belonged to the SF JCC because it was in their neighborhood and had the best facilities. They never felt awkward and loved it. Anyone who would feel unwelcome at a JCC has obviously never checked into joining or tried out the gym - or more likely, would feel uncomfortable anywhere without a Christian (or fill in the blank) religious orientation.

All that being said, and even though I am very supportive of the JCC, I was taken aback by the architecture. It is far from the worst in Palo Alto (check out City Hall, Palo Alto Square, Channing House, 101 Alma etc.). However, it was a huge disappointment. I'm sure it will be beautiful from inside, but the view coming from Charleston and San Antonio is awful. I did see conceptual drawings and they seemed fine but they didn't show that angle. I also think the colors are terrible. I'm sure I'll get used to it with time. When the landscaping matures, it wlll soften the architecture. But it is sad that I have to hope the landscape will hide the buildings rather than showcase what could have been something amazing.


Like this comment
Posted by to each their own
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Whether you like the building or not, it is certainly a shock to see such a huge construction the first time you drive down that road.
I guess you'll get used to it as we did with the Cheescake Factory.


Like this comment
Posted by Reeva
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jul 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm

If people are so hung up on the fact that it is called the 'Jewish Community Center', and thus feel excluded...I wonder if these people feel the same when it comes to being treated at one of the MANY Jewish Hospitals that have been established through the years and throughout the country...Like Beth Israel, Mt. sinai, National Jewish in Denver etc. When they are sick, do they runaway from being treated at a hospital with a Jewish name??? Even Mt. Scopus Hospital in Israel treats and heals many Arabs, and they don't feel excluded.


Like this comment
Posted by Amy
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 18, 2009 at 11:37 pm

All that money spent on a monstrosity! Surely they could have built the same building set back from the street with some landscaping, a few windows, and not so many dizzying geometrics on the facade. Hopefully, the inside is nice, the staff is friendly, and the programs offered make up for the lack of aesthetics on the outside. If not, I'm afraid they're in trouble.


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Posted by student
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 19, 2009 at 12:14 pm

the inside is very nice by the way.
ohh...and of course the hideous architecture takes so much away from the beautiful gas stations and the empty old warehouse.

its very nice, and should be given a chance...maybe its called the Jewish community center because the jews are the ones that raised all the money to build it.


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Posted by gunn mom
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Jul 19, 2009 at 2:08 pm

To all the people complaining about the new JCC:

I just visited the new JCC inside and it will blow you socks off. Nicest facility with amazing indoor/outdoor pools, gym, grounds..gym is twice the size at the Y.
So stop whining about the outside architecture. And yes, its named the "JCC" cause its the Jews who raised all the money and built it.



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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2009 at 7:39 pm



The architecture is very ugly, it looks like some thing from the USSR in the 50s.
It looks horrible now, imagine what it will look like in 5-10 years?
However by that time it will fit with the proposed HSR bunker design concrete wall which would divide Palo Alto.

Maybe they can paint pastoral murals on it some sort of CamouflageWeb Link.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm

A year after the opening, why can't a respected judge look at who has joined and who lives there and then release a report saying how many Jewish people and how many non-Jewish people are members? This would protect people's privacy and if we learn that for example the membership is 50/50 or 40/60, maybe people who are not Jewish will be encouraged to join. I don't believe non Jewish people who want to join are being discouraged. I believe they are being encouraged and welcomed.


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Posted by SanAntonio Road
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Comparing the architecture to the modest surrounding buildings is a pathetic defense. Maybe it's nicer than Kentucky Fried Chicken. (it isn't). That's a compliment?
Some of the descriptions by many people on this thread are Just Plain Ugly, Brutal and Repellant, Unfortunate need for Security, City in a City, InYourFace Ugly, Stark, Monstrosity, Looks like a Jail, FortressPaloalto, USSR in the 50s.
Religion has nothing to do with the looks of the building. The architects designed something awful and the ARB gave their favorite developer's project a pass.


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Posted by Amy
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 19, 2009 at 11:30 pm

AMEN!!! Religion has NOTHING to do with the appearance of the building. This building is a giant mistake.


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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 20, 2009 at 6:48 am

Resident--why should a judge look at who are members and who lives there? Is this really anyone's business? If people have problems with the place because it has the word "jewish" in it's name, then they have issues that a judge and numbers will not resolve. If non-jewish people are not being discouraged from joining and are welcomed what is the issue then? Do we need to cater to the concerns of a very small minority of people who have a problem with the term "jewish"?
There are JCCs all over the world that cater to the needs of the communities at large. Do you also suggest that a judge look at who gets treated at let's say, Beth Israel hospital in NYC and/or National Jewish in Denver to see how many jewish people are treated so that non-jews will feel comfortable getting treated there?


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Posted by (different) Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2009 at 7:57 am

I am not sure if there is any way of knowing who the membership is by looking at a list of names. Is there a question on the membership forms to ask for religion? Otherwise I can't see how it could be discovered. And, I am not sure if I would feel happy if a community center asked for my religion in my application form - regardless of its name.


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Posted by bias perhaps?
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 20, 2009 at 8:07 am

Someone thinks the KFC was nicer than this building? That explains a lot about this fuss. The new Left.



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Posted by gunn mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 20, 2009 at 8:59 am

Look, anyone who joins and goes to the gym..NO ONE CARES if you are Jewish or not Jewish! NO ONE notices or cares. You guys are too uptight.
Ever been to the Y?
Does anyone care what someone's religion is?
No one notices or cares.
What I care about is the facility: do I have to rush off a treadmill? is the pool too crowded, is the staff friendly?

If you want to complain about something, take a look at the ugly army green soundwall on Fabian.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2009 at 11:46 am

Marvin, I'm responding to the concern about available housing and resource allocation. The issue is the same whether the name contains the word Jewish, Catholic, Campus for Presbyterian Life or Center for the study and play of chess. This is a huge development. If there really is no way to find out if the people who join are Jewish or non-Jewish, then why was this development approved? IF we do find out that not many non_Jewish people have joined (and I agree that all are welcomed), then some people have a problem because scarce resources are given to one group.

I think planning departments all over the country should be aware, IF it is true, that no matter how welcoming the religious group occuping the high ground, a diverse population won't want to join. This, IF true, means these huge religious campuses shouldn't be built in dense population centers. This is a question of fairness. People also ask - is it fair for huge homes to be built in the Bay Area given the scarcity of water? What about demolishing a day center in South Palo Alto in order to build dense housing? Do we have enough day care for all in Palo Alto or do we have waiting lists and because of scarcity fees too high for many to pay? What about the question - should private corporations own water and sell it to us or is water owned by all? Should a huge development be built at all in an area where water is scarse?


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Posted by gunn mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 20, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Actually when I went to JCC yesterday for a tour, they told me its about 50/50 Jewish/non-Jewish in terms of signups for gym. People are looking for state of the art facility and that is the main draw.


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Posted by Nearby Neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Regarding membership, everyone in our neighborhood, which is less than 1/2 mile away, received an introductory invitation to join the JCC with a discounted rate. Guess what? We joined and we're not even Jewish. There are two pools, 5 locker rooms (mens, womens, girls, boys and family) weight and exercise equipment rooms, a basketball court, exercise classes. And we can walk, even if free parking is offered. Is it the most beautiful building in town? Probably not. Does it give Loral a run for its money? Gee, what do you think! The landscaping has done wonders and will only improve in time. I don't think REI, Bed Bath and Beyond down the street are much better.


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Posted by San Antonio road
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm

There are none so blind as those who will not see.


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