New hotel to rise over the baylands | News | Palo Alto Online |

News

New hotel to rise over the baylands

Council approves four-story hotel at Ming's site

Palo Alto's newest hotel will soon overlook the city's pristine Baylands after the City Council quickly and enthusiastically gave the project a green light Monday night.

The council voted 8-0, with Karen Holman recusing, to approve a proposed four-story hotel and restaurant for the site of Ming's Chinese Cuisine & Bar at 1700 Embarcadero Road, near East Bayshore Road. Ming's would be demolished and rebuilt as part of the project.

The project spells good news for the cash-strapped city, which is facing an $8.3 million budget gap in fiscal year 2011. Hotel taxes, which are one of the city's few revenue streams, plummeted by more than 10 percent between fiscal years 2008 and 2009.

"This, frankly, is exactly the kind of thing that we need to encourage," Vice Mayor Sid Espinosa said Monday. "It's not only a great project, but it helps to generate revenue for our city."

Once built, the hotel will bring in between $570,000 and $697,000 annually in various taxes, most notably the hotel tax. The city will also receive about $2.2 million in one-time "impact fees."

The 147-room hotel is one of three new hotels currently in the city's pipeline. In December, the council approved a new hotel for the site of Palo Alto Bowl on El Camino Real. A smaller, 40-room "concierge wing" has been proposed for just south of the Westin Hotel in downtown Palo Alto.

Mayor Pat Burt attributed the new projects largely to the zoning incentives the city adopted to encourage hotel construction. In 2006, the city changed its zoning ordinance to allow greater density at properties zoned service commercial (CS). On Monday night, the council agreed to rezone the Ming's site from planned community (PC) to CS to enable the new hotel.

"It's important how we used zoning incentives and our marketing program through our visitors' bureau to help assist the development of hotels in Palo Alto," Burt said.

The Baylands hotel received no opposition from the public and had previously earned unanimous approval from the city's Planning and Transportation Commission and Architectural Review Board. The council was similarly enthusiastic, though Councilman Yiaway Yeh had one small complaint.

"The only downside is we won't have access to Ming's food for a certain period of time," Yeh said.

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Jean
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 13, 2010 at 9:27 am

No, it won't overlook the 'pristine' Baylands. It will overlook an auto agency, the Stanford Retinal Clinic (Arrillaga Bldg. being finished finally), massive electrical towers, the 101 Freeway, one of the most congested intersections in the area, office buildings, and from its 'roof garden', the Palo Alto Sewage Treatment Plant - and smell it when there is an off-shore breeze. As for missing Ming's Food - sorry, not recently. It started going 'downhill' some time ago.


Like this comment
Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2010 at 9:36 am

I have 3 questions regarding this project:

1) How much will the Ming owners give to the city towards the building of the new police palace

2) How much housing will the Ming owners have to provide for their employees

3) Will there be a guarantee of "no new net car trips" in the city from this development

Probably this was approved so quickly is that the city realized that they could not extort money from the owners like they plan to do with Stanford. But why should this development not have to abide by the same demands that are made of Stanford?


Like this comment
Posted by whiners
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2010 at 9:55 am

Some people will whine about anything. The article clearly states that the hotel will be a big money maker for the city. The environmental cost will be minimal since this is already an business/industrial area and the hotel is only 4 stories tall. Since the hotel is adjacent to a freeway exit, there will be little impact on city streets.


Like this comment
Posted by Evan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2010 at 10:22 am

No more Ming's!? What will I do when I get the craving for crappy, overpriced Chinese food? Sigh...such sacrifices we need to make.

Also, this headline is ridiculous. It's not "over" the baylands, at least not the Baylands that still exist.


Like this comment
Posted by carlitos ways
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2010 at 10:27 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by whiners
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2010 at 10:27 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 13, 2010 at 10:59 am

MY COMMENTS FROM 17 SEPT 08 HAVE NOT CHANGED!!!!!!

"Reality CHECK please on the new hotel concept at Ming's site

Let see -- right across the street sets a VACANT office building.

South, down East Bayshore is a few more vacant buildings. Over on the West Bayshore side there is a quarter/half million PLUS square feet of vacant space.

Why don't we have a honest Palo Alto Planning & Transportation Commission and City Council that will honestly say "Developer Lobby, Developer Donate, We approve"!!!!

It would be great if the Palo Alto Planning & Transportation Commission and the City Council learned a new word -- NO or new phase -- DISAPPROVED....

There is no sane reason to approve the new hotel concept at Ming's site except MONEY, MONEY, MONEY and not care about the people of Palo Alto."


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

I hope this doesn't worsen congestion at Embarcadero/Oregon freeway entrance. Is there any projection about this - I would imagine most hotel visitors would be coming from SFO or San Jose airport along 101.


Like this comment
Posted by Daniel Mart
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 13, 2010 at 11:57 am

Daniel Mart is a registered user.

Well, some of you probably know this, but the bowling alley has been saved; stories will eventually be appearing in the papers.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Why don't they rebuild the bowling alley around Mings.

Has anyone ever done any kind of polling about what Palo Altans feel about development, and why does the city keep foisting these projects on everyone and just doing whatever they want.

Meanwhile I have trees in my neighbors yard that are monsters and block out any hope of my ever collecting solar energy, yet these idiotic trees that no one sees have the protection of the city.

four-letter-word this !


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2010 at 1:19 pm

>> What will I do when I get the craving for crappy, overpriced Chinese food?

LOL, Evan, try out Chef Chu's. There are actually many overpriced Chinese places in Palo Alto, but Mings I think is the largest and oldest! I have not been there is so long I forget hwo it is ... has it really gone that far downhill.

Really telling is that I forgot where it used to be? Where was the old Ming's? Anyone?


Like this comment
Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm

El Camino at Vista Road PA.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Gosh ... I totally forget that. That whole area has changed so much. Was Ming's where the little shopping center is, used to be the Video Store or something?

I remember there used to be a gas station on that little triangular strip on the other side of the street, and an adult bookstore way on the other side of that triangle ... when I was too young to think about such things. And then somewhere there used to be someplace called the "Cameo Club" ... Palo Alto is very different today than it was before.

I got a kick out of the Obama headquarters being in what used to be the old "Cheetah Club", live nude dancers ... when I was about 13 or so. Don't now why I would remember that and not Ming's.

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be! ;-)


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2010 at 1:42 pm

I sure would be cool if the city would collect and maybe pay people something for posting old pictures of places in Palo Alto.

I keep thinking we used to have a drive in theater in Palo Alto by the Baylands, then thinking it was the drive in in Mountain View that became the Century ... but I thought Palo Alto had a small drive in too?


Like this comment
Posted by Mayfield Child
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm

PA drive inn was at the corner of Amarillo and the frontage road...
MV had their own movie drive inn...at Sterlin Road and 101....both had snack bars and playground area for kids..miss those days!!

Donate pictures to Steve Stagner at the Newell Rd. Palo Alto Library..he is historian and accepts pictures .. great collection if you ever get the chance to go........

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

There was a gas station owned by Frank and also a grocery store across the street at the corner of Wilton and El Camino..owned by another man named Frank..Frank and Millie..and they lived in the little house attached to it. Now there is a food place there, which I NEVER see anyone in there...don't know what is going on in there for the last several years..don't know how the business is surviving without customers....hummmmmm.....anyone know about THAT?

Where the Mexican food place is now on El CAMino ("El Gurensky"..can't remember how it is spelled..!) used to be a Harry's Hofbrau, then a laundry place... Cameo Club was further South..card room and had little cottages on the back of the property.........
(Anyone know about THAT?!!)
Also was El CAmino Vet Clinic owned by Dr. Syndney Smith...next door to that was a Palm Reading house...( Anyone know about THAT>>>??!!) Hummmmmm.
Old Barrel Liquor store was across the street from them, as was Rick's Swiss Chalet (where the Goodwill Store is now.)
Yipes, yes, this town sure has changed.....................


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I knew there was a Palo Alto Drive In Theater at one time!

Why doesn't Steve Stanger put the Palo Alto Picture online and index them by time or location ... that would be very cool!?

I went to Paly the last year they had "the old" buildings in service. Funny how it looked so nice for dilapidated old school buildings, and now the so-called new buildings look terrible and are out of date and not very pleasant.

I remember the old Mtn. View Surplus store ... but guess that is Mtn. View.

The Fine Arts, Varsity, and the little place on Hamilton with the pillows and bean bag chairs ... Festival, that was it. WOW!


Like this comment
Posted by mutti
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 13, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Obviously the City Council doesn't read the newspaper. Big story in today's SJ Merc about how many hotels around here are going into bankruptcy because of declining revenue. Business travel is way down. Why go to Palo Alto from Chicago for a 2 hour meeting when you can do it online? We are not a big tourist destination---except maybe 2 or 3 Stanford football games each year.


Like this comment
Posted by Tourist
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 13, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Mutti--what do you mean we are not a big tourist destination?
We have plenty--all our homes built 60+ years ago are historic. we have Eichler homes. We have the only shopping center designed by Eichler. We have a zoo, the Children's Theatre, a thriving downtown. Tourists will come flocking here once we promote all of these items.


Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 13, 2010 at 7:19 pm

YES! Increasing our tax base and a new hotel. Palo Alto is getting back on track.


Like this comment
Posted by Gail
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2010 at 7:40 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2010 at 8:08 am

Interesting that the hotel/housing at the Palo Alto Bowl site has been put on hold due to the economy. Are we building too many hotel rooms?
Since the city may not allow Stanford to go ahead with the hospital rebuild (unless the city get's it's payment from Stanford), how will the loss of the hospitals effect hotel occupancy in Palo Alto.
Unfortunately, our leaders never look at the big picture and are instead blinded by their own supposed brilliance (i.e. Pat Burt seeing dollar signs from red light cameras--even though they are problematic and some cities are getting rid of them)


Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2010 at 8:39 am

Just another overpriced hotel that will cater to corporate customers on expense accounts. It's all about the money, honey.


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2010 at 9:22 am

I don't get it. We have people on this forum who are complaining about the city budget and who should absorb the cuts, etc. Here's a project that may provide potential new revenue to the city and most of the comments are negative. This project is privately funded and yet some comments imply that it is a waste of time and money...As long as it isn't your money, why so many complaints?


Like this comment
Posted by MoM by Gunn
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 14, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Crescent Park Dad.....because the People Of Palo Alto are being bought out by people who have the money to make their dent into our town...ya think????????????????????????????????


Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2010 at 10:42 pm

"Dent into our town?" Is that a technical term? What are you trying to say?

Our city's hotel stock is weak. At the upper end of the market, the Westin and Sheraton are aging and need to be renovated. The same goes for the Garden Court. The Four Seasons has to have stolen share away from these three. The introduction of Mings, will put more pressure on the existing players to invest in their properties in order to to win back any share that they've lost. Competition is good for the customer.

Hopefully the rooms and service will be better than Ming's the restaurant offers.


Like this comment
Posted by a talkative couple
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2010 at 12:09 am

I LOVE Ming's. I love their dim sum and the staff are so nice to be around. Heartbreak during the interim.


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2010 at 10:40 am

MoM: the Ming's owners are not new to the community and they are trying to improve their own situation. They have been there for decades. The new hotel will include a scaled down version of their restaurant (which isn't that busy these days).

Tell me exactly how the Ming's "family" is selling out their own town? Especially since they are keeping the property and improving it for greater use?


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