Where once there was an ARCO


Where: Site of former ARCO gas station, 2995 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto.

What: Workers are starting construction on a two-story commercial building that will offer retail on the ground floor and office space above. Neighborhood leaders said they hope to see a restaurant on the ground floor, but that is yet to be determined.

The building will feature large storefront windows, "standing seam metal roofs" and porcelain tile, according to documents filed with the city. There will be a terrace area for office occupants as well as awnings to create shaded outdoor areas for public use on the ground floor.

The development will include 28 parking spaces as required by the city.

Who: Owner Eric Corrigan has hired Redwood City architect Ken Hayes to design the building. Contractor is South Bay Construction.

Impact: The project will not cause an increase in traffic, according to a traffic study comparing the old use with the new use. No other significant impacts are expected.

When: Work began in October and is expected to be completed in summer of 2011.

Cost: The architecture firm had no comment on the cost of the project.

Chris Kenrick

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Posted by bittersweet
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2010 at 2:49 pm

I'm glad they are finally cleaning up that eyesore, but I would prefer another gas station in midtown. Residents have to drive to other parts of town to get their gas, causing more traffic and pollution. Did the NIMBYs kill the old gas station?

Like this comment
Posted by Midtown shopper
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2010 at 3:26 pm


If I remember well it is ARCO that killed the gas station. It did not sell enough gasoline to the company's taste and, I guess, looked bad as a statistic on their annual report. The station owner wanted to stay in business but ARCO owned the land, so it locked the owner out, and then sold the land.

I believe most people in the neighborhood would have liked to keep the gas station. I did.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 17, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Had there been a conerted effort by the community, it might have been a badly needed gymnasium.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Why would Palo Alto need another gym ? each high school has one, there is PAYMCA just down the road and JCC a little farther, there are sports at all schools etc and a new private gym in Mid Town.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2010 at 5:36 pm


I expect you don't quite understand Paul's comment. The gym in question is for basketball during December - March, basketball season, and gymnastics, rather than keep fit type gyms.

For non school basketballs leagues like NJC and others, there are too few gyms available in Palo Alto. The school gyms are out of the question on weeknights until about 8.00 pm because they are used for school basketball teams. This means that sometimes we are having elementary school teams practicing at 8 - 9 or having to go to Menlo Park for practice times in our gyms.

There are too many kids who want to play sport in Palo Alto for the amount of gym space and the increasing housing just bring more people into town. We need more space for all field sports and also gyms as what we have isn't growing to meet the increased need.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm

@ Resident
Well if it just for basketball for 3 months of the year why not put lights on the existing out door basketball courts at JLS,Jordan,Paly,Gunn etc also---- Stanford has an over capacity of indoor basketball courts if CPA were more collaborative then they would help if PA covered the liability.
In terms of field sports---it seems that outside groups use our park and school fields whenever they want--there is also a new field is also that new field @ Page Mill and El Camino.
Also the funding of 5 libraries in the age of the web, e books is a complete waste of money--turn one of the branches into a gym--but get private money--their are many billionaires in Palo Alto who would love to have their name on a gym.

What we do need is a gas station

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 17, 2010 at 9:04 pm

There was considerable gasoline contamination that was released at this site in the 80s and 90s as a gas station. I would hesitate to consider a future sensitive use such as a gymnasium for youth as some posters hoped. While the site may no longer receive cleanup regulatory oversight, future use should be cautious toward the discovery as well as management of contaminants. For example the architects should adopt mitigative measures to guard again fuel vapors migrating into enclosed spaces.

Web Link

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Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2010 at 10:40 pm

I was walking through Cubberley the other day and noticed that the two gymnasiums that were once rented by the JCC are now basketball courts and used by kids. Meanwhile, a tour of the JCC showed me that they have built 5 gymnasiums some of which they are using for basketball.

If Palo Alto built a gymnasium on every block the basketball people would continue to say that they don't have enough basketball courts!! You've now got more than you had three years ago but of course that's never enough!!

Guess what, the Arco Station is privately owned and they have the right to sell the land to a developer of their choice and to do with it whatever they like so long as it's within the City's zoning codes.

Like this comment
Posted by midnight basketball?
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Are the JCC basketball courts open to the public at night? That would be cool.

Like this comment
Posted by LBird
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2010 at 11:50 pm

The site isn't really big enough for more than 1 court, plus there's no where to park, since the lot is only for Winter Lodge/Kim Grant and its usually pretty full of customers, so I think this basketball discussion is pretty pointless.

I tried to buy the property to use it as a leather tannery, but got a lot of resistance from City Hall. It was a no-go for the adult bookstore and shooting range idea I had. Please understand that was going to be one business - a novel concept bringing those two types of entities together. It would have been like no other place on earth - adult books and DVD's, plus a shooting range. And now, its just going to be some boring office or something. Tough going for a businessman in this town.

Like this comment
Posted by Private Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 18, 2010 at 9:28 am


The problem with the Adult Bookstore-Shooting Range combo was that it wasn't ambitious enough. Add in a bar with a hookah room and the zoning committee would have been paying you!

Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 18, 2010 at 10:08 am

I wish I could say that Sharon's comment about wanting more gas stations instead of gyms and sports fields was tongue-in-cheek, but alas, I suspect not. Thanks, LBird for your comments.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2010 at 10:10 am

L Bird

Not sure exactly why you think this type of business would have been suitable next door to a kids ice skating rink and kid friendly tennis facility. It sounds as if your business would be more suited to a downtown rather than almost residential area.

Do you think the parents of the kids having lessons would have wandered in? Or what was your thinking of the suitability of this site?

I hope that whatever business comes here it will be something that the kids can use as they will be there - no doubt about that.

Like this comment
Posted by Bikes2work
a resident of Santa Rita (Los Altos)
on Nov 18, 2010 at 9:54 pm

This used to an ARCO Station, now it's all covered in daisies. You got it, you got it. And as things fell apart, nobody paid much attention.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 19, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I love LBird's idea! Too bad the city didn't see the wisdom of a porn-&-firearms business. Maybe the gun drives we have here in EPA could've resulted in a good trade - the guns could've gone to this business w/the agreement EPA residents could practice shooting there instead of shooting dwellings, cars & each other. What an opportunity lost.

Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 20, 2010 at 11:31 am

Do you know that a basketball court/gym is planned for the new Mitchell Park Community Center? It will be interesting to track how much it's used.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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