Palo Alto's College Terrace Centre development has secured at least one tenant in review website Yelp, according to a Yelp spokeswoman.
The San Francisco-based company has reportedly agreed to lease approximately 38,000 square feet of office space at the mixed-use development at 2180 El Camino Real -- a major upgrade from the company's existing Palo Alto offices at 490 S. California Ave.
The company plans to tap into the local labor pool for both sales hires and engineering talent that may not be able to make the commute to San Francisco, Rachel Walker, Yelp spokeswoman, said in an email.
"We're excited to be expanding Yelp's presence in Palo Alto in a brand new building that will give our employees convenient access to public transportation, local retail and small businesses," said John Lieu, Yelp head of facilities. "Palo Alto and the larger South Bay region is an ideal location to source new additional talent."
No building permits will be issued for the project until the Palo Alto City Council signs off on a new tenant for the planned 8,000-square-foot grocery store, which is being developed by Twenty-One Hundred Ventures LLC. The council agreed in August that it didn't have enough information to determine whether the grocer, J&A Family Market, would be comparable in quality to JJ&F Market, the grocer that operated on the corner of College Avenue and El Camino Real for more than six decades before it was sold to a new operator in 2010 and closed for good in 2013.
The council in August criticized the project team for failing to disclose pertinent information to the city. Though developer Patrick Smailey submitted the lease agreement to the city, key information was redacted, including rent amount, the security deposit and the number of parking spaces allotted to the grocery store. Council members questioned whether James Smailey, Patrick Smailey's son, was the right person to run the new grocery store because he has no prior experience in the grocery industry and declined to provide to the city the names of key advisers who would help him operate the store.
An independent consultant for the city, Sutti Associates, reviewed Smailey's business plan, and its president, Lawrence Brucia, wrote in an Aug. 4 report that while his company "cannot guarantee long term success for J&A Family market," it believes that the market "has the retail team and strategy to be successful from its opening day and into the future."
The council is expected to take up the issue again in the coming weeks.
In addition to the office space and grocery store, the Palo Alto development will include 5,580 square feet of other retail space and eight below-market-rate apartments.