News


Controversial plan sent back to drawing board, again

429 University Ave. development in Palo Alto to get only one more architectural review

In a stinging rejection Thursday, the Palo Alto Architectural Review Board voted 2-1, with two members recused, against a controversial development proposed for 429 University Ave. in downtown Palo Alto.

The four-story commercial and residential project from developers Jaime and Elizabeth Wong has already gone through four architects since its first city hearing in 2013. But members of the board declared the modernist project "unresponsive" to the City Council's direction last year to reduce its mass and make it more compatible with its surroundings, which include historic buildings on University and the adjacent Kipling Street, a narrow lane with multiple Victorian-style buildings.

The board added a further caveat: The next time the troubled project comes before the Architectural Review Board will be its last. The plan will either get a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down" recommendation, and the project will then go to the City Council for a final approval -- or rejection.

The board's vote elicited consternation from Elizabeth Wong, who complained to the board that the process has been "very, very unfair."

The project, which would feature retail on the ground floor and residential and office space on the upper three floors, began in 2011. The Wongs have made eight revisions to the 31,157-square-foot project, she said.

"This is insane for it to go on from 2011 to 2016. A traditional building will not work because a retailer doesn't want a traditional building. You're throwing us out on the freeway. You don't realize that every little word you say costs us more money," she said.

A prior version of the Wongs' project secured the board's endorsement in February 2015 only to be halted by a neighbor's appeal and the council's direction on a 5-4 vote in May 2015 that the project be revised.

Throughout the process, their project has come to embody local political debate about over-development, preservation of neighborhood character versus architectural evolution and when to follow the spirit versus the letter of the city's zoning laws.

On the south side, it would front bustling University Avenue, where an eclectic mix of architectural styles is dominated by Spanish-style buildings, some designed by Palo Alto's renowned architect Birge Clark. The historic Varsity Theatre lies catty-corner to the parcel.

To the east, it would front the narrower Kipling, which is dominated by the Victorian homes and a city parking lot. Directly across Kipling from 429 University, however, is the blocky, semi-industrial wall of the former Apple Store.

Throughout the project's many iterations, the proposed building has retained a modern aesthetic. Some versions have nodded toward neighboring buildings by using similar materials, such as natural stone. But none has attempted to mimic or emulate the designs of adjacent structures.

Michael Harbour, who works on Kipling and appealed the project, explained his objections to the council in May 2015.

"This design is simply not compatible," he said. "There are no shared characteristics or design linkages with neighboring buildings."

Besides the question of architectural compatibility is the issue of the four-story project's sheer mass. Harbour has long maintained that a four-story-tall structure doesn't belong on Kipling, especially not when replacing two one-story buildings.

"To put four stories here on this narrow street ... just is not right," Harbour told the architecture board in March. "If we were here dealing with maybe a two-story structure with a third-floor set back, we probably would not (be) here."

On Thursday, he reiterated these sentiments, adding that if the project was on the corner of a wider street such as Waverley there would not be opposition.

Frustrating the Wongs, however, is the fact that the project meets objective development standards, such as parking requirements and allowed square footage. The issue of compatibility is largely subjective, they alleged -- a perspective that city officials agree with, even while insisting that the project be redesigned.

The council voted 9-0 last November to send the project back, again, to the Architectural Review Board. But the board agreed on Thursday that the project, while better than it had been, only changed its facade. It did not change the square footage or the design in a way that would take it from a blocky, horizontally oriented structure to one that is harmonious with the surrounding district.

The Wong's newest architect, Joseph Bellomo, noted that changes to the facade were more in keeping with the mix of building styles currently up and down University Avenue, including two at 102 and 116 University that he designed. The building now sports walls of glass that he said would let in more light and reduce the sense of large mass, and setbacks on upper floors would make it so people in smaller neighboring buildings on Kipling wouldn't be able to see the building's full height, he said.

But the board remained troubled by the mass and overall design. They acknowledged that University Avenue has a variety of architectural styles, but said the area around Kipling is different because the street is narrow and the buildings on University and Kipling are of historic styles.

Board member Alexander Lew, in an effort to break the design logjam, presented a few examples of architectural styles in San Francisco that he said represent the kind of vision he has for the Wongs' site. The buildings are modern in their use of concrete materials and glass, but they include elements such as a sense of verticality that visually breaks the building up into three or four segments.

One corner of the San Francisco building's ground floor was also recessed to break up the mass. It provided for a patio for restaurant seating and benches, Lew noted.

Despite Bellomo's attempts to divide the building's width on University into five "bays," board member Kyu Kim suggested the architect add more elements to break up the building facade with varying setbacks and slightly different color schemes.

"As it is, it still reads as one large building. It still has the sense as one big structure," he said. "The building to me still feels a little mysterious. It needs to feel a little welcoming."

Chairman Robert Gooyer added that some of the square footage in the 18-by-18-foot and 20-by-17-foot bedrooms in the third-floor residential units could be reduced to help with setbacks to shrink the mass. He rejected the argument that the walls of glass would adequately reduce the feeling of massiveness and said it was not compatible in the architectural context of that area of University.

Kim questioned whether the project had changed so much that it should have a new application because it is a new design. Kim voted against the motion.

"As a new design (and new architect) was presented to the board, I felt that an additional hearing with more significant changes in massing and revisions to address the concerns of the city council would be appropriate," he said in an email.

In a firm exchange, Wong complained that current board members are not accessible as past members had been under then-Chairman Randy Popp. They have refused to meet with her to discuss the project and how it might be changed, which would be helpful, she said.

But Gooyer said firmly that he believes all meetings with developers should be held in public.

"In my opinion, whatever comments I'm going to give you are going to be in a public venue. The perception works both ways, and it sounds fishy meeting with developers" outside of the public arena, he said. Whatever recommendations he would make in private would be the same as the ones he makes at board meetings, he said.

There is no date scheduled at this time for the Wongs to return to the board.

CORRECTION: This story previously stated that the vote was 3-0. Board member Kyu Kim cast a dissenting vote because the project had a new design and a new architect, and an additional hearing with more significant changes in massing and revisions to address the concerns of the city council would be more appropriate.

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Comments

74 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2016 at 4:11 pm

"You don't realize that every little word you say costs us more money."

No sympathy from here. A smart developer would have realized long ago that compliance costs less than defiance. Even the appearance of compliance will do. Worse, Wong has apparently not cultivated the political connections necessary for an assured, fawning approval.


53 people like this
Posted by Randy P
a resident of Monroe Park
on Aug 4, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Randy P is a registered user.

It has always been ARB practice to meet with applicants to gain a clearer understanding of a project. This has always been up to the discretion of the Board Members and is only for one-way information flow. No Board Member I know of shares additional comment or information in these meetings and Mrs. Wong's suggestion that Board Members would "discuss...how it might be changed" is just an inaccurate embellishment. The meetings are generally held with two Board Members present so there is no misconception regarding what occurs.

I understand Mrs. Wong is frustrated but perhaps she might look at her own process and goals before her next attempt. The message has been loud and clear for some time now.


63 people like this
Posted by Clueless in PA
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2016 at 5:50 pm

[Portion removed.] The massively oversized monstrosity of a building she is proposing would be a death blow to downtown PA.


16 people like this
Posted by Bike Commuter
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 4, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Bike Commuter is a registered user.

I'm not sure that the City is being clear regarding what constitutes "compliance". If the building meets the quantitative zoning requirements (lot coverage, floor-area-ratio, height, setbacks, and parking) then the rest is rather subjective (match style of nearby buildings, reduce appearance of mass).

Would they accept the same size done in a Spanish style, or a smaller (2-3 story) modern building? How does a designer know what aesthetic will be approved?


45 people like this
Posted by Entitlement
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2016 at 6:17 pm

[Post removed.]


81 people like this
Posted by Preserve the character
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2016 at 6:43 pm

It would be a shame to lose the 1920s art deco facades currently on the site for yet another concrete and glass box. In my opinion, downtown's remaining 1920s era facades should be preserved. How typical that a bunch of moneyed outsiders would come in and want to tear down our history and replace it with more bland nouveau riche junk.

If space is the issue, why not build something on top of the current buildings? Adding a second floor would be a better use of space, yet it wouldn't tower over the neighborhood. Or, if the structure of the existing buildings won't allow for such renovations, "upcycle" the art deco facade onto a new construction which has an art deco feel, rather than blindly following the trend of flavorless modernism?


26 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of University South
on Aug 4, 2016 at 9:01 pm

@Entitlement - I agree that the owner's attitude won't endear her to "the authorities", but I find it rather troubling that we need to worry about whether the City Council likes us well enough to execute the laws fairly.

I would like to live in a republic of laws and not of men. This building meets all rules as written - just not the subjective views of the City Council.

I thought Palo Alto was a city for iconoclasts. Apparently, we are a city that prizes conformity and obeisance to authority above all else.


83 people like this
Posted by Native
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 4, 2016 at 9:18 pm

The building, quite frankly, is ugly and out of keeping with the community.
It is one thing to be ' modernist', and quite another to create a beautiful modern structure that harmonizes with the surroundings, and is a positive addition the Palo Alto streetscape.

It seems to me that these developers are simply trying to max out the square footage, without caring about the aesthetics of Palo Alto.
I am glad that the review board said no.


44 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Nobody has mentioned the spectre of what is taking
place right now one block away at the corner of
University and Cowper. The insanity of what is
happening in Palo Alto is finally starting to sink in- maybe.


64 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2016 at 10:43 pm

"This building meets all rules as written"

Nice try. It flunks this major rule, from the Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan Web Link:

"POLICY L-5: Maintain the scale and character of the City. Avoid land uses that are overwhelming and unacceptable due to their size and scale."


73 people like this
Posted by a neighbor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2016 at 4:56 am

If the Wongs are frustrated at the length it is taking to get an approval, they should feel the pain of the neighbors of their home when their home construction took more than four years with an expired permit.


11 people like this
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 5, 2016 at 8:26 am

[Post removed.]


80 people like this
Posted by Annoying
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2016 at 9:14 am

Annoying is a registered user.

The Wongs are not getting the message that their ideas for this building are incompatible with the area and unappealing, as well as not in compliance with the rules.

They seem to be acting spitefully in their complaints, their attitudes of entitlement, and their continual re-submissions of plans.

They should stop wasting money and just give up. Sell the building/lot.


34 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 5, 2016 at 10:23 am

You might not like it but to call it out of scale is absurd. Across the street is the President Hotel/apartments - ten stories. 525 University - 15 stories. Ten other buildings on University - four to five stories. Oh yea, and the zoning says it can be 50' tall and 3x FAR. This is the city moving the goal posts. If they don't want tall buildings, change the zoning. Until then, follow the rules just like the citizens are supposed to.

If her neighbors tore their buildings down and built three story buildings would she then be able to build four stories? She's penalized because she has the guts to go first?

Relax, Palo Alto, this is not Little House on the Prairie any more!


18 people like this
Posted by Jonathan Brown
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 5, 2016 at 10:40 am

I sincerely hope that the comments that suggest that the City is not being straightforward in why it is rejecting the building are accurate. If we are to have any density at all in Palo Alto, having it on University Avenue in downtown is the place to have it, right? Should a modern structure need to "blend in" with the outdated Victorian houses on Kipling?


11 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2016 at 11:34 am

And people blame "foreign" money for making Palo Alto expensive. Seems like Palo Alto government and [portion removed] residents are doing a good job of it by themselves.


23 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2016 at 11:59 am

This is a case where one neighbor complained enough until he forced an appeal and the board pulled the approval it had issued in 2015. The squeaky wheel gets greased. Unfair to the Wongs who have spent thousands complying with the boards demands.


56 people like this
Posted by Sandra Farrell
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2016 at 12:14 pm

I have worked in downtown on University avenue for over 40 years. I remember the area from my youth when I lived in Belmont. Palo Alto in that area has a long history of being a comfortable and quiet area with small shops and businesses relevant to the community that lives, works and shops there. I think comparing it to San Francisco is not appropriate. There are many historical buildings here and some that will qualify shortly. They were designed by architects who are well known and to go off in a super modern tangent in order to maximize profit making space while not being concerned about the infrastructure, water, sewage, parking, etc. I feel is a very sad circumstance. I don't see why buildings cannot be held to those structures that can gracefully carry Palo Alto downtown into the future and be beautiful as well as well planned.


49 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I've rather lost track of the process, but when I last heard, the entry to the underground parking was to be the service alley behind the building and one that is so very often blocked by delivery trucks, etc.

It's unrealistic to manage flow for a building that large through a narrow, poorly maintained alley way, with the exit onto narrow Kipling which is also challenging to traverse.

(perhaps the above has been resolved, although I can't imagine where an entry to underground parking would work... on Kipling? On University? It just doesn't work.

[Portion removed.]


40 people like this
Posted by Carol Gilbert
a resident of University South
on Aug 5, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Hear, hear to "Preserve The Character" above. I said that before and still think it.


44 people like this
Posted by Time to regroup
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 5, 2016 at 1:27 pm

No, Jonathon, we don't "need" density and we don't want any more than we are already coping with. Or barely coping with. And for sure we don't 'need' more office space.

Children are sometimes taught 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.' When adults take this to extremes it becomes a character flaw. A mature person decides to regroup when it becomes clear they are striving for something that isn't working; it needs reorientation, not little fixes, not another tasteless architect.


52 people like this
Posted by Alice Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 5, 2016 at 1:50 pm

In Oxford England in the 1960s enlightenment, the "brutish" style replaced Victorian, and other gothic or classical buildings. They are now ripping them down as a blight on the neighborhood. Modern does not necessarily enhance a neighborhood. In Oxford the modern makes it look like a slum.


69 people like this
Posted by Duveneck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm

I've always wondered how the Cheesecake Factory was able to pass the architectural board requirements. Ugliest bldg in PA, IMO.


7 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2016 at 3:02 pm

"In Oxford England in the 1960s enlightenment, the "brutish" style replaced Victorian, and other gothic or classical buildings. They are now ripping them down as a blight on the neighborhood. Modern does not necessarily enhance a neighborhood. In Oxford the modern makes it look like a slum."

Taste is contextual and subjective. Just as Victorians and midcentury modern have gone through cycles, so will everything else. Your comment just perpetuates this short-sighted view on architecture.


6 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2016 at 3:04 pm

[Post removed.]


49 people like this
Posted by Andrew
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Bravo to the board! I for one am very happy that this group of geriatric NIMBY's has decided that new buildings cannot be built without design by committee. ESPECIALLY the neighbor who complained in 2014 - where do the Wong's think they are building, huh? In a country with freedom and laws? Of course not... this is California, where you can't plant a garden in your own property without unanimous city and neighborhood approval!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go complain at my local city board meeting about how housing isn't affordable anymore, for some reason. No idea why this is, and somebody other than myself has to fix it!


47 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Another greedy, arrogant developer destroying PA.


34 people like this
Posted by kelle
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Kudos to the ARB. The rules as written, and interpreted by ARB and Council members who are committed to a vibrant downtown will ensure that the building to be approved will fit the unique location in terms of form, function, volume, details, and character.
Given the challenge, this site needs owners with the budget and desire to build an aesthetic vision, and an architect with the chops to fulfill that vision while respecting the guidelines. All can win and the successful project can mark a return to excellence for downtown Palo Alto. (my city 1973 - 2003)


37 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2016 at 6:44 pm

Development in Palo Alto has been an insiders game.
It's as simple as that. As I recall The Cheesecake
Factory was actually initially agendized by the
staff as a "facade remodel" of Copeland Sports, then changed. This has gone on for so long with such drastic results and real impacts in our Downtown, our neighborhoods, our City - permanent changes, and traffic and parking issues which are beyond our ability to deal with and growing. This latest proposal and the responses seen here to it have to be looked at in that perspective.



9 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2016 at 7:47 pm

"All can win and the successful project can mark a return to excellence for downtown Palo Alto."

Actually, I find downtown PA to be much more interesting and vibrant than ever before. University Avenue had a reputation for "spouse" shops (actually called "wife" shops, which isn't PC today) - little boutiques and businesses to keep the spouses of wealthy Palo Altans busy.

Whether or not that was actually true doesn't matter - there are more young people around downtown Palo Alto than ever before. I guess the elders of Palo Alto don't like that.


12 people like this
Posted by kelle
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2016 at 10:29 pm

Check out Joseph Bellomo website. Very talented. Now the challenge: marry that clean modern vocabulary with a first floor vibrant, inviting retail facade. Pull back top floors. Less glsss....... Just inspired, forgive me.......How about: "French cafe meets organic modern mixed use studios" ? Best wishes.


12 people like this
Posted by kelle
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2016 at 10:34 pm

PS: I know none of the players, just love my old town. g'nite


45 people like this
Posted by Nick
a resident of Nixon School
on Aug 6, 2016 at 10:48 am

Great - we don't want some monsterous building in downtown.

The property developers take their $20m and live somewhere else, but we have to live next door to this, and we don't want it. Thankfully democracy is working - vote for council members that continue to oppose development.


25 people like this
Posted by Time to regroup
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 6, 2016 at 12:56 pm

References to the Cheesecake Factory led me to look for how that inappropriate facade came on to University Avenue. I cannot find documents on the city web, except for this.

Cheesecake Factory - 375 University Partners LP Roxy Rapp 255 Lytton Av#201
Contact Person: Roxy Rapp
Contact Title: Managing Partner
Other Contact: C. Matthew Schulz
ARB agenda March 6, 2003

ROLL CALL:
Board members: Staff Liaison: Lee Lippert (Chair),
Planner Drew Maran(Vice Chair),
Kenneth Kornberg,
Judith Wasserman

Staff Steven Turner.:Amy French, Current Planning Manager

Public Hearings (Major)
375 University Avenue [02-ARB-128]: Request by The Cheesecake Factory, on behalf of 375 University Partners, LP, for Architectural Review Board (ARB) review of a proposed fa├žade remodel of an existing building (previously Copeland Sporting Goods) and a Sign Exception. Zone District: CD-C (GF)(P).
Environmental Analysis: Categorically exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Act per section 15301

Postponed to next meeting as (MINOR) Public Hearing
_____________
See also PTC Feb 3, continued to Feb 20, 2003 Staff report # 1578.pdf
_____________

Most of the then-ARB are still influencing development, though fortunately no longer on the ARB; Drew Maran is now officially a developer.
The staff? changed it to a MINOR Public Hearing. They are still on the job.


9 people like this
Posted by Ho-Hum
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 6, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Ho-Hum is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


41 people like this
Posted by Ho-Hum
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm

The Apple Store on University supposedly belongs to the Wongs. Having been in it a few times, I feel very sorry for the staff who are stuck there all day.

Besides being ugly, it is very hot in the summer--so much so that the air condition can't completely overcome it. It magnifies noise because the sound bounces off the walls--and probably the ceiling, too.

Personally, I can't stand to be in that buildingfor more than a couple of minutes.

I'm surprised that building passed muster. Perhaps the Wongs were less ill-tempered at that time.


29 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2016 at 4:51 pm

@Time to regroup
Good work re Cheesecake Factory approval. The Copeland Sports was completely gutted and rebuilt into The Cheesecake Factory. The standard prototype mall design was simply dropped onto University Ave, recommended for approval by the staff and approved by the ARB. This Cake was approximately #100 in the chain. And the next 50 or so as I recall which came after this, were all in mall settings, none on streetscapes, let alone a University Ave. The CEO and Founder of Cheesecake
Factory is David Overton. He was a drummer in a rock band in SF in the 60's. He knows Palo Alto.
He should now do a complete "facade remodel" of
The Cheesecake Factory on University Ave and restore the streetscape. The City Council and
property owner should step up to the plate and
get this done.



10 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 7, 2016 at 9:15 am

"I'm surprised that building passed muster. Perhaps the Wongs were less ill-tempered at that time."

Another personal attack. In any case, Apple drives the designs of their buildings. And sorry if you don't like modern design, but I find it refreshing. Definitely better than the old cityscape.

"He should now do a complete "facade remodel" of The Cheesecake Factory on University Ave and restore the streetscape. "

Restore the streetscape? To what? Even University Ave as recently as the mid-late 90s was filled with worn and run-down buildings with tired shops. Sorry to burst your bubble, but this Palo Altan finds the bustle and activity of University Avenue of 2016 to be much more appealing.

In other words, there's no consensus of "residents" to turn back the clock. Stop speaking as if there were. You don't speak for me and I'm not egocentric to believe that I speak for the old residents either.


6 people like this
Posted by Madeline Bernard
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2016 at 11:06 am

Palo Alto is an embarrassment. "We're rich, so we can invent our own facts--just like Republicans, we don't have to attend to the reality-based community! NOTHING EVER NEEDS TO CHANGE THERE IS NO NEED FOR DENSITY"


26 people like this
Posted by Time to regroup
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 7, 2016 at 3:45 pm

@Me says >sorry if you don't like modern design

Silly statement. Not liking one oversized, ostentatious, badly functioning building doesn't mean one doesn't like modern design. Modern design is a very large category.

One tenet of modernism is that form should reflect and enhance function. This building does not function well. Have you even been in it? Cavernous, anxiety provoking, bad temperature control, noisy noisy noisy.

Sure Apple makes lots of money, but that doesn't mean it knows how to design this store. It makes complex, breakable, easily lost, rapidly obsolete, very expensive products. How many broken iphone screens have you heard about? They could have made a less-breakable screen, but this one yields lots of repair dollars.

Architects of front facade: Daniel Garber, Heather Young, Simon Orchover
The Wongs own the building.
www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/18237


4 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 8, 2016 at 9:55 am

"Silly statement. Not liking one oversized, ostentatious, badly functioning building doesn't mean one doesn't like modern design"

Not silly at all. The thread is in a direction of trying to go back to the "old days" of Palo Alto. That's the thrust of all these complaints. "I miss x" "restore streetscape" etc. It's all about ossifying University Avenue to a time they recall fondly, which is usually about 20-30 years ago of wife shops that don't make any money.

And yes, I've been in it. Many times. And I don't seem to have any anxiety from being there. May say more about the person visiting than the building.

[Portion removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 8, 2016 at 10:14 am

@Preserve the character
Your comments are right on and pertain also to the unique,beautiful exterior tile border at Stacey's Bookstore which should have been preserved as an
architectural feature in the new nondescript, bland,ugly,corporate Verizon next to the Stanford
Theatre. That Verizon has no sense of place to it.
The ARB doesn't get it, and up till now has had no clue what they are doing, has taken no positive proactive role in providing an effective design review function, it seems by both intent and by incompetence. Zoning control and design review have failed in this City.




















23 people like this
Posted by Sandra Farrell
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2016 at 11:16 am

Since the time when the current owner of 429 University Ave, known around town as The Shady Lane Building because of the small, beautiful store that was there for more than 40 years and is now in Sharon Heights Shopping Center Menlo Park, there have been vacancies as the rents were raised very high and this owner would only give 4 month leases. This made it extremely hard for the owner to keep tenants as they never knew if the lease would be renewed or what the terms would be.
This is something that the design for the new building really has little to do with, but it does reflect on the owner's attitude toward tenants and toward the community. The infrastructure of the area must be able to support underground parking and access to it, water and sewage facilities, electrical infrastructure and the rewiring that would need to take place to accommodate a building such as the one continually proposed for this neighborhood.


7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 9, 2016 at 7:28 am

Kipling is too narrow - it doesn't work with
the volume of traffic now. Also there are two
beautiful exotic healthy trees there in the planting
strip at the street which should not be lost.


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

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