A concrete cornice from an ornate historic Palo Alto building fell to the pavement on busy University Avenue over the weekend, breaking into two pieces but apparently not striking anyone.
The concrete, which fell from about 15 feet, was discovered on the sidewalk by a passerby on Sunday at about noon. The chunks apparently first struck a ledge on the building about five feet above the sidewalk, where plaster and concrete residue were still visible on Monday morning. The damaged cornice is at the corner of Ramona Street and University Avenue at 251 University.
Ornate eagle-motif cornices surround the top of the building, and it is currently unknown what hazard the damaged cornice or the others might pose to pedestrians. City of Palo Alto spokeswoman Catherine Elvert said building inspectors are connecting with the building owner and contractor to ensure its structural integrity and that the area will be safe for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
The city has placed cones directly beneath the area where the cornice fell and will take necessary further precautions to keep the area safe, she said.
The historic building was originally the First National Bank of Palo Alto, which was built in 1906 and was renovated in 1992, according to a plaque attached to the structure. The building is on the City of Palo Alto's Historic Inventory Master List. It now houses Fidelity Investments.
An employee at the investment firm said that the building owner has been notified and is looking into the problem. King Asset Management, which is listed in Santa Clara County public records as the contact for the building, did not return a request for comment.
More information will be posted to this story as it becomes available regarding safety related to this building.