Under the plan, which the Palo Alto Architectural Review Board reviewed last Thursday, the Restoration Hardware building will be constructed just north of the Macy's Men's site, adjacent to Sand Hill Road. The two smaller retailers will be in a single-story building directly across from Restoration Hardware and immediately adjacent to the existing LaBelle Day Spas & Salons, Jeffrey and Blue Bottle Coffee.
The single-story Wilkes Bashford store will be built on the current parking lot toward El Camino, east of the Macy's building and near Pistache Place, according to project plans.
The proposal also calls for creating a new elevated parking area near the Restoration Hardware building.
The Restoration Hardware building will have an open design with large windows, plantings, lantern-style lights and a tiered design with less massing on the top floor. A restaurant on the third floor will be surrounded by glass and have access to the roof garden. The store will also include a "design atelier," a room that the application describes as "an integrated interior design workspace that allows RH design consultants and customers to conceptualize one room or an entire home."
Jordan Brown, representing Restoration Hardware, said the proposed building represents the company's "next-generation gallery design."
"Over the past several years, Restoration Hardware has reimagined our stores and transformed them into more inspiring furniture-design galleries with a dynamic hospitality experience integrated into the footprint, with a full cafe offering," Brown told the board.
With Macy's gone, the new layout will allow Simon Property Group to create a new corridor for shoppers looking to get from the east part of the mall to the west. Matt Klinzing said the layout brings back "urban-village principles."
"By separating what is now Restoration Hardware and the two speculative retail spaces, we have an internal vehicular street that we think connects the east and west a lot more," Klinzing told the board.
In reviewing the project, board members voiced major concerns about the proposed parking configuration, particularly a proposal to include parking spaces between Restoration Hardware and the new building for small retailers. Board members also wondered whether the new parking layout would be "functional" for shoppers and whether it would provide enough spaces.
"We seem to be adding attractions without making it easy to get there, except by driving, and then we don't have enough parking," board member Wynne Furth observed.
Board member Peter Baltay also said he was concerned about the prospect of removing oak trees to accommodate the new Wilkes Bashford store as well as the proposed design of that standalone store: a flat-roof building with a mezzanine and large windows.
But the board also found much to like about the new Restoration Hardware building, which board member David Hirsch said will look "delightful from all sides." Baltay called the proposed building "wonderful" and emblematic of the changes in the retail industry. He lauded Restoration Hardware for bringing a "real showcase" store to Stanford Shopping Center.
"What I see is a high-quality design," Baltay said. "It's a really neat way to mix people shopping and dining and checking out their products."
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