TRYING AGAIN ... Despite political opposition and legal hurdles, the Chicago-based Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners is pressing ahead with its plan to convert the President Hotel building at 488 University Ave. from an apartment building to a hotel. The company announced this week that it has resubmitted its application. The company plans to invest $50 million in renovating and restoring the building, according to the announcement. Improvements would include the restoration of the building's roof garden, guestroom renovations and seismic upgrades. The conversion would, however, have to overcome several zoning obstacles, including a city ordinance that the council passed in April prohibiting the conversion of housing units to non-residential uses during renovations of "grandfathered" downtown buildings that don't comply with current development standards. By moving ahead, AJ Capital is banking on the city to give a waiver from the requirement. Alex Stanford, chief development officer of AJ Capital, said in a statement that the company is "dedicated to delivering a project that the City of Palo Alto's residents and local businesses will be proud of for generations."
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS ... Charity took on a whole new meaning when Palo Alto city and Board of Education representatives participated in the third annual Downtown Drop Down, a "Rappel-a-thon" fundraiser for the Downtown Streets Team. Human Relations Commissioner Steven D. Lee and Board of Education member Shounak Dharap were among the regional leaders who took part in the benefit event on Sunday, when they rappeled 16 stories — the equivalent of 236 feet — from the roof of Adobe headquarters in downtown San Jose. The two were part of the Millennial Team that as of Thursday raised $3,206 of its $10,000 goal for the nonprofit, which assists homeless people and those at-risk of becoming homeless with housing, work, stipends and community involvement through volunteer work.
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