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As deal over Fry's site nears finish line, critics lament a lost opportunity

Original post made on Aug 31, 2023

As Palo Alto nears a deal with The Sobrato Organization over the redevelopment of the former cannery building on Portage Avenue, some in the community are lamenting a lost opportunity to preserve history and revitalize Ventura.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 30, 2023, 12:36 PM

Comments (11)

Posted by Barron Parker Too
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 31, 2023 at 10:52 am

Barron Parker Too is a registered user.

It took more than 15 years to get a second pedestrian 101 overpass. Likewise to get started on a new Public Safety building downtown. So with all the options and controversy for the Fry's site, as evident from Sheyner's novella-sized article, this is moving fast for the Palo Alto Process!

As for the remains of the 1918 cannery, we should move on. It's an ugly warehouse, and the benefit of removing it in favor of moderate density housing within a park-like setting is obvious, at least to me. Palo Also needs to point a metaphorical middle finger at ABAG, Scott Wiener, Josh Becker and the bureaucrats in Sacramento, who are trying to turn Palo Alto into an overcrowded high-density urban nightmare. Instead, this is an opportunity to build residential housing on a human scale, not like the five-story monstrosities that have reared up in South Palo Alto along El Camino.

Let's unapologetically show them how to do residential development that prioritizes the people who will live there, not the developers.

Posted by NTB2
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 31, 2023 at 3:54 pm

NTB2 is a registered user.

Downzoning and chopping up precious 14 acres of all residential, RM parcel is not the answer. Keep it whole as a Legacy Land center near everything. Once in a Century and never to come this way again. It may not be owned by the city but the zone is. Exclusive luxury homes is not the answer.

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2023 at 5:12 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

Anyone else miss Fry's Electronics? That was a great store in its heyday.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 31, 2023 at 5:16 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"It took more than 15 years to get a second pedestrian 101 overpass. Likewise to get started on a new Public Safety building downtown."

Those sound like land-speed records given that:

It took almost a decade to retime one traffic light on Embarcadero.
Among the Still Working On It category (xcan't call them works in progress!)

* 7 years for CPAU users to get our court-ordered settlement for overcharging us.

* Two decades to get signage showing available parking spots in downtown garages.

* 6+ years of hearings and still no Casti Traffic Demand Management plan.

You all might have your own personal favorites.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2023 at 7:18 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

@online name, don't forget the landlord registry the city has been stalling on forever.

Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 2, 2023 at 12:18 pm

ALB is a registered user.

Sobrato is allowed to construct housing but not REQUIRED to do so under the Development Agreement.

Posted by NTB2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 3, 2023 at 9:20 pm

NTB2 is a registered user.

Hey community look out for another family unhoused tonight. Kicked to curb for non-payment of rent. A disabled senior mother, young daughter, and a baby grandson. This paper could really write a story about this hard working family where Related Mayfield Place refused to take partial payments when her car was impounded in December. It was her car for work or pay the rent. A total shame on this city dysfunction . Life Moves did zero to assist and she’s been asking since January!! This is our town of real estate crooks and multi billion dollar land hoarders . God save the child waking up in a car. Another day and 3 more homeless in this town.

Posted by Monica Yeung Arima
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 4, 2023 at 10:21 pm

Monica Yeung Arima is a registered user.

Dear Friends:

I need your help to preserve the Bayside Cannery, Thomas Foon Chew’s cannery factory built in 1918. Please RSVP so I can keep a count and share with others. Ignore if you are not interested.

Here is some information to help us get ready for the City Council meeting, Tuesday night, September 5, at approximately 7:00 pm, where the fate of the Thomas Foon Chew Cannery building will be discussed.

By demolishing 40% of the building and modifying the front facing facade, the property may be ineligible for historic status for the California Registrars. The historic status of the property will determine the livelihood of the structure in the future.

Local teacher Terry Holzemer has filed an application with the city to add the Cannery to its historic inventory. The HRB hearing is scheduled to be on September 14.

There are those of us who have been advocating for preservation of the building through adaptive reuse. It can still be used for housing, retails or offices. But if the cannery is to be saved, the time is now.

Here is a link to an important story about the cannery that just broke in the World Journal on 8/30, an online Chinese new-site serving Northern California and beyond:
Web Link
(You can find a Google Translate Version in English at the end of this email)





You can speak either by Zoom or in person. It is more effective to be in person, if possible. Here is the Zoom Information for the city council meeting: Web Link or phone in: at 1(669)900-6833
You can find the Zoom info on the city council's agenda:

Web Link

Posted by Monica Yeung Arima
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 4, 2023 at 10:27 pm

Monica Yeung Arima is a registered user.

More project information can be found at the project website: Web Link

More historical information can be found at the Facebook page of “The Cannery of Palo Alto” at Web Link


Posted by Eeyore
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 6, 2023 at 10:10 pm

Eeyore is a registered user.

Developers are like sports franchise owners. Promise the world then, like Lucy, yank the football away from the clueless Charlie Broard. Luxury housing it will be, with a scrap thrown to assuage the souls of the board members who approve it

I maybe naïve, but when I engage a contractor I tell THEM what I want ask THEM for an RFP which I can accept or reject. It seems to me we are leaving Sobrato to dictate the terms.

Palo Alto CC. We need affordable housing. The Fry's site is perfect. Tell Sobrato what we WANT (not what stuffs their coffer$) and pony up the money to make that happen. I would willingly agree to allocate the money that was stolen by the Utility to pay for that end.

Posted by Eeyore
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 6, 2023 at 10:25 pm

Eeyore is a registered user.

I could support this preservation effort if it ended up something like Gas Works Park in Seattle. Unless I've missed something, there is no canning machinery left in those decrepit buildings. Raze the buildings, but create a tribute park/museum that people will visit and will facilitate an understanding of where that fits in history. I live next to the site where the transistor was developed. It is now a site for developing self driving cars. -That- is appropriate use.

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