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New three-story building planned for Page Mill

Original post made on Mar 21, 2013

A row of dilapidated houses near one of Palo Alto's busiest intersections will likely make way for a three-story development with retail, offices and apartments.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 21, 2013, 2:42 PM

Comments (23)

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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm

This is great news. I never understood why these houses weren't purchased and redeveloped. It is also a TERRIBLE idea for parking to be permitted on Oregon Expressway next to these houses and next to the AT&T store.

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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I'm curious how the NIMBYs will react, would they rather have those houses go to rot on that site?

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Is "density" a quantifiable parameter? Is a 3-story structure 3 times more dense than one story? Or do we measure it by how much traffic is generated? When I drive by the San Antonio development I see five or six times the density that was there before. It will be interesting when fully populated.

And if parking along Oregon is a terrible idea, than what about all the parking along El Camino -- same speed limit, same traffic modulation by the stop-lights at intersections.

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Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm

@musical At least El Camino has three lanes, and good long double left turn lanes.

If removing street parking from Oregon Expressway would allow two full dedicated northbound left turn lanes, and if the new development at the NW corner allowed a dedicated right turn lane, it could make a big impact on the traffic congestion at the Oregon/El Camino intersection.

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Posted by anecdote annie
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 21, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Anything would look better than what is there now, so sto complaining.

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 21, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Wait, how old are these houses? Maybe they ate historic. Maybe Eichler once was inside one f them.

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Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Those homes have been there since the Mid 40's They should be replaced but I don't think a three story High Density development is the way to go.
Every development in this town now suffers from The Ugly, Mass Density, No parking Blues. The developers now seem only to care about the dollar, Not Beautification, Not Architecture and certainly they don't care about Palo Alto.
The City Council doesn't care....

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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2013 at 1:46 am

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Getting traffic through the PageMill/ElCamino intersection is vital to the economic health of Palo Alto -- the residents, the companies here, the City. That intersection is already closing in on a "Level of Service" (LOS) that traffic engineers term as "failing" and yet the City is pushing for substantial increases in traffic in locations that have outsized impact on the LOS without any credible plan to handle such traffic.

The City and the developer cook the numbers or such take the position that "it will work out". For example, there was a meeting about the development at 195 Page Mill (between Park and the tracks) that was held on-site. The staff report had Park Blvd as having a good LOS, but during that meeting, the backup for the on-ramp to Oregon Expy was 4 blocks, and the delays were far beyond the threshold for a failing LOS. So did staff go with what they could see with their own eyes, or the numbers needed to let the developer make huge profits. If you didn't guess the latter, you don't know Palo Alto.

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Posted by Bindi
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2013 at 10:51 am

I hope the Animal Doctors will be allowed to stay.

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Posted by John
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2013 at 11:30 am

Hopefully the buildings won't be hideous, like every other commercial building going up in Palo Alto.

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Posted by gina
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm

It would be sad if the animal doctors were forced to move again. The owner of the animal doctor Dr.Lagerwerff had move once from avy avenue in Menlo Park to his current location on page mill. He is the greatest animal vet on the peninsula and it would be sad if we was forced out for new buildings that will serve no purpose.

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Posted by MadamPresident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Right, appratments on the top floor included - great, mixed-used development, more available housing, same as in the corner building where AT&T is... no, wait, those never came on the market

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Mr Recycle did you mean two full dedicated <<southbound>> left turn lanes? The bigger impediment there by AT&T on Page Mill/Oregon is the bus stop, which can bring the right lane of traffic to a standstill through the entire green light cycle.

The capacity of left turn lanes could be immediately improved with a little reminder for drivers to not leave an entire car length empty behind the next vehicle when waiting at the red.

I agree that dedicated right turn lanes could help throughput, but conflicts with bicycles and pedestrians are problematic.

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Posted by Joseph Williams
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I cross the intersection at Page and El Camino every week day at 9:30 am as a part of my regular commute. It is a mess. Traffic is almost always backed up to the rail crossing underpass.

Here's and idea,

Lets make it worse.

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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 23, 2013 at 9:45 am

the_punnisher is a registered user.

I have a suggestion:

Since Mountain View just found a home for sections of the Berlin Wall, Why not allow the building of a typical "Block of Flats " that you can find all over Eastern Europe?
That would be a win-win for all the " money people " involved and would show the citizens of Palo Alto who is really the boss.
Just think: TWO memorials to see the CPSU type thinking at this very best! ( /sarcasm )

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Posted by Jim-Stop the madness
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2013 at 9:56 am

How many clowns can you stuff into a car? The new office building developments in Palo Alto are getting ridiculous. There were 3-4 perfectly functional looking single family, detached homes on this property (they only look trashed now b/c they've been empty and unkept since the tenants moved out and they put chain link fences around them). If each house had three cars, that's 12 cars total. Now, with a three story office building, I'd estimate there will be 20-30 cars (maybe more) needing to visit and park at the site daily. When the City changes the zoning to allow for these types of building, do they even consider the traffic impact it will have? It doesn't seem like they even care!

And who are these people on the Architectural Review Board? Do they realize how ugly and imposing some of the recent downtown developments are (Alma and Homer)? And they are concerned with which way the balconies face to have the best views of the hills? Why don't they do their job and focus on the aesthetics? Seems like their idea of "bold" = Big Oversized Lame Development. If Palo Alto is going to cram all these oversized buildings into our town, at least make them somewhat attractive!

Finally, if there is so much need for new office space in the Valley, why don't the developers look at East Palo Alto? There is an abundance of large, empty lots in that city, many just minutes from downtown Palo Alto. That city has the vacant land and needs the development. Would seem like a win/win for everyone!

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Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2013 at 10:03 am

SteveU is a registered user.

The 3 story part does not bother me.
Lack of a OFF STREET BIG TRUCK Delivery area, and OFF Street parking with more spaces (at least 25% SUV sized) than Units (very few residents have just 1 car) .
PA Never requires these to have enough parking or sized for the typical mix of vehicles.

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Posted by Make it higher??
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 23, 2013 at 10:15 pm

" Lee Lippert also suggested that Northway consider a more "bold" design, possibly with greater height,"
Architect Lippert is something else. I wonder what makes him advocate so often for big development that Palo Altans dont want. I wonder who is calling the tune. Maybe that's how he makes a living.

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Posted by Please, not again
a resident of Southgate
on Mar 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm

A three-story building is fine, it is an improvement, but a taller building, especially if it is too close to the sidewalk, will be another JCC: glaring, hard-edged, in-your-face, obstructional, obtrusive and ugly. As with the JCC, it just isn't safe to close your eyes until you pass it. Depending on your location near San Antonio and Charleston, it is unavoidable. We cannot expect drivers to close their eyes whenever they approach an over-sized, unattractive building.

So, please, not another one! Limit the height, limit the hard edges, limit the proximity to the sidewalk, and soften it all with some lush landscaping.

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 24, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Let's bash the JCC again. It has been awhile. Nothing wrong with the JCC except that a few people just cannot let it go-- most people like it or do not care. Forgetting the fact that the JCC was vetted by the public and city committees and council-- lets remember that it did replace the lovely sun facility and the KFC

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm

It's hard to let go when the JCC is so "in your face" every time you drive by it.

Just remember that people are reacting to the design and presentation of the building - not what goes on inside. So don't take it personally (unless you're the architect I suppose).

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Posted by hvl21950
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm

My pup and I love The Animal Doctors. I hope they can stay!

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 25, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Crescent park dad-- yes it is so traumatic, having to see the JCC for the 5 or 10 seconds when you drive by it-- so in your face. How the residents of palo alto must be suffering. And it was such a lovely location previously, befor the JCC was built. Thank goodness they have not replaced the two lovely gas stations and hanger like structure on the other corners

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