A new look for Whiskey Gulch

Publication Date: Wednesday Apr 8, 1998

A new look for Whiskey Gulch

Linda Law's plans for University Circle include a lushly landscaped office building campus with pedestrian walkways through the center of the property.

The campus will be flanked by an eight-story hotel right next to the Bayshore Freeway, which will be certain to become a familiar landmark to passing motorists and a symbol of the new East Palo Alto the City Council is trying to build.

The project, as proposed, will include 460,000 square feet in three office buildings, 15,000 square feet of shops, and the 190,000-square-foot hotel.

The new buildings will be built on 12.2 acres of land in Whiskey Gulch, which has been renamed University Circle, on the west side of Bayshore Freeway. It replaces stores in the 1900 block of University Avenue and apartment buildings on Manhattan Avenue.

The project area is tucked between two East Palo Alto neighborhoods west of the freeway and lies not far from the Willows neighborhood in Menlo Park and across San Francisquito Creek from the Crescent Park neighborhood in Palo Alto.

The project will displace 102 housing units (100 apartments, one house, one granny unit) and about 225,000 square feet of stores and small commercial buildings. About 300 full- and part-time workers will be displaced, in addition to the residents of the side of Manhattan Avenue closest to University Avenue between Woodland Avenue and O'Connor Street.

The project is also expected to create 2,050 jobs: 1,520 jobs at the office complex, 500 jobs at the hotel, and 30 jobs in the retail stores that will be built.

The conference hotel, which would have 230 rooms, is expected to host meetings and other events, and likely would be used by Silicon Valley companies, Stanford University and SRI International, among others.

The project will include three six-story office buildings and an eight-story hotel, underground parking for 1,580 cars, and extensive landscaping.

Developer Linda Law said the landscaping will be extensive enough so that "it will look nothing like the Valley," meaning other high-tech firms in Silicon Valley.

Sun Microsystems has an option to rent all the office space, although Law said last week that negotiations are continuing and the final tenant could be a different high-tech firm.

Law is also negotiating with several hotel chains to operate the hotel.

--Don Kazak 

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