Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 1, 2013

Yahoo's Marissa Mayer buys funeral-home property

Palo Alto parcel had been eyed by city for 21 housing units

by Sue Dremann

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is the new owner of the property that housed the now-closed Roller & Hapgood & Tinney funeral home, sources at the mortuary told the Palo Alto Weekly, which first reported the story, on Monday.

The 1.16-acre property at 980 Middlefield Road, at the corner of Addison Avenue, is located a block east of Mayer's Addison home and across the street from Addison Elementary School.

Speculation has abounded this week as to what Mayer plans to do with the property. But she has stayed mum on the purchase and her plans for the corner lot.

The site is currently zoned "planned community" (PC) and allows only a commercial funeral-home to use the land, said Aaron Aknin, Palo Alto's assistant director of planning and community environment.

"Any new development would need to go through a re-zoning process — Planning and Transportation Commission review and City Council approval required," he said.

In addition to 980 Addison, the entire block — bounded by Middlefield, Addison, Webster Street and Channing Avenue — has been zoned as "planned community," including an adjacent PC zone for the Webster Wood Apartments for low-income families.

But the city's Comprehensive Plan has designated the area for "multi-family use," which allows between 8 and 40 housing units per acre depending on the zoning. On June 26, 2012, a city staff report identified the funeral-home property as a potential site for up to 21 residences.

The corner lot is, however, across the street from blocks designated for single-family homes. It is also one block away on Addison from single-family residences.

The land deal closed Oct. 7, according to Jim Spangler, president of Mountain View-based Spangler Mortuaries, which purchased Roller & Hapgood & Tinney's business assets.

Mayer's current 5,600-square-foot home, on 0.3 acres, was the site of a Democratic fundraising dinner with President Barack Obama in October 2010.

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