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City mulls response to illegal demolition at Edgewood Plaza

Original post made on Feb 8, 2013

Palo Alto officials are considering imposing new conditions, including an environmental study and additional "public benefits," on a developer who demolished a historic building at the former Edgewood Plaza shopping center without permission from the city last fall. ==B Related story:==
• [Web Link Historic Eichler building demolished at Edgewood Plaza]

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 8, 2013, 9:57 AM

Comments (68)

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 8, 2013 at 10:38 am

LOL ... funny, I drive by this area pretty much daily. I kept asking myself why they do not get rid of those old buildings - the are ugly, inefficient, and eyesore - and now I find out they are or were or some of them were considered "historic"?

Good riddance, I shopped in that old Lucky building, Albertson's many, many times, it was horrible, ugly, small, and we are well rid of it. That said, developers and contractor simply cannot act and decide unilaterally on this and should face some punishment.

Posted by E.S., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 10:41 am

As a near neighbor to Edgewood Plaza, I would like this project to move toward completion ASAP. What's been done is in the past and I'd like to see no further roadblocks to progress. Let's look forward to an attractive and useful new shopping center and homes.

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 10:53 am

If it looks like what they proposed when they are done, does it matter whether they moved it or rebuilt it? I agree with E.S., the overriding interest is getting finished at this point.

Posted by Oh, please, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 10:58 am

I live two blocks from the construction site and don't know one single person who was upset about the demolition of this rattletrap building. Please don't hold up any aspect of this project -- enough is enough.

Posted by Retired Teacher, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 10:58 am

Yes, very funny, Anon. I and others have fond memories of the Edgewood Shopping Center at its best, with an excellent market, hardware store, and other shops and eating places. And those "ugly, inefficient" buildings were quite attractive and useful until their decline.

Maybe if we had paid more attention to keeping things up, this whole brouhaha would have been avoided. Maybe after the city and the developer work this out, we can take a longer term view of how to make our town and our adjoining communities--yes, including EPA and East Menlo Park--better and more livable places.

Posted by Jeannie, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:04 am

It is ironic that many of you in the above comments state how ugly the buildings are/were, however you are the same people who put down millions to buy one of the Eichler housed in that same neighborhood. Leave it to Palo Alto snobbery to judge something which is so rich in Palo Alto history and want to change that item to one of the cookie cutter houses. I lived in Palo Alto for 32 years and wouldn't trade the way it was for anything.

Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:04 am

Fine the pants off him! He did what was cheap and easy - make him pay.

Posted by See Ya, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:05 am

I lived in Palo Alto for 20+ years and always thought that this shopping center was a blighted area and a real eyesore. It may have been historic, but it was historic junk. The developer should not have violated the agreement with the City, but such restrictions never should have been part of the re-development deal in the first place. Just my $0.02.

Posted by Does stop mean stop or go?, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

If the City did issue a "stop work order" in September, then why does the construction continue? Does stop mean stop or go?

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:19 am

The developer did everyone a favor. Yet again, we have a very, very small minority of residents (less than 10) holding things up for the greater good.

Move on and get it done.

Posted by Onthemoney, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:21 am

Historic junk turns into an overnight treasure hunt!

Posted by Whats done is done?, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:24 am

"What's done is done..."
Right! The heck with the law. Let's ignore the law and let crooks and murderers out. It's expensive and inconvenient to keep them in jail. After all, what's done is done.
maybe developers need to learn that they are supposed to obey the law and fulfill promises.

Posted by carol kenyon, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:26 am

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH Let's move ahead and get the new shopping center complete. I have lived in the neighborhood for 46 years and this shopping center was never, I repeat never attractive. This new center will be a huge asset to the neighborhood and the city.

Posted by litebug, a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:27 am

Having lived for 38 years within a few blocks of Edgewood Center I still maintain an interest in what's happening there. The point isn't to re-argue what was agreed upon, the point is that the developer staged a sneak attack, like a typical bully, rather than get the permission he knew he was supposed to have. No one else got to examine the building to see if his allegations about the condition of the building materials were true.

I was among those who attended the very first meeting with the developer and several thereafter. I've followed this "case" and came to the conclusion that this man lacks integrity and is not to be trusted. He's pulled fast ones all along. This action confirms I was right about him. The city can always use some funds so I agree that he should be sued. To just let it slide is to further encourage this type of lawless behavior on the part of developers who are often bad enough and an untrustworthy lot as it is. (Think Town and Country, for just one example.) Developers have wielded too much power in Palo Alto for far too long and it's had a negative effect on the quality of life in the town. They think they are free to pull stunts like this with impunity. He needs to be cut down a notch.

Posted by Greg, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:32 am

I also live in the neighborhood and I am also looking forward to having this project move forward as quickly as possible.

However, the developer agreed to do certain things after years of negotiation with the neighborhood association and with the city. I find it impossible to believe that he suddenly discovered the "poor condition" of the building upon starting construction after all those years and after undergoing Palo Alto's complex permitting process.

I hope that we can all find a way to let this project move forward so that we can have the neighborhood back and so that we can shop there. Stopping the project now would be a detriment to everyone involved.

But that doesn't mean that we can pretend that the developer can flaunt an agreement that he previously made with the city without any consequences. "Sorry, I didn't bother to inspect the property before I agreed not to demolish it" isn't an excuse.

Snarky architectural opinions here, we are talking about millions of dollars in real estate. If the developer can't play by the rules then I imagine there are others would would dearly love to build on those lots instead.

Posted by Karen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:42 am

A fine really won't work with these sorts...needs to be a public flogging or emasculation. I'm still remembering the 1981 project on Waverley that required removal of a historic building and the developer, Chop Keenan as I recall, was refused permission to demo. Next day, FIRE, problem solved and construction continued unabated.

Posted by Cur Mudgeon, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:47 am

" What's been done is in the past and I'd like to see no further roadblocks to progress. Let's look forward to an attractive and useful new shopping center and homes."

What, are you a realtor or developer?

That's exactly what's wrong here. The developer should NOT get a free pass on this. Come down to the south end of town and check out the traffic congestion from the many new "infill" homes being developed.

Our planning department is only too happy to look the other way and bend the rules and process that have been put into place to protect property rights.

Posted by Observer, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:50 am

I don't know this guy, but I know lots of people who live near there who would have really enjoyed an attractive, safe, vital shopping center there instead of a moldering wreck that a few hoarders were trying to get someone else to pay for 'preserving'. To preserve an Eichler designed building would be very costly, especially when you take into consideration the many absurd regulations Palo Alto insists you follow. This piece of junk would essentially have to have been dismantled and re assembled in an unbelievably costly and time consuming project. Meanwhile, children have grown up and moved on without a decent grocery store anywhere in reach. Eichlers were build to house veterans coming back from war. They were cheap, fashionable, and meant to last about twenty years. Preserving them for sentimental reasons goes against the entire concept and creates a blight on the neighborhood. I should know. I live next to a whole lot of them.

Posted by c, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

Now the city can focus on fixing the traffic and pot holes. It costs the city's money to maintain the out-of-space junky anyway.

Posted by MKT, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm

While I do believe the developer erred in not acquiring the proper authorization to raze the original building in question, I have little doubt that the reasons for doing so were valid. I've lived in this town for only 23 years, so maybe that's why the "charm" of Eichlers eludes me. As a matter of fact, I currently reside in a rented Eichler across the street from this development, and let me say that actually living in one of these cheap piles of (your favorite expletive here) has not improved my opinion of them. So, no, I'm not sorry to see the old eyesore demolished, and yes, please, please get on with construction. Having a viable shopping center with an honest-to-goodness neighborhood grocery store is a huge community benefit and should be the priority here.

Posted by mutti, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Eichlers are cookie-cutter, poorly built homes for the masses in the first place! Only with Palo Alto's inflated prices are they still viable -- because most people have gutted the insides and started over.

How about telling this developer that he cannot do the project? Such an egregious and flagrant violation means no further permits -- ever. He can let it sit, or he can sell the land to someone else to start over. Any fine will just be a slap on the wrist, and be passed on to the people who buy the homes being built. The builder will pay the fine and laugh with his real estate agent

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm

This development is way, way overdue. I have total sympathy for the developer and recommend he be permitted to move the project forward ASAP.I live nearby in a non-Eichler home.
This project has been delayed and argued over to an outrageous extent; totally out of proportion to the benefit of having a new center there. And yes, I am very knowledgeable about Eichlers and not opposed to them at all, but in this case I am in favor of the full new development on the basis of the lack of worth of the old decrepit center, it's lack of viable usability, and the dire need of our local neighborhood FOR a viable center.

Posted by Falsify, a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I am not using my own name because I want to challenge the city to inspect the building carefully. When someone cheats to achieve his objective, chances are he cheats in other ways too. So Stop, Look and Listen. Be on the alert.

Although a long term resident (49 years), I have never been in this so-called shopping center, other than the gas station when in desperation, so I have no further comments.

Posted by Raul, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Maybe the same developer can make a quick trip to Moffet Field and tear down that eye-sore of a hangar. Wishful thinking I guess.

Posted by Alice Schaffer Smith, a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Alice Schaffer Smith is a registered user.

Asbestos inter alia, I understand, prevents the removal of that structure which hanger was crucial in WWII.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Can new buildings be built following the orginial design?. After all we are talking post and beam with glass fronts. It is not like Mr. Clarks Post Office building or Frank L. Wright. I think a new wonder Eichler based shopping center can be designed and built.

Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I never shopped at those stores. However, I really enjoyed spending time at Edgewood Eats food trucks! Have they moved the gathering to a new location?

Posted by Dan, a resident of Southgate
on Feb 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm

The common sense resolution to the developer demolishing this building in violation of their permits would be to levy a fine and allow work to resume. Punishing them with additional red tape (another Environmental Impact Report) or delaying their lucrative building of 10 homes is merely vindictive, of no benefit to anyone, places additional burden on City workers, and prolongs the eyesore that is the status quo.

Posted by They "Pulled A Fast One", a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I think that they should fine the hell out of the builder (or even sue them). They knew damn well what they were doing. I have been in the neighborhood for 63 years (Barret and Hilp tract next door to Eichler tract). That market at one time was considered "state of the art" and unfortunately, for reasons unknown the center was just abandoned and it suffered much deterioration. When it was down to a wig shop and a liquor store that was pathetic (glad to see the liquor store gone!). It did not have to turn into "suburban blight". I watched the Eichlers and the Edgewood Plaza being built as a child on a very large Indian (Muwekmwa) burial ground. I think the least the developer can do is put a marker somewhere in the tiny green space he is supposed to provide with a plaque on a bench or something in remembrance of all those humans that are still buried on that land. They have been disturbed and disrespected yet another time and they deserve to have their existence recognized. In the 1950's there were no requirements to move remains or treat them with any kind of respect. When you think about it, how insensitive can we be in the name of "development"?

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 8, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Another poorly written piece. Who are the neighbors that are " angered"? How many neighbors are really "angered"? Maybe this is just a ploy, like the alma plaza debacle, to keep the space undeveloped so tht there will no be "too much traffic"?
Sounds like the council will be acting like pouty children by launching a vendetta ( another EIR, more public benefits etc). Is that what the people really want? I think they want this eyesore completed. Bravo to the developer for demolishing the Eichler dump. Also sounds like this another example of the city neglecting "historic" structures (like the briones dump) and the getting hot under the collar when these dumps re torn down. Of course some council members believe everything in palo alto is historic.
Maybe as An additional public benefit the developer should be made to construct a 50 foot statue of Eichler, o that all his acolytes will have a shrine to worship him at.
Let's move on and get this done

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm

There are many, many potential customers anxious to shop at the renovated location. Why hold that up? There's got to be other ways to hold the developer accountable w/out making the public pay for it. What - the City doesn't want people to spend money there sooner & prefer it happen later?

Posted by nearby resident, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm

PLEASE let the developers finish the project ASAP. This corner has been an eyesore for years and years. The workmanship of the buildings was typical Eichler - lousy and shoddy. I am truly amazed that anyone wants to preserve those old run down buildings.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Whether or not the developer had the necessary permits is one thing. However, the big picture is nothing has been happening for years and I for one am pleased that the eyesore has gone. Now, please, let the demolition site get transformed into usable space. Almost anything will be better than what is there now.

Unfortunately, my instincts are that it will be another ugly building, but that is par for the course nowadays in Palo Alto.

Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Forget punishment. Extract a comparable or more costly public benefit.

Posted by noncompliant?, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 8, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Concrete has been poured this week for the new Edgewood parking lot. Contrary to City Council's expressly stated condition, there appears to be no 'exit between Edgewood and the Shell gas station next to it'. What had previously been an exit has been paved with spaces for parking. Was this requirement rescinded by the city or is this another example of willful disregard by the builder for the city's terms?

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 8, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Well this is palo alto, so let's see if a few malcontents can stop this project in its tracks-- after all anything that Eichler did is historic and must be preserved at all costs. I am sure if they scream loudly enough the city council will go along with whatever they want. Remember how longit took to get alma plaza done.

Posted by Michael S, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 8, 2013 at 10:08 pm

When will Palo Alto residents wake up? It's 2013.

You cannot move an existing building that was built 40+ years ago. Those who are creating flak against the developer for removing the one of the obsolete buildings on this site help reaffirm the idiot suburban nimby [not in my backyard] factor that seems such a sad truth of Palo Alto residents.

Maybe they could get Stanford Architect students/local architects involved to produce updated designs to recreate the buildings. But trying to move the existing ones that clearly were showing there age was just a dumb idea.

I bike by this complex every day on my way to work and it is just a shame on Palo Alto the way Edgewood plaza has been dealt with over this complex for YEARS.

Furthermore they should rename Edgewood A. Quincy Jones plaza, after the original architect of this complex. Eichler was a developer/marketer.

Posted by Eichler, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 8, 2013 at 10:56 pm


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2013 at 1:12 am

@Michael S - Actually they should rename it Buford McGee Plaza. Buford was the guy out there hammering nails and building the thing, not some elitist LA architect (who was probably a Dodgers fan).

Posted by Katie, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:17 am

Get it done! What century is it going to be finished in!!!

Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:37 am

The Edgewood Shopping Center as we knew it over the past 20-30 years represented little more than blight and neglect. Where were all the preservasionists as the buildings and infrastructure at the site eroded? Did they show any concern whatsoever as the parking lot and surrounding area became a haven for drug users and dumping ground for stolen cars? No they didn't, at least not to any meaningful degree.

But once again a relatively few zealots come out of the woodwork in our town and hinder real progress. The same people who didn't care enough to pressure the previous property owners to preserve and care for the shopping center are suddenly drawing a line in the sand. In our desire to give everyone a voice and validation, no matter how illogical or ridiculous their premise might be, we allow them to stop or slow down what should have been done years ago.

There was a time and a place to have this projected debated and for people to weigh in. That time has passed. So for those in opposition at this stage, then get over it.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:07 am

Stolen cars, yes! When mine was stolen, they drove it to Edgewood to rifle through the trunk, etc. That attracted the cops, who gave chase & my car was crashed & totaled, the thieves never found. Finish the dang development!

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Well said, marrol. As usual people want to use someone else's resources to,preserve the eyesores they consider historic. Remember when the voters had the good sense a decade ago to vote down the " everything in palo alto is historic" ordinance pushed by a current council member?

Posted by brian, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Feb 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm

it always surprises me when I see people in Palo Alto spend 1 to 2 million for an Eichler then flatten it and replace it with a tasteless McMansion identical to what they could of bought in Stockton for 200 to 300k. It just goes to show that money cannot buy good taste. They bought something valuable and unique and replaced it with something cheap and banal.

These people that call Edgewood Plaza an eyesore should "get themselves some education" when it comes to architectural history. I don't care if they are the best educated doctors, lawyers or engineers, they can still be absolute jugheads when it comes to understanding good design.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm

- dry rot
-single pane (dangerous) large windows

-- I would not oppose a brand-new group of structures in the Eichler style (although I gather this is not particularly what this developer decided on), but some structures/facilities that were not maintained can not suddenly BE maintained to current and future code.

That shopping center was a terrible derelict and the fact that a developer offered to re-develop it should be praised; we desperately need renewa there. Looking for functionality and usability - after all, it is at the intersection of a highway - but it also abuts a neighborhood, and we neighbors look forward to a usable, fresh shopping center and small community (of townhouses).

Again, my sympathies are with this developer, who has had to put up with outrageous delays and a realm of petty demands.

Posted by Nt an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Well, Brian, everyone has their own opinions on this matter. Edgewood plaza was an eyesore-- just because eichlers name was attached to it does not make architecturally significant or good to look at. However the real important point is that if these buildings were so important and historic why was nothing done over the years to maintain them?
As usual with " historic " structures in palo alto the Eichler worshipers and other historic fanatics want to control everything without investing of their money.
U fortunately on Monday , the council will probably decide on sanctions against the developer, based on the whinings of a select few. This will further delay the renovation of the plaza. IMHO, the developer should be rewarded fr their efforts-- clearing the city of an ugly eyesore, while moving progress along at Edgewood.

Posted by brian, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Feb 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm

@ Raul,

So you call Hangar One at Moffet Field an eyesore.

How about calling the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge eyesores? Great works of design and engineering need to be understood on a different level of comprehension. Is Hangar One spoiling your driving experience on that "beautiful 8 lanes of concrete called the 101" or casting shadows into your backyard so you can't grow your vegetables? I didn't think so!

Take some humility and accept the fact that if you can't appreciate something maybe it's more a sign of your own inherent limitations of understanding than anything else.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 9, 2013 at 6:11 pm

So according to Brian if you do not like everything that Eichler did, then it is a sign of " your inherent limitations of nderstanding" . I guess because Brian is not limited he is allowed to label buildings that he does not like as McMansions.

Posted by brian, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Feb 9, 2013 at 6:23 pm

@ anonymous (Duveneck/St. Francis)

dry rot is not a problem that is completely outside the realm of possibilities of addressing. There is a subtle difference between selectively replacing rotten sheathing and framing and bulldozing an entire building!

large single pane glazing is not an unresolvable problem either.

It just needs to be tempered and/or laminated and the glass thickness can be increased to 1/2" or 3/4" as needed based on building codes and deflection / wind loading criteria. Go to any traditional downtown shopping district in Palo Alto or San Francisco and you can see plenty of old retail buildings with single pane storefront windows.

Double pane glazing is more for addressing energy compliance than safety issues. Either way they could of easily replaced the existing glazing with new glazing that mimics the original appearance and meets all current building code requirements for safety and energy compliance. This is seriously a non-issue.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Oh, I'm familiar with these issues in our region with older wood buildings and single-pane glass...
just meant to be an illustration of one aspect of the decision-making that comes into play -
sometimes it IS appropriate to tear down.
Appropriate, best use of a plot of land is another consideration in our modern times.
I agree with others that little attention was paid to the old center as it deteriorated - if it were so important, why was this the case?
I am not an Eichler "hater," in fact I have owned several of them. They (in terms of "worth") need to be considered on an individual basis - design, location, components, remodelling, and etc.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm

These buildings were more of an oddity than a landmark.

They were nice while they were in service but I don't know why that ratty old shopping center is more worthy of saving than for example the old Palo Alto High School which was a pretty nice old place - having to got to go to school there in the last year it was standing.

Not everything is worthy or keeping, or worthy or preventing something nice and new and more functional for today's world than trying to update an old style of building that is not really amenable to being renovated.

Comparing the Eichler homes with this slapdash shopping center is comparing apples and oranges. Homes are small and can be personalized and modified, but this shopping center just did not utilize the land it was on well compared to what can be done today. While it is not a good precedent to allow contractors to unilaterally decide to demolish what the city has determined is historic ... it is a bad call by the city - in my opinion - to try to force us to save this old shopping center - and it is just parts of it that are being saved.

There needs to be some kind of appropriate punishment to the contractor, and then move the hell on and get that area updated and functional. Hopefully it will not degenerate into a seedy old dump for beggars and a hangout for bums that we saw before.

Posted by Proposed solution, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 9, 2013 at 11:38 pm

The people responsible for the property becoming an eyesore are the property OWNERS. Not the city, not the neighbors. They let it go to the dogs so that you will get disgusted and say Do SOMETHING!
You have fallen in line and played your part of the script.
No matter if the demolished structure was nice or not, SandHill Developers broke the law, did not get a demolition permit and hid their misdeeds as long as possible. They need to reimburse the community.Other developers get away with similar misdeeds, it needs to stop here.
A suggestion:
How about fewer houses jammed in, and more parking for the market. That would be appropriate for Plaza and the neighborhood.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2013 at 6:57 am

Sad truth is Edgewood Plaza was built cheaply, quickly and most likely was not to last for 50 years. Home design is one thing, shopping centers are another thing. I would dread having to remodel, the plumbing alone would scare me.

Codes, laws about restrooms, fire safety and wheelchair access.

Rebuilt the whole using Eichler style but follow the modern building codes.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 10, 2013 at 11:00 am

Proposed solution - What does the developer have to "reimburse the community" for? Knocking down an unsafe eyesore? Building a new building which will be safer, strong and in the same spirit? Having built and remodeled many homes, usually with the intent of saving as much of the structure as possible, sometimes you just have to demolish things because they are not worth saving.

Posted by seriously, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 10, 2013 at 11:28 am

This is very interesting. City should fight to keep the Haymarket Theater from demolishing instead of this hidden property.

Posted by noncompliant?, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Agree with 'Proposed solution'. Perhaps the demolished building was not salvageable but ignoring stated requirements without first consulting the city shows a willful disregard for the city's authority.

Further evidence of this developer's flagrant F**Y** to the city is the recently poured parking lot which blocks the exit connecting the shopping center and the adjacent Shell station despite this being a clearly stated condition to project approval. This popular route had been a convenient and much safer egress for Duveneck/St Francis residents than the alternative exit onto busy Embarcadero Rd.

The developer should be held accountable for their disobedience by reducing the number of allowed residential units and replacing them with more parking.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Maybe the developer should plan on suing the city. Maybe the shell station does not want the cut through traffic. But by all means let sleep the area undeveloped floor another few years. That is after all the palo alto way-- let a few people tie up everything. Too bad that councils ego has been bruised-- but will they propose a common sense solution or will they resort to a potty, spoiled child approach.

Posted by businessdecision, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2013 at 8:17 am

I thought the issue was the developer being dishonest and taking a shortcut, but right from the start the talk here was all about whether or not the plaza was ratty. Interesting.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 11, 2013 at 11:29 am

@ seriously: Haymarket is not going to be demolished. Have no idea where you got that rumor.

Paly is building a new theater, yes. But they are going to refurbish Haymarket and the Tower Building. No demolition. The Haymarket renovation is part of "Group 5" of the Paly Master plan.

Irresponsible to say such things.

Posted by 31st Century Modern, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm

What a wonderful opportunity for the Developer to now build an exciting, modern and profitable shopping center. Move on folks, we're in the 21st Century now.

Posted by who cares, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Feb 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm

The real blight is the ugly Eichler homes surronding this commercial area. Why not have the Building Dept. and Code Enforcement declare these residential structures as a public hazard/nuisance so that we can build 21st century homes in their place. What a shame that many of those posting don't even know which Eichler building on the site was considered historic. So much for being "educated" as Palo Altans like to call themselves. Let the developers decide for us which structures are historic or have community value. Lets continue to build nondescript 3 story section 8 housing structures so those we can proudly "move into the 21st century". Rest assured, the Palo Alto City Council has the developers well taken care of in our community so that all of your wishes and dreams will prevail. What a pity!

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 11, 2013 at 6:28 pm

The Edgewood Plaza "neighborhood" is much bigger than the relatively small Eichler 'covenant' of homeowners who control what is built at that site. Probably only 2% or less of DSFNA and Crescent Park, Triple El, Community Center, Leland Manor and other nearby 'neighborhoods' are Eichlers and may not care less whether or not EWP is "historic". WE all want something attractive and functional. The idea that there will be sought-after historic tours ("Gray Line"?) is ludicrous. This 'shopping center' has been a deteriorating disaster for years. And if it comes out looking like it did, what a waste of money, It's time for this "Eichler Covenant" homeowners to understand that they are not the 'neighborhood'. There is a strong feeling out in the rest of the 'hoods' that this is also our 'neighborhood' - and we didn't buy Eichlers. Get on with it.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Feb 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Thanks, Kate. Once again a small vocal minority may driveolicy for the city. In this case unneeded and unwarranted sanctions against the developers. The developers should have their lawyers on speed dial pending the councils decision tonight. Of course, say the words "Eichler" and " historic" in a sentence and half the council will probably be swooning.

Posted by palo alto parent, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 11, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Not an issue - while half the City Council may swoon at the mention of historic Eichler in the same sentence, most of the citizens of Palo Alto will chuckle.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 11, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Is there really something called The Eichler Covenant? Maybe it's a book by Dan Brown. It features a dashing historian/architect named Dr. Dack Sterling whose a visiting prof at Stanford & gets swept into the intrigue & corruption of Sili Valley historical preservation. He's invited to meet the monied glitterati behind these preservation efforts & uncovers a worldwide conspiracy: a cabal of powerful people who can only worship their chosen deity in Eichlers have seeded Palo Alto's City Council w/animatronic replicas of the real elected officials, in order to get the city to save EVERY Eichler in town. Not only that - they plan to save & revitalize the old, decrepit Eichler-designed shopping center as their new secret house of worship. Their evil plan is to call up their powerful deity at midsummer in order to take full control of ALL historic preservation efforts in ALL of California!

Along the way, Dr. Sterling is joined by the lissome, brilliant MD/PhD neurobiologist/pediatric surgeon widow Angelique De Monet whose husband (the successful, incredibly humble VC Sebastian De Monet) died in a mysterious Eichloer home fire.

Will the vengeful widow and determined professor successfully wrest Palo Alto free from the grasp of the evil Eichler Covenant? You'll have to read the book/listen to the audio book/see the film to find out!

Posted by businessdecision, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

So glad I am not a Palo Altan. The developer agreed not to demolish and then did but because it's what you wanted all along, that's fine.

Posted by 21st Century Modern , a resident of Community Center
on Feb 13, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Some 20 years or so ago Palo Altans defeated a much vaunted Historic Prservation Ordinance. This ordinance called for historic preservation to encompass all City structures 50 years or more old. This would have meant that many of the old, deteriorating and rundown structures in Palo Alto would have had to be kept indefinitely.

The voters defeated this poorly thought through proposed ordinance. I can see from these postings that there is still a small minority who still wants to keep rundown and deteriorated buildings just because they are more than 50 years old.

Posted by J, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 19, 2013 at 6:19 pm

The old Edgewood plaza was ugly and a black eye for Palo Alto. if it were to me I would have liked to see a smaller version of Santana Row replace it.

This is the 21st century, Eichler architecture may have been a good idea in its time, i.e., in the 50s, but not anymore!!

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