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What's happening here?

Birch Plaza is expected to open at the end of September

Where: 305 Grant Ave., Palo Alto (at Birch Street)

What: Birch Plaza, a 25,000-square-foot office and apartment development: 10,000 square feet of ground-floor office space; 15,000 square feet of apartments (eight 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath, plus one below-market rate) on the second and third floors, underground parking garage with 19 regular parking spaces and 15 tandem-parking stalls. Also includes courtyards, a sculpture, a pocket park and new street trees.

Who: Developer is Hohbach Enterprises; Architect is Hoover Associates

When: Apartments are expected to open at the end of September.

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5 people like this
Posted by Ellie
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 31, 2015 at 10:09 am

One affordable housing unit? That's it? Another huge depressing, mostly offfic development That offers next to nothing but to the already rich developer Horbach who built and owns eve tying in the area around this place. The boxes come to the sidewalk forming a high wall painted crayon colors. This on the street one takes from Oregon to Cal Ave so it is an entry way - a zillion drivers will have to see it everyday - the new ugly face of palo alto.

15 people like this
Posted by Unwanted
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2015 at 10:42 am

Definitely one of the ugliest buildings in town!

10 people like this
Posted by six of one
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2015 at 10:43 am

If you want your complaints to be taken seriously, Ellie, it might behoove you to actually read the article.
10,000 square feet office space, 15,000 square feet of apartments--that means more apartment space than office--not the "mostly office space" you complain about.
You claim it offers nothing--on the contrary it offers 8 apartments and office space. the fact that Hohbach owns much of the land in that area and is rich, is irrelevant. he did not steal his money--he earned it.
i doubt a zillion drivers will pass it in a day and most will be paying attention to the road, so they will not notice it.
[Portion removed.]

7 people like this
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 31, 2015 at 12:59 pm

There should be no BMR units...they are highly unfair to their neighbors, who are paying full rates, inflated to cover the BMRs. BMRs should never be considered a community benefit...they become the excuse to bend the zoning rules, and allow increased densities.

8 people like this
Posted by Frances
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2015 at 11:47 pm

It's funny how people like Craig need the working poor to provide services to them at minimum wages prices. I'm sure he can't make his own Starbucks nor landscape his garden. You have your nerves when America lives off the back of the working poor.
I'm grateful for my BMR unit but would prefer an a Section 8 voucher .

3 people like this
Posted by Sophia
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2015 at 11:51 pm

I'm interested in the BMR unit being offered.? What's the process?

1 person likes this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2015 at 11:58 pm

The development definitely looks a lot better than what was there before.
I have lived in Palo Alto for almost 60 years, and that property has never had a nice looking building on it. Thanks Hal!

4 people like this
Posted by Scott
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 1, 2015 at 1:43 am

All of the recently approved buildings in the California Ave area, for some reason, were allowed to be built with barely any sidewalk in front of them. This increases the darkness of the street, increases the feeling that the buildings are closing in on the neighborhood, and increases the feeling that they are way over scale. Contrast this to the other buildings in the area that were built in a time when people cared about community. These are set back, with landscaping in front that soften the concrete blocks.

It is sad that the developers have taken over complete control. Those community-minded citizens that built Palo Alto would be appalled. Those who want Palo Alto to look like New York or downtown San Francisco are leading the charge. On Park Blvd., there will be lot of bicyclists using the 'bike friendly' path, there will be ton of new cars for people driving to these new offices, and there will be a lot more pedestrians from the office buildings walking to lunch or for coffee. The combination, in a very small space, is highly likely to lead to accidents. Already it is like bumper cars.

Have some common sense people. It doesn't have to be this way. For those who say I am just an old fogey, against change, NIMBY . . . . well, I guess so. I chose to live here because I liked it. Changes can happen with some thought and without devastating neighbors and running rough shod over any one who dares to complain.

Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 1, 2015 at 5:56 am

Set backs are a function of city zoning requirements...don't blame the architects. The older buildings were built under different rules. Fix the zoning requirements and you fix your concern.

2 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 1, 2015 at 7:15 am

This building has a "statue", granite (I think) with birds in bronze (I think) flying off of it. The building is brick, wood,
stucco. Modern, but not. It is, hmmmm, well, really, not really, hmmm well, you know. I know...Awkward!

4 people like this
Posted by Correction
a resident of Mayfield
on Sep 3, 2015 at 11:11 am

The 8 units are rentals so there is no below market rate unit proposed or required. All 8 will be market rate.

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