Five-story hotel eyed for Su Hong site

New development the latest sign of south Palo Alto's hotel boom

A five-story development that includes a hotel and eight townhomes is being proposed for 4256 El Camino Real, a site currently occupied by the restaurant Su Hong. Rendering by Studio T-Sq., Inc.

The transformation of south Palo Alto's El Camino Real into a hotel magnet is proceeding apace, with the latest proposal calling for a five-story hotel to take over the current site of the popular Chinese restaurant Su Hong.

Under a proposal that developer Mircea Voskerician submitted last month, the one-story restaurant building at 4256 El Camino Real would be demolished and replaced by a 50-foot-tall development with 69 hotel rooms and eight residential units.

The town homes would each be three stories tall and have three bedrooms, according to the plans. The project still needs to be vetted by the Architectural Review Board before it can gain approval.

If it gets the green light, the development would join an ever-growing list of new hotels that have sought and, in some cases, received the city's approval to open on El Camino Real south of Oregon Expressway. The list includes Hilton Homewood Suites, which replaced Palo Alto Bowl, and Hilton Garden Inn, which opened just north of the Su Hong site, at 4216 El Camino Real.

Both of these hotels are located near to the Crowne Plaza Palo Alto, which has occupied its site in the 4200 block of El Camino Real since 1962 (originally under the name Hotel Cabana). Farther up north, in the 3000 block of El Camino, stands Hotel Parmani, a 36-room hotel that would be demolished and replaced with a new four-story hotel under a plan that the City Council praised in May (it has yet to be formally approved).

Though the hotel boom is centered around El Camino, it's not limited to the rapidly evolving thoroughfare. On June 1, the council gave the green light to a proposal to construct two hotels -- Courtyard by Marriott and AC by Marriott -- in the 700 block of San Antonio Road, near Middlefield Road.

The trend reflects both Palo Alto's healthy economy and the wishes of the City Council majority, which supports having more and bigger hotels. In January, during a discussion of the Comprehensive Plan, the council voted to explore raising the allowed density for new hotels by 50 percent if they are downtown and by 25 percent if they're not.

The hotel that's being proposed by Voskerician also includes an underground garage with 78 spots, with an additional seven spots provided on a surface lot. It is located in a "service commercial" zone, which accommodates retail, housing and hotel uses. As such, it would not require a zone change to win approval.

The developer for the new hotel is listed as HXH LLC, an entity with a location on East Bayshore in Palo Alto. The applicant, according to the plans submitted to the city, is Voskerician, who made headlines in 2014 when he sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

At the time, Voskerician claimed that he made an offer on a Hamilton Avenue property that abuts Zuckerberg's home. While Zuckerberg ultimately bought out Voskerician's contract, the two sparred in court after Voskerician accused Zuckerberg of reneging on a verbal promise to introduce some of his business contacts to Voskerician.

In 2016, the two sides reached a settlement in which Zuckerberg did not pay any money to Voskerician.

It remains to be seen what the proposal will do to Su Hong, a popular restaurant and perennial winner of the Weekly's "Best of" readers poll (owner David King could not be reached Monday). The restaurant has been a south Palo Alto staple since 1985, when it opened its doors at 4101 El Camino Way (the first Su Hong on the Peninsula opened in 1977, in Menlo Park). The restaurant moved to its present location in 2010, taking over a site formerly occupied by Denny's.


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47 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2017 at 4:17 pm

We lost the bowling alley, Olive Garden, now Su Hong's!

It is getting so hard to have a family in Palo Alto.

8 people like this
Posted by R. Winslow
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Would hate to see Su Hong/Palo Alto gone as driving up ECR to Menlo Park would be a drag (especially by the time you get to Stanford Shopping Center or during the collegiate football season).

Maybe the new hotel could incorporate a Su Hong restaurant within its premises? About the only major improvement/alteration Su Hong might consider in this scenario is enlarging its bar area as the one at 'Denny's' isn't too much to speak of and being in a hotel, a larger bar would attract more 'walk-in' customers and hotel guests who just want to 'chill'.

85 people like this
Posted by Gordon Gecko
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Another under-parked monstrosity replacing a much-loved restaurant to fatten the city coffers and the pockets of developers brought to you by their City Council cronies.

85 parking spaces for 69 guest rooms and 8 3-bedroom residences (at least 24 residents)???? Will the hotel be staffed by robots? There's no worker parking!

So tired of PA becoming an office park surrounded by $350++ a night hotel rooms that do little for the residents, visiting family members, Stanford Hospital patients and their families, and even business travelers on normal daily expenses.

5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 17, 2017 at 7:27 pm

LOL, Sung Ho.

4 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jul 17, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

@R. Winslow:

The Menlo Park Su Hong closed a number of years ago, so the Palo Alto location is the only one left.

5 people like this
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2017 at 2:35 am

Steam's way better though pricier than Su Hong.
Thaiphoon's still here.
You can always hit the Panda Express next to J-Bo.
Siam Royal is awesome and affordable.

I'll be glad to see another hotel so business partners have more options.

Like this comment
Posted by R. Winslow
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

>The Menlo Park Su Hong closed a number of years ago, so the Palo Alto location is the only one left.

Thanks for the update. I reside P/T in Palo Alto now and haven't been to MP for awhile. I recall the main Su Hong restaurant on ECR and a smaller one a block or so away behind it for take-out.

19 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto native
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 18, 2017 at 10:44 am

When is the City going to shut down and demolish the Glass Slipper? The area of El Camino that needs immediate attention and needs to be repurposed is the stretch between Los Robles and Fernando.

9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 18, 2017 at 11:02 am

Repurposed! The Ventura and Barron Park neighborhoods are lucky to have a mix of many good retail and other businesses that provide us real services we want and need that we can walk or bike to.
Look more carefully and you will see how lucky we are. And retail protection ordinance protects them - or should if city staff will abide by the law.
Hands off our retail!

7 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 18, 2017 at 11:23 am

Finally El Camino is beginning the renovation process. Most buildings from the 3500 block to the 4200 block need to be replaced. I hope the city of Palo Alto examines the entire section. The hut (3516) has been there for 50 years along with the dirt lot-something needs to be done in that area. Hopefully the City of Palo Alto can come up with some long term development ideas.

9 people like this
Posted by Condo Dweller
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2017 at 2:02 pm

This new hotel will definitely impact residents of the Palo Alto Redwoods next door at 4250 El Camino. Hope they will be involved in any decision to go ahead with this project.

12 people like this
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2017 at 3:15 pm

When you consider other projects recently built and in the pipeline, that is a lot of new hotel rooms in this small area. (Not to mention the growing popularity of AirBnB in ADUs.) Can you say "glut"? Townhomes on El Camino attached to a hotel? Will there be open space on-site? Who would want to live there?

Ugh. This is a poorly conceived development. I'm not opposed to higher density along El Camino, but this looks like a stupid project.

Eliminating more community-serving local business. Aaaargh.

11 people like this
Posted by Icons
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Oh come on @Palo Alto native...Glass Slipper is an icon, it is unique and not boring like the Hilton, Homewood Inn, soon to be built Parmani, the Marriots coming on San Antonio which all are square boxes.

22 people like this
Posted by DTN Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2017 at 6:08 pm

DTN Paul is a registered user.

We are going to miss Su Hong if it goes away. Oh, and @Chris Zaharias, Chinese, Thai and Burmese foods are not the same thing.

15 people like this
Posted by Gordon Gecko
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2017 at 7:04 pm

We too will miss Su Hong if it disappears.

[Post removed.]

16 people like this
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 18, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Yep, We need another Hotel.
I just can't wait to spend a few nights in a new PaAlto Hotel
Yep, Just what we PaAltans need..
Hey City Council..What are you doing to our City?

7 people like this
Posted by LadyPA
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 18, 2017 at 9:22 pm

Still don't see "Stop PA El Camino Expansion" and
"Stop San Antonio expansion" yard signs. The other yard signs are still there.

23 people like this
Posted by Grumpy Old Guy
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 19, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Hmmm.....The negatives are that it'll increase congestion along El Camino. Traffic along Arastradero is already jammed in the morning and the afternoon going towards Gunn and Terman. And jobs? I doubt that a lot of Palo Altans will get jobs there. That means guest and worker traffic. And of course, City Council will then argue we need more workforce housing for those workers (who would never be able to afford to live in Palo Alto.)

The only sparkle in the project will be that it'll just add to Palo Alto's coffers for the Hotel Tax so that City Council can argue we need more funds for high density housing.

It's time to say no to this project and other schemes like this. The current majority City Council mentality is to build at any cost. We need to stop this mentality at the next election. We cannot allow outside developers to ruin the character and livability of Palo Alto.

23 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 19, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Annette is a registered user.

" The trend reflects both Palo Alto's healthy economy and the wishes of the City Council majority, which supports having more and bigger hotels. In January, during a discussion of the Comprehensive Plan, the council voted to explore raising the allowed density for new hotels by 50 percent if they are downtown and by 25 percent if they're not."

I have some homework to do on this unless someone knows: why is CC pushing hotel density? Is the city so short on hotel rooms that we need all that we have plus the 2 new Marriott hotels AND this one? Does the City or an ABAG-like entity keep numbers on this like they do on housing? Or are hotels money-generating machines for developers? If the answer to the last question is YES, it is clear why our CC majority supports this.

More an more it feels like our CC majority is more concerned about people who MIGHT come here than people who actually ARE here.

10 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm

We all know that more hotel rooms will make them more affordable, don't we?

Are we requiring any rooms to be set aside for "Below Market Rate"?

2 people like this
Posted by Optimist
a resident of Monroe Park
on Jul 19, 2017 at 7:25 pm

It's just surprising that so many reactions are negative. Of course, planning and strategy are strategic to the long term regarding development. It is challenging for Palo Alto to balance growth with the status quo...but good grief...who would've ever thought a little piece of silicon, a keyboard and some electricity would revolutionize the world. Some may call it change and others progress but the one constant is nothing stays the same. I offer a challenge to find a collaborative approach and share feedback that is solution or ideals focused. I'll start: For this project I would like to see an exterior that reflects the nature and atmosphere of Palo Alto. Ideally, the building would fit organically in the space and include as much greenspace as possible. Also, would it be reasonable to request from the developer a commitment to be an active participant in the community? How can growth and development not only fit the financial requirements to make a project feasible but how can it "add" to Palo Alto's identity and community?

14 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm

Palo Alto atmosphere? How about an inventory of blue sky and sunshine? Three street-trees in front of Su Hong see sunset around 8 pm. With the new building, they'll be in shadow by 2. People are wondering where Mountain View got its name. We've given up on it here too, unless you're in the penthouse.

22 people like this
Posted by Supply & Demand
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 19, 2017 at 11:12 pm

Lot too small to accommodate such a monster. Dangerous side walk for pedestrian with current setback already! Not the right way to satisfy parking requirements. Too many hotels and motels in the same area need to have more restaurants for hotel/motel guests and locals.

4 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2017 at 11:32 am

Marie is a registered user.

Palo Alto has long had a policy of keeping buildings east of 101 to two stories or less, given the fragile ecology along the Bay. That was why the proposal to put a 50 foot car dealership failed. Is the CC really thinking of dumping this policy?

New building should be away from the Bay, where flooding is not an issue. Isn't anyone paying attention to the forecast rise in sea level? Why isn't the city targeting a much better area for development - between Foothill and 280, and work on limiting development on floodplains. Housing and hotels there would be much closer to all the companies in the Stanford Business Park, eliminating a lot of cross town traffic. More private buses could reduce traffic on 280, as would the potential of living close enough to work that you could easily bike or walk or at least not have to drive on highways to get to work.

Like this comment
Posted by Whymorehotels
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 22, 2017 at 2:35 am

Dear Annette,
RE: CC interest in hotel density.
Here are a few thoughts as to why.
1. Remember TOT increase to 14% voted by resident's?
Portion of projected 2.5 million increase yearly to be used for traffic parking and such, needed desperately. It goes to the general fund where it sits adding up and should be used as it was promised. Now would be a great time. THere are certainly enough items on the list, we definitely have not rushed into anything and Palo Alto can never say we did not have enough meetings about ANYTHING!
2. Business license will be a sure fire way to enforce the head count tax/fee
and hotels keep paying more & more with every new idea to raise money.
Hotels seem to be doing way more that their fair share. New hotels will add inventory, increase congestion, cause more problems and still no solutions.
Legacy hotels have and continue to pay millions of dollars to the city. Employees are leaving due to the never ending agony of parking. CC why after ten years has nothing happened( I'm not talking about forming stakeholder advisory steering meeting committee to do another study, been there, done that, how many times and nothing. SO now let's add more hotels, make it harder on the legacy's and collect all the the TOT and headcount $

Up there to GG, I have to tell you that you are not fully informed.
The reason I am speaking up is one of the hotels in Palo Alto has always been amazing for a non-profit I am part of and treated strangers(my parent's) like family while my mom was here for cancer treatment at Stanford for 3 years.
They were all extraordinary, they made it a home and Mom made it to her Grandson's 3rd birthday. My family will forever be grateful, the manager immediately jumped in with everything to help. NO WAY to explain the emotional level and details of kindness they shared unconditionally.

Just sayin' not all the hotels deserve a bad rap.

5 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2017 at 2:18 pm

With all this cancerous building in Palo Alto and the tax revenue
generated by is Palo Alto not able to afford to keep services up
and fees down - more, more, more money ... and where does it
go? Why are the Baylands and Foothill Park and other Parks
continually falling apart?. Why are we insecure in terms of flooding?
We ought to be expanding parks and other qualify of life programs,
but when was the last time that happened?

7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2017 at 4:17 pm

My family went to Su Hong's this weekend. The place was busy and vibrant, the service was great and the food was good value.

What is going to happen to Su Hong's. We are losing all our family favorites.

4 people like this
Posted by Su Hong
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Do not take our beloved Su's been a family celebration place for decades!!!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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