John Arrillaga plans Menlo Park development | October 26, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 26, 2012

John Arrillaga plans Menlo Park development

Medical and other office space, retail and rental housing planned for El Camino lots

by Sandy Brundage

An 8-acre span of car lots on El Camino Real will turn into a mixed-use complex of medical and other office space, retail businesses and housing if developer John Arrillaga goes forward with his plan for Stanford University properties in Menlo Park.

The lots stretch from 300 to 500 El Camino Real. Stanford confirmed that existing tenants — including Tesla — would move out as their leases expire on March 31, 2013.

"We are incorporating retail space in our redevelopment project, and Tesla would be a tenant that we would be interested in locating in the new project," said Steve Elliott, managing director for development, land, buildings and real estate at Stanford.

Tesla's possible departure from the city may not make officials happy; Menlo Park Finance Director Carol Augustine said Tesla ranked as one of the city's top 25 sales and user-tax contributors for fiscal year 2011-12.

According to informal architectural plans, the centerpiece of the project consists of two four-story buildings aligned with El Camino in the front and curved like the bottom half of an "S" in back. They would sit between College and Cambridge avenues, with Partridge Avenue separating the two structures. Parking for the entire project would be mainly underground, with some surface-level spaces planned at the rear of the development for an estimated total of 1,190 spaces.

Plans show 76,500 square feet of office space and 153,000 square feet of medical offices, but the final ratio of office to medical office space remains to be seen. Also unknown is whether the medical offices are meant for private practitioners or would be incorporated into the Stanford University Medical Center.

"We do not know and have not determined who the potential tenants, including any medical office tenants, in the new project might be," Elliott said. "While the specific plan allows for up to 153,000 square feet of medical office on this site, we anticipate that the project may include significantly less than this amount."

A third building next to Cambridge Avenue would have 17,800 square feet of office space spread over two floors.

Next to Middle Avenue, 36 units of rental apartments, with 8,000 square feet set aside for retail, would be built. Next door, bordering College Avenue, the preliminary plan calls for 112 units of rental housing and 4,000 square feet of retail.

Elliott said the residential portion of the project would include below-market-rate (BMR) housing.

There won't be much for Menlo Park to negotiate apart from the number of BMR homes. According to Thomas Rogers, associate planner for the city, the plans appear to meet baseline requirements for development within the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan, meaning that the project would not trigger any negotiations for public benefits. It also won't require approval beyond the Planning Commission's signing off on the architectural details.

"We anticipate starting construction of the new project in the summer or fall of next year. Demolition of the existing buildings would need to occur before this, and this cannot begin until all of the leases have expired," Elliott said.

Stanford and Arrillaga are working together closely, but whether the developer plans to donate the buildings to the university has not yet been decided, according to Elliott.

"Mr. Arrillaga is a very generous philanthropist who has provided great benefits to the university, as well as to the city of Menlo Park and other local community projects," he said.

Those benefits include Menlo Park's new multi-million-dollar gymnasium, gymnastics center and recreation center. Rogers said the city expected formal submission of the plans within the next two weeks.

Almanac Staff Writer Sandy Brundage can be emailed at


Posted by should we thank Stanford for this Arrillaga blitz?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2012 at 8:24 pm

After eating at the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons, I picked up a friend at the Arrilläga Center for German Living and Culture, another at the Arrillaga Famly Sports Center, before stopping by the the Arrillaga Alumni Cafe, but I choked, and ended up in the Laura Arrillaga Emergency room at Stanford Hospital.

In the future, I can only hope to see my doctor at the Arrillaga Medical Offices in Menlo Park, and then be in shape to go to the Arrillaga theater in Palo Alto, which will be near my offices in the 160 foot Arrillaga towers.

Posted by Jan H., a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Obviously John Arrillaga and his money are out of control, and Stanford is the enabler.

My in-laws have had business dealings with him in the past, and I only wish Stanford and the City of Palo Alto knew what they know.

Posted by Old Palo Alto, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Jan, I don't know what your beef (or, your inlaws) is with John Arrillaga is, but, just the other day you tried to blame him for the transient beating up someone who wouldn't give the transient/panhandler money. You tried to blame big city problems coming to Palo Alto because of John Arrillaga, someday, building some buildings in Palo Alto. Get over it. The problem, I pointed out, is/was that Palo Alto has become a magnet for these folks(just check out the bus/train/transit center behind MacArthur Park in the morning) becuase Palo Alto(ans) does(do) many good things for them and then they can go and panhandle to get some money to buy their booze downtown where they congregate and cause problems. If your inlaws had problems with Mr. Arrillaga, the proper forum is civil court! This forum is not for personal vendettas bordering on libel

Posted by Jan H., a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I do not know anything about a transient beating up anyone, but John Arrillaga has been heard to say he would like PA to be like Manhattan. I wonder if he has been there lately.

He seems to have too much power and influence. His "vision" is not the only one to be considered.

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Palo Alto Online, thank you for describing this gentleman as a "developer" in this piece.

Posted by Old Palo Alto, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2012 at 10:38 pm


Here is the link to the story re the transient and your comment:

Web Link

Posted by Jan H., a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm

With people like John Arrillaga trying to turn PA into a big urban center, big city issues are going to come with crime.

Posted by Jan H., a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm

That is NOT a direct reference to a transient beating someone...that is indirect.

If Palo Alto becomes a big city, yes, big city problems such as an increase in crime will go along with that.

Get real.

Posted by anecdote annie, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 24, 2012 at 6:09 am

Good call, Old Palo Alto. Once again Jan feel sthe need to denigrate Arrillaga. Then she denies she said something and when provided with proof that she said it, she tries to backtrack.
Not sure what Jan's beef with Arrillaga is, but as usual, she has an anecdote for everything.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2012 at 8:45 am

I think that Jan's suspicions of Arrillaga are appropriate, as are other views. FWIW, I recall transients being an issue downtown for decades, but I understand her point that these problems will increase w/development, if PA goes for a big city feel. She may not be right, but it's a valid pov to consider. It makes sense to also opine about someone who's been in the area a long time & left a big mark - some of it negative. There are many well-known people around here whose treatment of others and/or cutthroat tendencies mean not everyone loves them & that's relevant to the community.

The Arrillagas of the world always bring a mixed bag of results w/their developments - that's standard. Unfortunately, I always think about the resulting traffic & inconvenience for people who don't directly benefit from increased development - it's a cynical reality that affects more than just a city's residents.

Nora Charles, just curious about your thanks to PA Online for referring to him as a developer?

Posted by thank Stanford for this Arrillaga blitz?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Shabby City planning and poor governance that a development f this type would not trigger even the slightest traffic issues and constraints. Not one reference to the word traffic even in the article.

More like a Monopoly game, and the people who own Park Place are putting all the hotels they can on top of their property. In Monopoly you don't'' have to care about respect towards your community.

I would expect this type of blitz from the mafia, but Stanford?

Posted by Ducatigirl, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I think Mr. Arrillaga has Stanford in his coat pocket. He has built several buildings for them at his own expense because they are his Alma Mater. They may be afraid that there will be no more donations of such largesse if they attempt to control his blitz in any way.

In a sense, I suspect they are afraid of him

Posted by Aquamarine , a resident of Stanford
on Oct 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm

What Ducatigirl wrote also can be applied to the City of Menlo Park, also recipients of Arrillaga's "largesse." Remember, there is a reason Stanford's called the robber baron school.

Posted by Same old story, a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Stanford will move medical offices to Menlo Park to shift their auto commute numbers off campus. Both employees and patient visits will be reduced by pushing one large medical building to another jurisdiction. The General Use Permit that Santa Clara County imposed on Stanford controls the day time driving population on campus. If the University or the Med center wants to expand, it merely moves its highest traffic generating buildings to Redwood City and Menlo Park.

Stanford's stranglehold on its surrounding neighbors never ceases. What is the benefit to us? At least Palo Alto gets sales tax from Stanford's huge regional shopping mall. Menlo Park gets traffic.

Posted by Ducatigirl, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2012 at 8:47 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm

"Does Arrillaga even live in Palo Alto? Can't imagine he would want to live in a town he has so messed up."

I don't know what town Arriaga lives in (anybody know?), but the pattern for major Palo Alto developers is to live in Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, and Los Altos Hills, safely out of view of their creations. I know of only one exception.

Posted by gregg, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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