Pet clinic poised to take over North Face | September 9, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 9, 2022

Pet clinic poised to take over North Face

Council to consider waiver for Modern Animal

by Gennady Sheyner

The building at 217 Alma St. has been vacant for so long that it remains best known for a tenant that hasn't occupied it since 2016 — The North Face — which left downtown's northwestern periphery for the tonier environs of Stanford Shopping Center.

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Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at [email protected]


Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2022 at 12:50 pm

felix is a registered user.

Hey Gennady - Do you know if Walgreens is staying in the building in back? It’s a special “compounding pharmacy” and as such, a valuable resource for the community. I’m hoping it will remain.
The vet use seems good too.

Posted by CalAveLocal
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 3, 2022 at 3:01 pm

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

They should really consider providing services for exotic and pocket pets as well. We don’t currently have a single clinic in Palo Alto to treat the little patients.

Posted by Curious
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2022 at 9:06 pm

Curious is a registered user.

How many parking spaces do they have again?
That’s enough for a health clinic (of sorts)? (Are they providing emergency services or 24 hour care?)
But not enough parking spaces for a restaurant?

LONG OVERDUE for Palo Alto to update its zoning requirements for restaurant and retail, especially in regards to these absurd parking space RESTRICTIONS.
For restaurants especially, it seems likely that more ppl are using transportation services rather than driving themselves these days - a trend that will likely only increase. Let’s get rid of this nonsense parking space requirement so we can bring in new businesses!

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2022 at 10:16 pm

felix is a registered user.

One other thing - should have added that the next closest compounding pharmacy is in Berkeley.

So if your doctor prescribes a compounded med, to have this specialized pharmacy in town is wonderful and a resource for all local communities. So I hope it remains, with the Vet in the front building.

Posted by TorreyaMan
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 6, 2022 at 11:32 am

TorreyaMan is a registered user.

There is a compounding pharmacy in SF: Koshland Pharm. Check out their website, they are a significant operation.

A vet operation at this location is a good thing, although there is a shortage of vets in our area, so how are they going to staff?

This would have been ideal location for new residential housing!

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 6, 2022 at 11:52 am

Anonymous is a registered user.

Vet, compounding pharmacy…all good.
Housing shoehorned in there? Not so much.
More residents subjected to the train horns, along busy Alma, likely underparked, doesn’t seem a plus.

Posted by NeilsonBuchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 6, 2022 at 12:19 pm

NeilsonBuchanan is a registered user.

This project is a total surprise to me. I missed any public notices until today.

City politics have been consumed with the lack of housing during the past two years. Isn't this site ideal for housing? I am confused why staff and council are not pushing boundaries for more housing. Palo Alto pets are important but this seems like a squandered opportunity for humans.

Posted by Sally-Ann Rudd
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 6, 2022 at 12:25 pm

Sally-Ann Rudd is a registered user.

Love the vet idea since I’m currently driving my kitties to Mountain View for vet. Given that the property is on the edge of a large residential area where people can walk to the restaurant I don’t know why city didn’t make an exception if they wanted a restaurant there, especially since right around the corner on Lytton there are 2 restaurants one of which has zero parking (it’s in the downtown parking assessment district is why).

Posted by Eric Filseth
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 6, 2022 at 8:19 pm

Eric Filseth is a registered user.

Not commenting on this specific proposal, but vets are mobile and can earn just as much outside the Bay Area, and a lot have left in the last several years - leaving behind long appointment waits, reduced service and higher prices (specialties like exotic and pocket pets have fared among the worst; for example, the nearest Emergency Clinic that will see pet rabbits is apparently now in San Ramon). So a veterinary proposal is a bit unusual - I can’t remember seeing any others in 7.5 years on Council.

Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2022 at 2:36 am

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

This is an exciting development. A few thoughts:

1. Please, City Council, repeal these parking minimums which only encourage and enable one of the most environmentally destructive activities people do far too often: driving.

2. Re-fund and strengthen the electric shuttle. More shuttles = less need for parking. The defunding of the shuttle directly harmed public school students and seniors, and made SOVs the only reliable way to get around. Isn't this obvious to you?

3. I join others in frustration that the COPA does not seize upon these obvious opportunities to add to our housing stock. Yes, it is noisy on Alma. But also: living on Alma is preferable to commuting 2 hours to work and back.

4. If COPA still, obstinately, refuses to embrace these opportunities for housing, at very least require that one consumer-facing business is replaced with another consumer-facing business. Replacing the North Face with a vet clinic is a fair exchange (so please make this happen! People can walk their dogs to the vet!). I also was intrigued by the notion of a float station studio, which I had to look up (a spa with sensory deprivation tanks!). Vet clinic it is. Please help make this happen.

5. As an aside, if Council member Filseth is still reading: can you please explain how sites like this are stymied by obsolete parking requirements, while the City continues to expedite the active conversion of residential properties to commercial office properties, like is happening at 123 Sherman just south of N. California?

I don't get how hard it is for a vet to move to Alma, yet a 70,000 sq ft office building, planted in the middle of an upscale condominium development (whose residents strenuously oppose it) gets fast-tracked to break ground. Isn't there a 50K limit on new office space? Why make such a big deal about a vet when 700 unhoused workers soon will descend on North Ventura?

A lot seems wrong with this picture.

Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2022 at 8:17 am

resident3 is a registered user.

@Rebecca Eisenberg,

“I join others in frustration that the COPA does not seize upon these obvious opportunities to add to our housing stock. Yes, it is noisy on Alma. But also: living on Alma is preferable to commuting 2 hours to work and back”

Buildings can be built to be quiet inside and it’s time to get aggressive about increasing housing in Palo Alto proper, by local parks, shops, restaurants. That’s what will discourage using cars the most.

It’s a tragedy to use up the best of Palo Alto on commercial buildings. The vision of office density…empty offices downtown on weekends while people are sent to San Antonio or expected to have to shuttle anywhere… the City should be promoting housing where its walkable and attractive to live. Commercial buildings have people inside all the time, send them to where there’s nothing.

Posted by D. Smith
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 8, 2022 at 2:52 pm

D. Smith is a registered user.

Great place for a new veterinarian. Anyplace would be great. Unless you are a current customer, try finding a good vet within a 20 miles radius that will take on a new client

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