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At long last, Palo Alto home under construction for 16 years is nearly finished

Original post made on Apr 4, 2023

After 16 years of construction, the long-awaited completion of a single-family home in Palo Alto's Southgate neighborhood is on the horizon. The chain-link fence is gone and finishing touches are being wrapped up.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 4, 2023, 2:05 PM

Comments (21)

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2023 at 9:15 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Is this article a warning or a celebration?

Posted by helloit'sme
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 5, 2023 at 12:17 pm

helloit'sme is a registered user.

Where is all the square footage? Is the house mostly subterranean? In this case, that would be a plus for the neighbors.

Posted by CEQA Required
a resident of Monroe Park
on Apr 5, 2023 at 2:18 pm

CEQA Required is a registered user.

The next article like this should be about 3561 Park Blvd. That one has been stalled for a few years too. The demo permit was issued in 2018.

Posted by Bill Glazier
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 5, 2023 at 4:01 pm

Bill Glazier is a registered user.

This house has been 'under construction' for far longer than 16 years - more like 25. I lived down the street for many of them. The hole was dug and a basement started before 2000. This guy should not be celebrated - he was a neighbor's worst nightmare.

Posted by CEQA Required
a resident of Monroe Park
on Apr 5, 2023 at 5:08 pm

CEQA Required is a registered user.

@Bill Glazier,

I have an aerial photo from 2006 that shows the old house looking very intact. Google street view from 2008 shows the foundation of the new house, and it doesn’t change much until the photo from 2017. So this project started between 2006 and 2008. It pretty much stopped when the Great Recession hit.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 5, 2023 at 5:13 pm

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Astonishing story - I had no idea as I don’t really know that neighborhood and haven’t been by there. I feel sorry for the neighbors.

Posted by paulbc
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 5, 2023 at 6:16 pm

paulbc is a registered user.

Wow. I used to bike past there as part of my commute 7 years ago (I kept a folding bike in my car since it's so hard to park near University Ave.) They had some really unusual building material that caught my interest but I forget what it was. I don't even recognize the latest picture or the one on Google StreetView.

Posted by Jarom
a resident of Southgate
on Apr 5, 2023 at 9:03 pm

Jarom is a registered user.

Hi @paulbc the basement retaining walls and level 1 walls were formed using ICF (insulated concrete forms)

Posted by HillbillyHeaven
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 6, 2023 at 2:08 am

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It's taken this developer 16 years to finish a 4,000 foot single family home? That's ridiculous. The Hoover Dam was completed in six years, so what's this Randy's excuse?

Posted by theAlex
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Apr 6, 2023 at 10:32 am

theAlex is a registered user.

I invite every one to see the spectacle of 255 Campesino Avenue on the corner of Ramona Street. 50 years of waiting for the finishing of the second story. A true blight on the neighborhood. The city's code enforcement officer can't seem to get anything done, including trimming all the bushes overhanging the sidewalk. Maybe because he's friends with the owner? Who knows?

A true blight affecting the neighborhood for over 50 years. Trash in the yard, at least 5 junked cars on the property, etc...

Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 6, 2023 at 2:08 pm

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I am sorry that the neighbors had to endure this lengthy saga. Now that this construction is completed what do we see? This structure is sadly out of a science fiction movie or worse a cult’s lair.

Posted by HillbillyHeaven
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 6, 2023 at 3:57 pm

HillbillyHeaven is a registered user.

You're so right....right out of a science fiction movie. Or the illegitimate child of the Flintstone House off of 280.

Posted by Patrick
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 6, 2023 at 5:18 pm

Patrick is a registered user.

I always saw this as the sister house to 628 Maybell Ave, which similarly took forever to finish. I'm glad to see both finished after so many years.

Posted by mjh
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 6, 2023 at 5:27 pm

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The house wasn't lived in for a long time even before it was demolished, I think at least as far back as the early 1990's. Always a mystery as to why this dear little house was abandoned and left to the elements for so long.

Posted by AMRW
a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2023 at 9:19 pm

AMRW is a registered user.

Is nobody going to comment on how atrocious looking the house is and how is doesn't fit into the rest of the neighborhood? This is a mess.

Posted by marc665
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2023 at 10:01 am

marc665 is a registered user.

Not sure why this is such a big deal.

Isn't this in keeping with the "Palo Alto Way"? Taking forever to do some simple thing.

How long have people been asking for the lights at Town & Country to be fixed?


Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 7, 2023 at 12:18 pm

Brian is a registered user.

I agree that the house isn’t very attractive. However, it looks so much better than it has for the past 15 years that most people who live near it are probably sighing with relief. And there are plenty of houses in Palo Alto that don’t fit in with their neighborhoods. I guess that’s the price we pay to not live in a controlled development. And following the lead of others in this thread, I’ll bring up a different blighted property that is nearer to me. I’m thinking of the old Stanford Terrace Inn on Stanford Ave near ECR. It’s been closed for a few years, and the property has fallen into disrepair, at least the exterior. Does anyone know what’s going on?

I agree that Palo Alto has a problem making decisions about both simple and difficult issues. However, I take some issue with your example. I suspect that the two lights on Embarcadero at T&C have been adjusted several times. But they probably can’t do much with the light on ECR since it’s controlled by CalTrans. Anyway, I also believe that this is an issue that has no possible fix. There is just too much traffic in that area to make it work for everyone - or even a large fraction of the people who drive thru there.

Posted by Judith Richardson
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2023 at 5:42 pm

Judith Richardson is a registered user.

I walk Palo Alto on a daily basis. When I was young I ran Palo Alto on a daily basis. Yes the house construction on Mariposa has been an eyesore and neighborhood junk heap for far too long. But in last two years I have watched with great interest as this environmentally sound house went through the final stages of construction. My son and husband and I discussed the construction objectives with the designer and builder. On the spur of a moment as we asked our questions and noted that the building seemed almost complete, the owner gave us a tour. I also abhorred the years of neglect at the site and felt some outrage for the neighbors. From what I have been told the finishing touches will be completed in less than two weeks. I encourage the curious to drop by for a tour. Interesting and instructive. Judy Richardson

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2023 at 7:05 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Looks like a bloated bomb shelter.

Posted by densely
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 11, 2023 at 10:15 am

densely is a registered user.

The house's looks make a lot more sense now, with the top-heavy Prairie look that the bold fascias give it. I like some of the design details. Others are so goofy that I giggle at them every time I walk by. The wire-and-post fence that will look unfinished until it's completely hidden by the hedge (in five years or so). The glass sheets instead of railings, that won't distract from the building's lines as long as they're cleaned frequently. The slick marble paving that will be treacherous in the rain after a bit of moss grows on it. The front door is attractive. The glass blocks evoke styles from the 1930s through the 1960s.

Posted by Seer
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 8, 2023 at 6:05 pm

Seer is a registered user.

The house looks like a doctor's office, maybe dedicated to breast enhancement, and doing something that "has never been done before and that costs twice as much" isn't exactly moving the needle on new building methods. It's just sad.

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