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Edgewood Plaza work to proceed despite violation

Original post made on Mar 5, 2013

A long-stalled effort to spruce up Palo Alto's dilapidated Edgewood Plaza shall go on, the City Council decided March 4, despite the developer's illegal demolition of a historical building at the plaza last fall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 4, 2013, 10:20 PM

Comments (18)

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Posted by jake
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 5, 2013 at 8:44 am

99% of the residents are looking forward for a new mall/store in the area. The rest is a history!

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 5, 2013 at 8:54 am

And just out of curiosity, what were holman, price and schmid's plan? Stop the redevelopment? Discuss it for another year? Really the developer did us a favor getting rid of the eyesore.
Holman should recused herself anyway-- she was behind the infamous" everything in palo alto is historic" land grab attempt a dozen years ago. She is in way over head in the council.
Time to move on and finish this project

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Posted by Developer is Brilliant
a resident of Ventura
on Mar 5, 2013 at 11:19 am

Personally, I think the developer knew exactly what he was doing, and he's brilliant. Remove an eyesore without permission, get a slap on the wrist, and FOR THE GREATER GOOD, build a better, more beautiful plaza because the eyesore is gone.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2013 at 11:52 am

I watched the Council discussion "live" on tv last night.
I think, on balance, that it is correct for the developer to be able to move ahead. That said, they are considering financial and other penalties to the developer. A mistake was made but it should be kept in context of the overall project and incredible need to remake that center.
It is an eyesore at a major entrance to the City of PA.It is disruptive to the neighborhood for WAY too long a period.
Overall, I am stunned and shaking my head at the length of time the City has and is putting this developer through for this minor project on a small plot of land.
At the same time it IS important to those of us in the neighborhood to get something operational and decent and new there. It's WAY overdue. I object to punitive delays at this point. Overview is a good thing but micro-managing is crazy even with the "error" or "violation" that occurred.
The Eichler historic angle was minor in my view at this center, in this case (as someone who previously has owned multiple Eichlers and likes the style). The center was an eyesore previously and I couldn't see the particular value of that building.

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Posted by Sheri
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2013 at 12:59 pm

"I think it is time something happened there," Kniss said.

This is how Alma Plaza became what it is now.

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Posted by 45 Year Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Newcomers don't realize that this used to be a vibrant little shopping area, with a good market, a hardware store, shoe store, restaurant, and other amenities. It was well kept up and attractive, unique, in fact. The fact that we're eager to have a market and a rejuvenated shopping area shouldn't mean that there's no penalty for breaking an agreement worked out with such difficulty and effort by both sides.

It's good that the project will continue on schedule, and also good that the Council hasn't ignored the violation the way some short-shighted people evidently would like it to.

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Posted by lazlo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Once again greed trumps history in Palo Alto. With 53% of Palo Alto residents registered as renters (2010 Gov't Census) it's no wonder those posting will favor anything that meets their current needs as they will have moved on long before this project is completed and will no doubt spread their precious wisdom boldly in the next community they decide to shelter in. Councilmembers such as Klein and Kniss will proudly congratulate themselves for assuring the developers that history has no place in Palo Alto. Perhaps local print media might want to investigate whether certain councilmembers gave the developer authorization without penalty to demolish the historic portion of this project, but, it is doubtful the media is willing to diminish their valuable cozy relationship with city council. What a pity.

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Posted by Kate
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Most Palo Altans are unaware that the majority of its residents are renters. Renters don't care about the city, long term. Now Palo Alto is beginning to have a majority of its homeowners, non US citizens.

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Posted by BobDole
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Shame on you Kate for your comment

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Posted by jake
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 5, 2013 at 8:46 pm

"Renters don't care about the city, long term."
You forget the city relies on the support of the renters to pass these measures/bonds in the past and possibly more in the future. The correct statement is "Renters don't care about the home owners"

"Now Palo Alto is beginning to have a majority of its homeowners, non US citizens."
If you think the majority of the renters in PA are US citizens, you're probably very wrong. Majority of them don't live in a house like you do,

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Posted by Build a bigger park
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 5, 2013 at 9:26 pm

To the people who are looking forward to a beautiful shopping center, I wonder how you know it will be a beautiful. Are most of the the houses being built around town beautiful? or the stores? Nope.
A tiny park has been designed. New Councilman Berman picked up on a neighbor's suggestion to enlarge the park by postponing the construction of 2 specific houses since the developer is postponing construction of 4 houses). Enlarging the park would be an appropriate public benefit which he owes, a real benefit, not just a token.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2013 at 10:26 pm

If you make him redesign the project (i.e., enlarge the park), then you end up delaying the project. Would it be fair to say that you're against any housing on the site?

The city approved the plan, you can't move the goalposts in the middle of the game. He committed a foul, so fine him as per city rules. You can't go around and make up new ways to penalize someone after the fact.

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 5, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Kate-- how is your ankylosimg spondylitis ? What do the CEOs of major corporations that you Met in Europe say?

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Posted by Build a bigger park
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 6, 2013 at 11:00 am

Crescent Park Dad, its a pity you didn't listen to the developer at the city council. HE SAID he was only going to build 6 of the 10 houses. The suggestion was that the land on two of those not built become part of the park.
How long would it take for computer-aided designers to enlarge a park? an hour? This is an easy fix and would be a real benefit for us.
Who is moving the goalposts? John Tze said he took responsibility for the demolition -whatever that means. He's so sad he broke the law.
The city council gave him permission to go ahead anyway, and the punishment for breaking the law will be a fine, sometime in the future. No wonder Jim Baer and others do whatever they want. They know no one will stop them, certainly not Larry Klein or Greg Scharff or Nancy Shepherd.
The grocery market construction is to continue uninterrupted.

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Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 6, 2013 at 11:05 am

I'm glad this project is continuing and I wish the building had been knocked down years ago. It would have eliminated having an embarrassing eyesore at one of the main entrances to Palo Alto for what, 8-10 years? We could have had a wonderful, community shopping center all this time.

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Posted by Matt M
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 13, 2013 at 11:36 am

It is unbelievable that people consider Edge-wood Plaza a historical landmark at this point. Downtown Palo Alto wouldn't exist if we were opposed to redeveloping out-dated buildings. This was never a beautiful project, it was just another 1950's commercial style development. Yes it has been around for a long period of time, but this new project is designed in the same tradition to keep that feel without making that entire city block look like an uninhabitable crack den.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2013 at 11:37 am

I am a Palo Alto homeowner living within .5 miles of the project and believe that the city council members opposed to allowing the project to proceed should be ashamed. Every local resident I spoke to surrounding the project was in favor of proceeding and were thrilled when the news broke of the redevelopment. I am glad they get to proceed and quite frankly believe that they did us a favor by tearing down a horrible eyesore.

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Plenty of PA renters have lived here for years--and, yes, plenty of them are Americans. It's extremely expensive to buy here in case you haven't noticed.

But, anyway, developer should be fined and the construction should continue because otherwise we have a large construction site just sitting there that does no one any good. Certainly, it doesn't do me any good as a local home owner. Having a place to shop and get coffee in walking distance will help, however.

And the old center may have been built by Eichler, but his strength as a developer wasn't in shopping centers.

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