Widgets Magazine

Stanford revises plans to renovate plaza in Menlo Park

(Courtesy of Stanford University Real Estate)

(Courtesy of Stanford University Real Estate)

On Monday, Sept. 28, Stanford submitted its revised plans for Middle Plaza at 500 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. The proposal has been changed in order to incorporate a driveway and enlarge the plaza space as well as to include a different architectural design. The new plan also decreases the amount of room for commercial offices and provides space for rental housing units and retail.

Stanford has owned the land containing Middle Plaza since 1885, and companies with long-term commercial leases, including multiple auto dealerships, occupied the area until 2013. The University has been working with the City of Menlo Park on plans to redevelop the land since 2007.

Steve Elliott, Stanford’s managing director for development with Land, Buildings & Real Estate, said in a Stanford News article that the original plans were altered due to feedback from the community in Menlo Park.

Last May, Stanford held two open houses for residents of the Middle Plaza community, and attendees had the opportunity to provide critiques and suggestions on the original proposal for the Middle Plaza area. Many of those suggestions reflected residents’ desires for a larger public plaza space.

“Residents who participated in the Middle Plaza open house overwhelmingly endorsed the idea of a significantly expanded public plaza that could serve the community as an asset and vibrant gathering place,” Elliott said.

Attendees of the open houses also gave feedback on Stanford’s plans regarding the types of buildings that they wanted Middle Plaza to house.

“Beyond the plaza, residents also made it clear that they want to see more restaurants featuring a diversity of cuisines, more open space and rental housing to support the city’s growth,” Elliott said. “The community spoke; we listened, and we’re excited to introduce new designs for the Middle Plaza Project.”

As a way of continuing to receive feedback from the Menlo Park community, Stanford is planning to hold two more open houses in the upcoming months, where residents can view the most up-to-date proposal and share their comments and reactions.

The first open house will take place on Thursday, Nov. 5 between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., and the second will take place on Saturday, Nov. 7 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Both will be hosted at Encinal Elementary School.

Elliott hopes that the upcoming open houses will offer more opportunities for residents of the Middle Plaza area to provide feedback about the new, revised plans.

“We look forward to further engaging the public in this collaborative process to develop a project with a design and vision supported by the community and that will benefit the city and Stanford,” Elliott said.


Contact Sarah Wishingrad at swishing ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Sarah Wishingrad

Sarah Wishingrad '18 is a former Desk Editor for the University/Local beat. She is a History major from Los Angeles, California who loves politics, the waffles at Coupa, and all things Jane Austen. Ask her about her dog, Hamilton, at swishing 'at' stanford.edu.