A university and a city partner to transform vacant car lots into vibrant mixed-use area

A long-awaited project moves closer to construction as Stanford University works with the city of Menlo Park, California to transform a key location into a vibrant mix of housing, offices and retail, with enhanced public amenities.

Plans to turn an 8.4-acre stretch of vacant car lots along El Camino Real in Menlo Park into a vibrant mix of housing, offices and retail with a strong “village character” are moving forward.

Known as Middle Plaza, the mixed-use project was proposed by Stanford. They recently submitted revised project plans to the City of Menlo Park.

The land parcels between 300 and 550 El Camino Real in Menlo Park have been a part of Stanford University’s history since 1885. Beginning in the 1960s the lots were developed for auto dealerships and though they’ve sat vacant for nearly a decade, the property leases didn’t expire until 2013.

With the City’s adoption of the El Camino Real-Downtown Specific Plan in 2012, the University has sought redevelopment of the land in a way that aligns with the overall vision for the area.

It’s been vacant a long time. Everyone is really looking forward to creating something new to benefit Stanford and the community,” said Steve Elliott, managing director of development for Stanford’s Real Estate Department.

Community engagement and feedback has been a cornerstone of the project’s evolution,” continued Elliott. “This project is envisioned as part of a future gateway into Menlo Park, and we have worked closely with the community and the city to ensure it has the right mix of features,” he said. “Our current plan includes more housing, fewer offices and an enhanced public space relative to earlier versions. The project size and design have also been refined to better reflect the community vision for this site.

Consisting of five buildings and anchored by a vibrant public space called Middle Plaza, the project also includes a pedestrian and bicycle rail crossing to be built in the future by the city at Middle Avenue and the Caltrain tracks.

Image credit: DES Architects + Engineers and the Dahlin Group Architecture

See full article by Lawrence McGuire in the Stanford News.

See DES website.

See Dahlin website.

See July 2016 The Registry article by Jacob Bourne announcing the project.

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