Palo Alto City Council moves forward with new theatre and office complex

March 7, 2012, 2:02 a.m.

The Palo Alto City Council voted Monday to move forward on a plan proposed by John Arrillaga ’60 to build a new theatre and office complex next to the city’s transit center, agreeing in an 8-0 vote to spend $250,000 on design and environmental reviews.


The Council plans to use funds from the $2.25 million Stanford gave the city last year, earmarked for pedestrian and bicycling improvements, as compensation for the University’s Medical Center expansion project.


According to an article by the San Jose Mercury News, Deputy City Manager Steve Emslie said the money will go toward hiring an architect, urban designer and planner to work with the developer and ensure that the proposal will indeed improve bicycle and pedestrian conditions.


The proposed 60,000- to 80,000-square-foot theatre and multi-story office building, complete with a three-level underground garage, will replace the historic MacArthur Park Restaurant at 27 University Ave. on Stanford-owned land. The relocation spot for the restaurant has yet to be determined.


The restaurant carries a rich history, having once served as a hostess house for visiting families of World War I servicemen, according to a previous San Jose Mercury News article. Emslie noted that the proposed complex would add to the site’s significance.


“The importance of a site in this area is the link between the University and the city of Palo Alto,” Emslie said. “The area provides a direct link to the University Caltrain station, direct vehicular access and public visibility. The prominence of the site enables a theatre to be a community landmark while having a physical association with Stanford.”

 — Ileana Najarro

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