By Meghan Hall
A residential project in Menlo Park has made a significant stride in its quest for entitlements. On Monday, the Menlo Park Planning Commission unanimously approved a 483-unit development pitched by Greystar, allowing the project to move forward. The approval comes just weeks after the City issued the project’s final environmental impact report for the project,
“We’re thrilled the Planning Commission unanimously approved Menlo Uptown’s 483 new homes and commercial space for an urgent care. The project evolved and benefited from extensive local community input and ultimately is a reflection of the City’s commitment to much needed housing,” said Andrew Morcos, senior director of development at Greystar.
The development has been dubbed “Menlo Uptown” and is located at 141 Jefferson Dr., 180 Constitution Dr. and 186 Constitution Dr. The project will redevelop about 4.83 acres of land which is currently home to three office and industrial buildings that total 110,356 square feet.
Overall, the project will include 471,986 square feet of total building space. 441 of the residential units will be rentals, while the remaining 42 units will be for-sale townhomes. 15 percent, or 73 of the units will also be designated as affordable.
In addition to the residential units, 2,940 will be designated specifically to the urgent care, which will be located in Building A. The urgent care will be operated by Ravenswood Family Health Network, a non-profit organization that provides medical services to residents of Belle HAven, East Palo Alto and other communities. The clinic will focus on walk-in patients with minor illnesses and injuries, according to public documents, along with X-Rays, imaging and pharmacy and lab services.
553 parking spaces, as well as 21,702 square feet of public open space as well as 65,250 square feet common and private open space, are planned.
The development is located between the Bayfront Expressway and Highway 101 in a more commercial neighborhood of Menlo Park. Nearby are a number of major companies such as Facebook, LifeMoves, Tusker Medical and Instagram, meaning that the development would bring housing to a previously commercial part of town.
At the end of the first quarter of 2021, multifamily fundamentals across the Bay Area were still fluctuating as a result of the pandemic. A report released by Kidder Mathews showed that the vacancy rate sat at 8.4 percent, up from 5.5 percent at the beginning of 2020. Average asking rents also decreased from $2,394 at the end of last year to $2,260 at the beginning of 2021.
However, on a more positive note, absorption is picking up again. 1,968 units were absorbed during Q1, while just 409 units were leased over the same period of time last year. Kidder Mathews reports that there are also currently about 23,275 units under construction across the Bay Area. Some of the largest projects nearing delivery include Stewart Village in Sunnyvale, which will add 944 units to market, and Innovation at Fremont, which will bring 728 units online.
Timing for the construction of Menlo Uptown is unclear. However, the Planning Commission is the final decision making body in Menlo Park, and with approvals now in hand, Greystar can finally proceed with the project.