Stanford Seeks to Develop Investment Property in Unincorporated San Mateo County

Stanford University Menlo Park LAFCo San Mateo County Hewlett Foundation Meyer-Buck Stanford Hills Park Sharon Heights Shopping Center

By Jacob Bourne

Stanford University owns a 14.2-acre wooded and partially landscaped parcel in what’s currently a small unincorporated portion of San Mateo County at 2111 and 2121 Sand Hill Road. Existing structures on the property are the Meyer-Buck residence, which houses the University’s Provost and a Hewlett Foundation office building adjacent to a PG&E easement and 2.6-acres of undeveloped land. The proposal is to retain the existing buildings and add a 39,800 square foot office building in the vacant portion. The plan would otherwise be a straightforward entitlement process, but is made more complicated by County zoning restrictions, requiring annexation by the City of Menlo Park in order to proceed.

“The County’s current zoning allows for residential and also allows for uses by nonprofit organizations,” explained Tom Smith, associate planner, Menlo Park. “Part of the drive for annexation is to zone for commercial; the project is for purely office use. We’re actively doing pre-zoning of the properties. LAFCo would actually grant the annexation once we’re complete.”

A public comment period for the recently released Mitigated Negative Declaration for CEQA ends on April 24. A planning review of the architectural drawings is underway followed by a Planning Commission hearing tentatively scheduled for May 8. Because the annexation will require a General Plan amendment for a Low Density Residential and Professional Administrative Offices designation, the project also requires approval from City Council. A Council hearing is tentatively scheduled for June 6. The San Mateo County LAFCo Board would give final approval for the annexation sometime during the summer.

“It’s a vacant portion that Stanford has had for some time,” offered John Donahoe, associate director of development, Stanford. “Now with property values doing quite well, the timing was right. If all goes as planned it should be an attractive property to potential tenants. We could be breaking ground early next year with a two year build-out schedule.”

The site is just east of Stanford Hills Park and across from the Sharon Heights Shopping Center. Single family homes are also in the vicinity within the Stanford Hills neighborhood. The office building itself will be two floors with two levels of below grade parking as well as some surface parking spots. The proposed office building will mimic the architectural style of the adjacent structure, which the Hewlett Foundation built in 2002 through a long-term ground lease from Stanford.

“It’s going to be an investment property like the others on Sand Hill Road,” said Steve Elliott, managing director of development, Stanford Real Estate. “Tenants will be private equity, venture capital, and other financial firms that are typical for Sand Hill Road. It will be designed to accommodate multiple tenants, but there are typically single tenants on Sand Hill Road, so it’s just going to depend on the market. It’s a pretty typical Sand Hill Road building. We’ll be planting a lot of mature trees along the back of the project to shield the adjacent residence.”

A project architect is yet to be determined, however Archi Render Architects and Sandis Civil Engineers provided the current drawings.

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