By Meghan Hall
After several years in the entitlements process, Tarlton Properties has submitted updated plans for a new, five-story research and development. The updated proposal comes nearly two years after the Menlo Park Planning Commission asked the project team to better architecturally integrate the new building with an adjacent parking structure.
The project site is located at 1105-1165 O’Brien Drive. The development site consists of two parcels. On the first, which totals 2.44 acres, Tarlton intends to construct a 131,285 square foot building. The second parcel totals 1.68 acres and is where Tarlton will construct parking for the development. Currently, the properties are developed with several one-story warehouse and R&D buildings. The buildings would be demolished in order to make way for the new project.
The building is designed by DES Architects. The bottom floor of the building will include a cafe, bike storage, chemical storage and research and development space. The Top five floors will be allocated entirely to R&D area, project plans note. The building’s entrance would be located off of a pedestrian plaza at the front of the site. Additional community benefits are planned in exchange for increased height and floor area within the development.
The updated project appears to be larger than what was initially proposed back in 2018. Original project plans indicate that the building would have totaled 120,000 square feet. The square footage included a 14,000 square foot fitness center on the sixth level of the garage for Menlo Business Park employees, as well as an outdoor programmed amenity area with a badminton court, bocce ball courts, and landscaping and seating areas.
The design of the building–designed specifically for life science uses–will be contemporary and modern. The proposed parking structure was originally intended to be integrated into the western portion of the building and would extend from the north to the south beyond the main building facade.
Back in 2018, however, the Planning Commission was concerned about the size and scope of the parking garage, which was almost equal in scale to the proposed commercial building. Concerns ranged not just from aesthetics, but to traffic. Other Planning Commission members noted that the garage would create “too much” parking.
City Staff is currently reviewing the updated project proposal. The most updated plans for the project were submitted in May of this year. There are a number of steps, according to the City of Menlo Park’s website, that must be completed before construction can begin, including environmental review and use permit, a below market-rate housing agreement, and a lot merger. Timing for the remainder of the entitlements process, as well as potential build out, remain unclear.
The lot is located within the greater Menlo Business Park, which is home to a number of companies. Those with offices nearby include Facebook, who occupies four buildings in the area, as well as PacificBiosciences (PacBio), Personalis and AccuraGen Inc. CS Bio Sciences, another company, is working to develop another office building at 1075 O’Brien. The building is currently undergoing environmental review and is expected to total 100,000 square feet.
As of this writing, Tarlton Properties had not yet returned The Registry’s request for comment.