The 420,000-square-foot mixed-used development that Greenheart Land Co. has proposed in downtown Menlo Park near the Caltrain station would be one step closer to approval if the Menlo Park City Council approves the terms of a development agreement at its Tuesday, Sept. 13, meeting.
City staff is recommending that the council adopt the development terms negotiated by council members Peter Ohtaki and Catherine Carlton with Greenheart, and released by the city on Thursday night.
Under terms of the agreement, the developer would be required to provide 14 below-market-rate housing units, pay $2.1 million in cash to a public amenity fund, guarantee $83,700 in sales tax payment per year, and build a dog park.
The proposed development at El Camino Real and Oak Grove Avenue is at the "public benefit bonus" level, which allows additional development in exchange for public benefits.
Greenheart proposes to build two office buildings of up to 199,300 square feet of floor space; one residential building for 183 dwelling units; up to 29,000 square feet for "community-serving" uses, such as retail and personal service; and an underground parking garage and small surface lot for 1,000 parking spaces.
Mr. Ohtaki and Ms. Carlton were appointed by the council to negotiate with Greenheart.
The term sheet says, according to a staff report, that if the terms are approved, Greenheart Land Co. will:
● Give the city a $2.1 million cash contribution, which would be earmarked to be spent on a public amenity in the El Camino Real/downtown specific plan area, which includes El Camino from Watkins Avenue to the San Francisquito Creek and the city's downtown area and Civic Center.
● Designate 14 of the apartments for low-income tenants (three two-bedroom units, three large one-bedroom units, and eight small one-bedroom units). In addition, six small one-bedroom apartments would be designated for tenants whose income falls between the median and "moderate" income levels. Under the city's below-market-rate ordinance, the developer would be required to fund only 10 units for low-income tenants. In San Mateo County, the income threshold for low-income is no more than $98,500 for a family of four. A family of four qualifies for median or moderate-income housing if the income is between $107,700 and $129,250.
● Build a fenced dog park where Greenheart had previously planned to put a bocce court.
● Guarantee that the retail space in the development would generate at least $83,700 in sales tax revenue per year for the city, or about $4.50 per square foot, beginning two years after the project is built.
● Market the office space for startup-friendly uses, such as incubators, accelerators and co-working locations, unless the space is rented to just one tenant.
In exchange, the city will:
● Not make Greenheart pay new impact fees or in-kind requirements, such as the housing impact fees the city is considering, for three years, with the chance of two annual extensions. The city can still increase the impact fees already in place, however.
● Allow the conditions in the first building permit to apply to other permits planned for different phases of the project's construction.
The terms of the agreement would last for 10 years, while the below-market-rate apartments would be held to a 55-year agreement with the city.