Urban Fold

Developer Demands Doubling Height For Supermarket Deal

East Palo Alto may be one of the few U.S cities of 30,000 residents lacking a supermarket. Now this 23-year-old city is close to getting one on a 6-acre vacant lot, but increased land costs forced the new developer to renegotiate the prior plan.

"At a recent community meeting, Barry Swenson, the San Jose mega-developer that bought the six-acre lot last summer, made it known that a taller building will make a supermarket more likely. Architects said 10 to 12 stories with close to 200 for-sale units is ideal."

"Swenson's plans double the density and height proposed last year in a different supermarket plan by the site's former developer. That deal crashed when the landowner, who wanted $8 million within 60 days, backed out and sold to Swenson. Ryan said Thursday that Swenson paid $6 million for the land."

"Plans for a high-rise building in the middle of East Palo Alto are alarming to many residents, said Council Member Pat Foster, and will likely meet resistance from the community and the City Council."

"There are some benefits to a taller and bigger project. More units mean more affordable housing."

"But for East Palo Alto's 30,000 residents, the biggest issue is a local store that carries fresh produce and meat."

Full Story: Developer envisions 10-story complex

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