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Stanford, city of Palo Alto announce offer to provide new athletic fields, housing

Stanford President John Hennessy and Palo Alto Vice Mayor Bern Beecham today announced an offer that will address Palo Alto's needs for more playing fields and more housing units.

Stanford has submitted an offer letter to Palo Alto officials that revises a previous agreement reached in 2000 on the Mayfield site, a 6-acre property at the corner of El Camino Real and Page Mill Road.

"Stanford is pleased that its offer will meet current community needs. We have structured this arrangement as a collaborative venture that is beneficial to both sides. It is in this spirit that we present this revised Mayfield offer to the city of Palo Alto for its consideration," said Hennessy.

The Mayfield property originally was offered to Palo Alto in 2000 to relocate the Jewish Community Center (JCC), which was losing its home at the old Terman Middle School. While the agreement was under discussion, the JCC purchased a property on San Antonio Road.

The Palo Alto City Council's Stanford Liaison Committee asked the university to consider revising its offer in order to deal with the need for more athletic fields and housing. Liaison Committee members are Vice Mayor Bern Beecham and council members Yoriko Kishimoto and Vic Ojakian. Based on these discussions, Palo Alto's City Manager Frank Benest has been meeting with Stanford officials to draft an appropriate offer.

The need for more playing fields has recently been reaffirmed by a report to the city council from the Athletic Fields Committee.

Stanford proposes to lease the Mayfield site to the city for 51 years, at $1 per year, and construct for the community an athletic fields complex on the site. The complex would include two lighted competition soccer fields, a practice field, restrooms, and a storage facility, plus parking and landscaping. Once constructed, the complex would be turned over to the city. In exchange for providing the Mayfield site and building the complex, Stanford would receive the right to construct 100,000 square feet of commercial development within the South Research Park.

Stanford also guarantees the construction of 250 units of housing, including an estimated 50 below-market-rate units, on currently developed commercial property once those leases expire, beginning in 2013. In exchange for building the housing, Stanford can build no more than 200,000 sq. ft. of the total 300,000 sq. ft. of the displaced commercial development in the South Research Park.

According to Beecham, "Stanford's generous offer provides the opportunity to address one of Palo Alto's biggest challenges ­ creating more playing fields for our children in a built-out community. Recognizing the city's budget problems, Stanford's proposal comes at an opportune time."


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