When Sand Hill Property Co. received permission last year to overhaul Edgewood Plaza in Palo Alto, it was supposed to preserve and restore a pair of historic buildings as part of the project.
Instead, the developer demolished one of them without the city's say-so.
That blunder will likely cost Sand Hill significant time and money, according to a city staff report released this week.
On Monday night, the city council is expected to approve a series of corrective actions that include prohibiting the developer from moving forward with the housing component of its project until it produces a plan -- at its own expense -- that addresses the loss of the building.
Council members could go one step further and impose financial penalties for the unauthorized demolition.
"Of particular note, staff believes that deferral of the housing component of the project is a substantial penalty for the developer and provides significant leverage for the City to assure the project complies fully as it moves forward," the city staff report said.
"Nevertheless, the City Council may ultimately determine some additional penalty is required."
The 1950s-era Edgewood Plaza shopping center near Embarcadero Road and Channing Avenue was the brainchild of developer Joseph Eichler and architect A. Quincy Jones. Two of the three retail buildings on the site were deemed by the city to have historic significance.
Preservation and restoration of the historic buildings was one of several public benefits the city was supposed to receive in exchange for the "planned community" zoning Sand Hill needs to build 10 single-family homes on the site. The project also calls for a grocery store and a small public park.
For its part, Sand Hill is proposing to rebuild the demolished structure out of similar materials, according to the city staff report. The plan will have to pass muster with the city's Historic Resources Board, Architectural Review Board, and Planning and Transportation Commission before heading to the city council for final approval.
An analysis by the developer's historic consultant, Page & Turnbull, concluded the building was an unlikely candidate for restoration.
Much of the material used in the construction of the building "was not reparable, was not in good condition and would need to be replaced with new materials to match the material, configuration, character and finish of the original," J. Gordon Turnbull wrote in the analysis.
The analysis is the only explanation Sand Hill has offered of its decision to raze the building last fall.
The second building, meanwhile, appears to be in better condition, likely because it was not as heavily used. But the city council is being advised not to take any chances with its restoration.
"To ensure compliance throughout the entire construction process," the city staff report said, "staff recommends that the applicant also pay for a City-hired consultant to provide a historic peer review of the plans and construction site observation to ensure the project is implemented as required."
IF YOU GO
WHAT: The Palo Alto City Council is expected to approve a series of corrective actions related to Sand Hill Property Company's
of a historic building
at Edgewood Plaza.
WHEN: Monday, at 5:45 p.m.
WHERE: Council Chambers, City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.