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Graduate students to present University Ave. project ideas

On Jan. 23, Stanford graduate students working with John Barton, director of Stanford’s Architecture Program, will present new concepts for a “21st Century Research Park” located at 27 University Avenue.

The site—adjacent to the Caltrain station and currently occupied by the MacArthur Park restaurant—has been under consideration for development and a source of controversy for residents since late 2012.

Barton and Palo Alto City Manager James Keene stress that the graduate student project—which began in October—not linked to the city’s decision-making on the future of the site but that their presentation at City Hall this week will serve as an intellectual exercise as further steps are taken.

In early February, Keene and his staff will announce their own ideas for the 4.3-acre plot at 27 University, and the future of the city itself, as part of their Our Palo Alto plan.

Critics of previous development plans for the site are worried about the possibility of raising the current 50-foot building height limit for proposed office buildings, and that doing so would be an eyesore not fitting with Palo Alto’s building style. There is also worry that residents have not been given enough say in the development proposal, which was proposed by Stanford donor John Arrillaga ‘60.