Eichler Center to Be Rebuilt

Ten-year battle, compromise help to keep alive much of Palo Alto’s Edgewood Plaza

Joe Eichler’s only shopping center, in Palo Alto, is getting a facelift that will restore some portions of the center, alter others, and add ten two-story homes. Construction is expected to start in summer or fall 2012, Palo Alto senior planner Elena Lee said.

The Edgewood Plaza project, hard fought for more than a decade, has won approval from the Palo Alto City Council. The plaza, located on Embarcadero Road near Highway 101, was designed by A. Quincy Jones in 1956 but has long been dilapidated.

John Tze, of developer Sand Hill Property Co., says neighbors will welcome the rebuilt center and its anchor tenant, Fresh Market.

Opponents of the original plan to rip down the center, many of whom live in nearby Eichler homes, won concessions in a court battle that ensured enforcement of Eichler covenants and restrictions (CC&R’s). An earlier plan had called for 24 homes plus condos or apartments.

The development, according to the announced plan, will restore the modern look of the buildings, which pleases some Eichler fans, who also appreciate that the new homes will be of modern design. But many believe that moving one of the three retail buildings will harm the center’s integrity.

The project does not affect one important structure on the site, Eichler Homes’ office, a stand-alone building that is now the Maharishi Enlightenment Center.

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