Developer Chase Rapp wins approval for three buildings in Menlo Park

The proposed development at Santa Cruz Avenue and Merrill Street in Menlo Park. Photo provided by Prince Street Partners.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The Menlo Park Planning Commission has given the go-ahead to developer Chase Rapp to build three new buildings at the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Merrill Street, across the street from the Caltrain station.

The commission on Monday unanimously approved the proposal for 506 and 556 Santa Cruz Ave. and 1125 Merrill St. by Prince Street Partners, headed by Rapp, the son of longtime Palo Alto developer Roxy Rapp.

Fran Dehn, president of the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce, said the project will add to the “rejuvenation” of Menlo Park’s downtown and Santa Cruz Avenue.

Commissioner Camille Kennedy said the building is “fantastic.”

“What I find to be most important is the way in which you have seamlessly woven three buildings into one urban design,” Kennedy said.

The Santa Cruz Avenue portion of the project was designed by Redwood City architect Ken Hayes and the Merrill Street portion was designed by Palo Alto-based architecture firm Field Architecture.

Here is what the commission approved:

• 1125 Merrill — four stories, 6,469 total square feet. Offices on floors one and two. One apartment on the third floor and one on the fourth floor. Fourteen parking spaces are proposed.

• 506 Santa Cruz — four stories, 15,611 square feet. Retail, specifically a cafe, on the ground floor. Offices on floors two and three. Three apartments on the fourth floor. Underneath, two levels of parking with 94 spaces.

• 556 Santa Cruz — three stories, 11,041 square feet. Retail on the ground floor, offices on the second floor and four apartments on the third floor.

Rapp is proposing $2.5 million in improvements, such as repaving streets, replacing sidewalks and upgrading utilities.

The city’s low-income housing requirements require Rapp to either pay into a fund the city would use to build housing or provide housing. He’s chosen to build two low-income apartments as a part of the redevelopment of 1162-1170 El Camino Real.

Rapp owns the property and is planning to construct about 12 homes there. An application for that development has not been filed yet. If that project does not come to fruition, he will have to pay into the city’s housing fund.