Two large developments proposed for East Palo Alto

Daily Post Staff Writer

After years of lagging behind the rest of the Peninsula’s building boom because of a water shortage, two large projects in East Palo Alto are steadily moving forward, and one proposal includes a request to shift a Highway 101 on-ramp, planning documents show.

Dr. Priscilla Chan, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s wife, is proposing to build a school at 1200 Weeks St., and The Sobrato Organization is proposing an eight-story office building at 2111 University Ave., right behind a Chevron gas station.

Donohoe Street project

For the University project, Sobrato is requesting to shift the 101 on-ramp located along Donohoe Street 30 feet east, away from Euclid Avenue, so it will line up with the project’s driveway.

Sobrato plans to build 231,883 square feet of office space just behind the Chevron, as well as a five-story parking garage with 773 parking spaces beside the station. The project is expected to add 1,701 new trips to the building, according to a recently released draft environmental impact report. Sobrato’s tenant for the project is unknown, but it is the landlord of Amazon at 2100 University Ave.

Road widening

As part of attempts to reduce the traffic impact of the project, the environmental report says Sobrato will have to fund the widening of Donohoe between Euclid and Cooley. Chan, meanwhile, has proposed developing the 3.5-acre Weeks Street site into a school for 511 students of preschool, elementary and middle school age, according to a report from Planning Manager Guido Persicone.

The Primary School

The Primary School opened in 2016, and has been operating out of portables across the street from the Ravenswood Family Health Center at 1885 Bay Road. On Monday, the city’s Planning Commission will be reviewing the draft environmental impact report for the school.

The environmental impact report recommends that the school pay for new stoplights along Clarke Avenue and Bay Road. Both projects are expected to come before the City Council for approval next year.

Sobrato, school buy water

Sobrato and The Primary School, along with the developer of an office project at 2020 Bay Road, paid $1.53 million to help the city buy some of Mountain View’s water supply.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative also pitched in $2 million for the purchase, and Sobrato lent the city $1 million toward the transfer.

Due to the city’s water shortage, East Palo Alto had placed a ban on new development in June 2016, putting The Primary School and a low-income housing project on hold.

However, because the city bought some one million gallons of water a day from Mountain View and received 500,000 gallons of water a day from Palo Alto, and the moratorium lapsed, new projects can be submitted to the city.


  1. The opening sentence of your article
    “After years of lagging behind the rest of the Peninsula’s building boom because of a water shortage” is a legitimate a reason for lagging. I wouldn’t even call it lagging, I’d call it can’t build because there’s not enough water.

    Traffic is a minor problem compared to not enough water for septic tanks. Zoning is a minor problem compared to not enough water to mop the floor. Without diligence there’s going to be negligence just at look at the sinking Millineum Tower. East Palo Alto can lag in the development while the Millineum Tower sags because of gravity.

    Logically it would be two questions. Do we have enough land? Do we have enough water? Without water nobody can develop. Development is a euphemism for gentrification. We seen gentrification in East Palo Alto disguised as development. East Palo Alto has not lagged so I beg the differ. In less than 20 years there has been an IKea, Four Seasons, Starbucks, new housing and Amazon.
    We got lawfirms, a clinic called Ravenswood and Nordstrom Rack. There’s even two McDonalds. Doesn’t seem like lagging to me, if anything they’re building too fast. These proposals are contingent and can still be rejected by the City of East Palo Alto. If Developers pay for water supply to a city that doesn’t have enough water what kind of reply does a city make after somebody pays $1.53 million to bring to a city? The city has to have zoning laws and ordinances for a developer to comply. The city has employees to inspect and rules to regulate what a developer develops. Somebody will pay for the water just to build in a city that doesn’t have enough water for them. Is that what’s going on?

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