University Circle Phase II Approved: Details and next steps

Dear East Palo Alto Community,

On Tuesday, May 3, the East Palo Alto City Council approved the University Circle Phase II project which will result in a new 180,000 square foot office building with a public meeting room and outdoor plaza. We are thrilled with this result having worked toward this since 2015. Thank you to the East Palo Alto community for engaging with us, and providing us insights into the history of the site and how we could make University Circle a true part of the neighborhood and the community.

Throughout our outreach going all the way back to 2015, the community shared with us its thoughts about University Circle, the history of the site, and what people in East Palo Alto, and especially on the westside, need or want.  

Here is what we heard and what we are doing now or in the future when our new building opens:

University Circle needs to be more a part of the community—to be welcoming, recognize the history, and not feel like a fortress.

o  Numerous community events are held at University Circle;

o  Added murals on Manhattan Avenue reflecting the people, the history, and the many cultures of East Palo Alto and the westside; More public art coming associated with the new office building;

o  Upgraded the circle to be a welcoming gathering place;

o  New access points and pathways to and through University Circle are part of our new project;

o  We gave land to the City of EPA to help with the pedestrian overpass at University Avenue over 101 and paying for lighting for the bridge.

A free community meeting space on the westside is needed.

o  A 3,000-square-foot community meeting space and outdoor public plaza are part of our new building.

There is a parking shortage in the neighborhood; Can University Circle offer some of its parking to the community?

o  Launched an overnight parking program at University Circle for our neighbors.

Not enough retail/restaurants on the westside.

o  Post-COVID, University Circle will again host a weekly Farmer's Market with local, sustainable produce + Food Trucks. Also upgrading onsite food/beverage operator where neighbors will be welcome.

We want jobs for our community and for University Circle and its tenants to think of East Palo Alto residents first.  

o  EPA residents are our first priority when we hire people for the University Circle management team and our onsite service providers;

o  We are providing funding to help East Palo Alto residents connect with available jobs and also to be trained for jobs in the companies that lease office space from us;

o  Providing funding to build out planned business incubator space in EPA.

Ensure that University Circle operates in a sustainable fashion.

o  Our new building will be built to LEED Platinum standards;

o  University Circle will retrofit all existing buildings with new water-saving and wastewater features, resulting in no net new water consumption or wastewater discharge, even after the new building is added;

o  Adding EV charging stations not just for our tenants but for the community as well;

o  Providing funding for more trees in EPA.

Do something about the traffic in the neighborhood

o  We will continuously improve our commute alternatives programs, and we welcome EPA residents to use our shuttles when they return to operation as the pandemic eases up;

o  We are dedicating land to widen Woodland Avenue at University Avenue and add a new left-turn lane onto University Avenue to improve traffic flow.

What’s next regarding the new building?

It’s going to take the rest of this year and all of 2023 to plan for construction of the new underground garage and new office building to begin in early 2024. As the time draws nearer, we will be back in touch with our neighbors about what to expect and how to communicate with us. Meanwhile, we will continue to maintain our website, www.ecphase2.com, where we will post updates and can respond to your questions.

*****

University Circle is here to stay, and we are excited to be here in East Palo Alto. We look forward to continuing to be a resource and a collaborator to support the community that we call home.

Thank you.

Michelle L. Goudeaux, University Circle General Manager

and the University Circle Team

City Council Public Hearing, University Circle Phase II, May 3

Dear East Palo Alto Community,

It was confirmed today that the East Palo Alto City Council will hold a public hearing on the University Circle Phase II project at

6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3 via Zoom. To join the call, please visit this link: http://eastpaloalto.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx

The purpose of this meeting is for the East Palo Alto City Council to review and certify the Final Environmental Impact Report and approve permits that constitute approval to construct a new six-story, approximately 180,000 square-foot office building with community room, below-grade and surface parking, landscaping, and associated improvements at University Circle at 1900-2050 University Avenue. This is the final opportunity for public input on the project.

To review the Environmental Impact Report and University Circle Phase II project information, visit:

https://www.cityofepa.org/planning/project/university-circle-phase-ii

If you wish to comment in writing or by phone in advance of the public hearing: Contact Kelly Beggs, City of East Palo Alto by mail, 1960 Tate Street, East Palo Alto, CA 94303, phone (628) 222-5985, or email kbeggs@cityofepa.org. Meeting accommodations for persons with disabilities can be requested up to 24 hours in advance of the meeting by calling the City Clerk’s office, (650) 853-3127.








University Circle Phase 2: Planning Commission hearing moved to April 4

Planning Commission Public Hearing re University Circle Phase II, April 4


East Palo Alto

Planning Commission Public Hearing 

University Circle Phase II Project  

RESCHEDULED to Monday, April 4, 2022

7:00 p.m. via Zoom

http://eastpaloalto.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx.

The purpose of this meeting is for the East Palo Alto Planning Commission to recommend that the East Palo Alto City Council certify the Final Environmental Impact Report and approve permits that constitute approval of the project.

 Where to Review the FEIR and the University Circle Phase II project information

·     City of East Palo Alto Planning Division at 1960 Tate Street, East Palo Alto, CA 94303

·     East Palo Alto Library at 2415 University Ave, East Palo Alto, CA 94303

·     Online at: https://www.cityofepa.org/planning/project/university-circle-phase-ii.

How to Comment on the FEIR and the Project

·     If you wish to comment in writing or by phone in advance of the public hearing: Contact Kelly Beggs, City of East Palo Alto by mail, 1960 Tate Street, East Palo Alto, CA 94303, phone (628-222-5985, or email universitycircleproject@cityofepa.org. Include “University Circle Phase II” in the subject line.


Planning Commission Public Hearing re University Circle Phase II, March 28

East Palo Alto

Planning Commission Public Hearing 

University Circle Phase II Project  

Monday, March 28, 2022

7:00 p.m. via Zoom

http://eastpaloalto.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx.

The purpose of this meeting is for the East Palo Alto Planning Commission to recommend that the East Palo Alto City Council certify the Final Environmental Impact Report and approve permits that constitute approval of the project.

 Where to Review the FEIR and the University Circle Phase II project information

·     City of East Palo Alto Planning Division at 1960 Tate Street, East Palo Alto, CA 94303

·     East Palo Alto Library at 2415 University Ave, East Palo Alto, CA 94303

·     Online at: https://www.cityofepa.org/planning/project/university-circle-phase-ii.

How to Comment on the FEIR and the Project

·     If you wish to comment in writing or by phone in advance of the public hearing: Contact Kelly Beggs, City of East Palo Alto by mail, 1960 Tate Street, East Palo Alto, CA 94303, phone (628-222-5985, or email universitycircleproject@cityofepa.org. Include “University Circle Phase II” in the subject line.

Join our Community Meeting on March 17!

COMMUNITY MEETING: University Circle Phase II Project

Learn about the proposed Phase II of the University Circle office campus!

Thursday, March 17, 2022; 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

We are encouraging people to come early to hear the presentation in full without having to wait. We will repeat the presentation if people show up later.

The agenda for this meeting will be for the University Circle team to present the project and then take community input and answer questions. We are nearing the end of the process, and this will be the last chance to review and provide input to the project outside of the formal hearings coming soon. We welcome the community to join us.

Join the meeting on Zoom from PC, Mac, iOS or Android: https://cxp.zoom.us/j/89043668643

Or join by phone:+1 669 900 6833 (US Toll) or +1 346 248 7799 (US Toll) Meeting ID: 890 4366 8643

Spanish translation will be available.

Look at what's happening on Manhattan Avenue!

Dear Neighbors,

During our outreach about our proposed new building, we heard that University Circle feels like a fortress. While the building project itself will improve on that situation with a new set of stairs and a ramp from Manhattan right into the University Circle campus, an upgraded bus stop with a weather shelter, and improved landscaping, we wanted to do something meaningful even sooner.

Thank you for your feedback on our public art project on Manhattan Avenue. Some of you submitted ideas after receiving our mailing last summer. Others visited us at the community event at University Circle in August and made suggestions or drew ideas on our giant paper. Since then, placemaking artist Scape Martinez has been creating designs to be painted on walls and fixtures on the University Circle property along Manhattan Avenue reflecting community input and the cultural diversity of the westside and East Palo Alto as a whole. We have included some photos of the progress and Scape in action, plus a rendering of the whole plan. We are excited to see this taking shape and we hope you are too!

Update on University Circle Phase II

We have appreciated hearing everyone’s thoughts and ideas on the project. The comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) ended on December 20, 2021, and now the City of East Palo Alto team is working to respond to public comments. They hope to release the Final EIR in March 2022.

Public hearings with the Planning Commission and City Council on the EIR and the project are anticipated in early spring 2022. We plan to host another community meeting before the final public hearings. Stay tuned for an update on that.

Thank you again for participating and sharing your input and questions. We’ll follow up with more updates as soon as we can. In the meantime, please visit our Feedback section to continue the dialogue!



Draft Environmental Impact Report: Comment until 5:00 p.m December 20

Draft Environmental Impact Report Available NOW for public review + comment

Reminder: The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the University Circle Phase II project is available for public review and comment now through 5:00 p.m. on December 20, 2021.

Where to view the document:

  • Visit https://www.cityofepa.org/planning/project/university-circle-phase-ii.
  • Physical copies are available at City of EPA Planning Division, 1960 Tate Street, EPA, and the Library at 2415 University Avenue, EPA. There is also a copy on the Westside in the "little library" at the corner of Euclid and O'Connor.

How to comment:

  • Send comments to Kelly Beggs, City of East Palo Alto, 1960 Tate Street, East Palo Alto, CA 94303 or universitycircleproject@cityofepa.org. Must include “University Circle Phase II” in the subject line.
  • You may also comment at a virtual public hearing with the EPA Planning Commission on Monday, November 29 at 7:00 p.m. http://eastpaloalto.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx.

Comments on the DEIR will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 20, 2021.

What is an EIR?

The California Environmental Quality Act known as CEQA, requires government decision-makers to study the potential environmental effects of proposed developments, identify ways impacts can be avoided or significantly reduced, and seek public input on the environmental studies. The public is invited to review the draft document and provide comments or questions. These will be addressed in the Final EIR, which must be certified by the East Palo Alto City Council.


Draft Environmental Impact Report Available NOW for public review + comment

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the University Circle Phase II project is available for public review and comment now through 5:00 p.m. on December 20, 2021.

Where to view the document:

  • Visit https://www.cityofepa.org/planning/project/university-circle-phase-ii.
  • Physical copies are available at City of EPA Planning Division, 1960 Tate Street, EPA, and the Library at 2415 University Avenue, EPA.

How to comment:

  • Send comments to Kelly Beggs, City of East Palo Alto, 1960 Tate Street, East Palo Alto, CA 94303 or universitycircleproject@cityofepa.org. Must include “University Circle Phase II” in the subject line.
  • You may also comment at a virtual public hearing with the EPA Planning Commission on Monday, November 29 at 7:00 p.m. http://eastpaloalto.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx.

Comments on the DEIR will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 20, 2021.

What is an EIR?

The California Environmental Quality Act known as CEQA, requires government decision-makers to study the potential environmental effects of proposed developments, identify ways impacts can be avoided or significantly reduced, and seek public input on the environmental studies. The public is invited to review the draft document and provide comments or questions. These will be addressed in the Final EIR, which must be certified by the East Palo Alto City Council.

Offstreet Community Parking at University Circle!

Westside neighbors, we heard you! Many people have told us that parking can be difficult to find in the neighborhood. University Circle wants to help, so we are making off-street overnight parking at University Circle available for $100/month. To find out the details and to sign up, please email universitycircle@columbia.reit, or call 650-324-2222.

This website now available in 6 languages

Hello East Palo Alto Community,

University Circle values the rich diversity of our neighborhood. To make this website more accessible to the community, it is now available in Chinese, English, Fijian, Samoan, Spanish, and Tongan.

As announced a few weeks ago, we’ve added some new questions to refine our understanding of how you would like to use the community space in the proposed project.

Click through these new topics in our Feedback section and post your input and questions to help us improve our project. We look forward to hearing from you.

Let's continue the conversation! New questions!

Thank you to everyone who has commented so far! We have had lots of ideas about our 3,000 square foot community space and good suggestions about public art, bike and pedestrian improvements, and more. We’ve appreciated all your feedback and it’s helped us get a better understanding of interest in the project and how it can benefit the community.

To continue the dialogue, we’ve added some new questions to refine our understanding of how you would like to use the community space in the proposed project.

Click through these new topics in our Feedback section and post your ideas to help us improve our project. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Neighborhood Block Party, Saturday, August 14, 2-5 at University Circle

Hello Neighbors,

Please join us on Saturday, August 14 from 2-5 pm at University Circle for a Neighborhood Block Party! Fun for the whole family!

Free "all you can eat" taco truck, annual back to school backpack giveaway provided by Live in Peace, musical entertainment, and an opportunity to provide your ideas for our Manhattan Avenue public are project. See you Saturday!

The University Circle Team




Welcome to the University Circle outreach site!

Thanks for visiting our new website! The purpose of this platform is to provide you with information on the University Circle development and to collect all your feedback.

Please make yourself at home! Poke around to see what your neighbors are discussing and be sure to comment with your own ideas. Also hit that ‘Subscribe’ button to stay in-the-loop on all project updates. 

Everything posted here is sent straight to us at the project team. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!