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Agenda Item F1: 1162 El Camino/ Save Feldman's Books

From: domainremoved <Carol>
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2019 21:24:25 -0700

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To Menlo Park Planning Commissioners and Menlo Park City Council Members:

I write as a real estate attorney and broker in San Francisco and Oakland, with experience in both urban development and litigation, and as a South Bay native from Los Gatos.

A prefabricated apartment complex to replace an historic building and its iconic bookstore? A bad idea.

As Planning Commissioners and Council Members, you are entrusted with balancing the quality of your community with the legitimate needs of individual property owners seeking investment returns. In the case of the proposed development at 1162 and 1170 El Camino Real, I believe that preserving the historic building (at 1170) with its iconic bookstore would serve the greater community good while at the same time increasing the property value for its investors.

Community character matters. Real property increases in value when its uniqueness becomes a landmark and a destination. As with people, character in a property develops over time, accumulating layers of meaning through significant and shared experiences. The character inherent in a historic property cannot be reconstructed by new bricks and mortar. Its attraction lies in the layers of meaning and human connection it has acquired over time-in this case, since 1900, as a laundry, a home to its owners and in recent years, as a bookstore.

Once a common fixture in every downtown, bookstores are now rare and endangered, but as such, they are also vital attractions for city visitors: consider City Lights Books in San Francisco, Moe’s Books in Berkeley and Bell’s Books in Palo Alto.
For me as a long time customer of Feldman’s Books, I gladly drive miles to immerse myself in the warmth of the dusty volumes, savoring the respite from daily travails in the community of books and book lovers found at Feldman’s. Both the building and its bookstore business are unique, iconic and irreplaceable. While drawn to this special place in Menlo Park, I also visit other local attractions like the Sunday farmers’ market and restaurants.

Through the accumulation of special experiences like mine, the Menlo Park community acquires unique value, and its properties do the same. Nestled as it is in the heart of the global technology capital, Menlo Park’s old world character attracts people to participate in its quiet respite from machine learning and artificial intelligence, in its places like Feldman’s Books, where the human experience trumps the artificial.

Planners and Council Members, please preserve your unique treasure in 1170 El Camino and its Feldman’s Books, and reject the demolition request.
Mr. Chase Rapp and Prince Street Partners, please recognize the true value of your property, and preserve the building and bookstore, and allow them to accumulate enhanced value over time, and withdraw your demolition request.

Thank you.

Carol Urzi

Please include my email in the public record regarding 1162 -1170 El Camino Real, Menlo Park.

Carol J. Urzi
Attorney at Law
2625 Alcatraz Ave. #366
Berkeley CA 94705
CELL 510-914-7449
Received on Sun Oct 20 2019 - 21:17:26 PDT

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