Palo Alto: Board OKs ‘working cafe’ for Varsity Theater
|By Jason Green, Palo Alto Daily News, Calif.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
On Wednesday, the board voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the so-called HanaHaus project to the city's director of planning.
The brainchild of SAP Chairman
Shirole likened HanaHaus to
<p>"The primary objective of HanaHaus is to make it a public working café," he said. "It will be open to all. We will provide a unique combination of services that offer benefits to café patrons who come in."
SAP, which has offices in
The plans call for relatively minor modifications to the exterior and interior of the historic building at
"We are looking to maintain a soft touch to the entire building," added Shirole.
Built in 1927, the
Other projects have been proposed at the site, including a restaurant, which would have required a cover for the courtyard, as well as a large kitchen. Board Member Beth Bunnenberg called the latest plans a "superior product."
"It seems to me that this looks like a proposal I can support," she said.
The board, while enthusiastic about the project, had a handful of concerns. The biggest of them was an exterior blade sign for
"I understand why the coffee house wants to have somebody be able to see that they're there as they're walking, but we've had a number of projects come before the board that want to adorn historic facades and that's not really consistent with the Secretary of Interior standards," said Board Member David Bower. "I'd like to keep that façade as untouched as possible."
Bower asked Shirole to investigate other options such as putting the
"I look at the interior drawings of the seating and everything and it sort of looks like the inside of the SAP office building," he said. "To me it doesn't seem to reflect the historical feel of the structure."
A member of the project team said the outdoor seating was selected for its ease of removal for special events.
Shirole, a 17-year resident of
"I would not be part of a project that does anything that takes away from
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