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10-Year Itch

10-Year Itch
After 10 years of navigating through city red tape, Hohbach Realty CEO Harold Hohbach has received approval for his Park Plaza project. It took an assist from Sideman & Bancroft attorney James Janz and all 90 years of Harold's life experience. It's 82 housing units on top of 48k SF of R&D in Palo Alto.
10-Year Itch
Harold and Hoover Associates architect Richard Campbell look at an early model of Park Plaza. Harold, a patent lawyer for 50 years, tells us he kept pushing for the project, even at his age, because "I've worked hard all my life.” A few blocks away, he's developing another project—The Birch Plaza—which will have eight townhouses and 10k SF of office space. Harold estimates both projects will take 18 months after breaking ground in August.

10-Year Itch
James was the mayor of his native Atherton (about 30 miles outside San Francisco) in 2003 and 2008 so he's intimate with bureaucracy. Harold purchased the property in 2000 but met many roadblocks, as his plans were repeatedly denied by the Palo Alto City Council. The city ruled the property wasn’t pedestrian friendly, calling it a “fortress." (With the Game of Thrones success, that'd be considered a luxury amentity today.) James got involved in 2005 fighting against numerous lawsuits, three from political hopeful Bob Moss, who strongly opposed the project. James sued the city in federal court on Harold’s behalf in 2009, but the judge said he couldn’t rule because Harold wasn’t denied.
10-Year Itch
To appease the city council, 2500 SF of R & D was removed, as well as two housing units. Finally, in late June, the Park Plaza project was approved unanimously. In its latest (and final) incarnation, the mixed-use property will feature an interior courtyard, a rooftop swimming pool, a gym and a café. (It’s also a short walk from the Caltrain corridor.) There’s also bicycle lockers for each unit and an 18-foot-high fountain sculpture as the centerpiece.
Related Topics: Park Plaza, Bob Moss
WASHINGTON DC 02.23.2017

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