City BriefsOffice development undeterred by HSR
The City Council approved a three-story, 50,000-square-foot office building Tuesday to be built next to the downtown train station.
The building, slated for 150 W. Evelyn Ave. alongside the tracks just west of the station, is intended to compliment a pair of existing two-story office buildings that will flank it on the east and west sides of the four-acre lot.
The new building, which would take up an existing parking lot, includes an underground parking garage three stories deep. The architect said it misses the water table, though he added that is common to seal it off if water is found.
Council members had expressed concern about a three-story hole being left in the ground if the downtown office market soured. But representatives of the developer, PSAI Realty Partners, said they already have huge demand from prospective tenants because of an unusual need for office space downtown.
"A good-looking building is always better than a parking lot," said council member Ronit Bryant, reflecting the largely positive opinion of the council.
The project's architect said the development team had met with the California High Speed Rail Authority and felt sure that plans for two additional tracks along the Caltrain corridor would not affect the office building project. He added that high speed trains would be quieter than existing trains, and that an access road was included in the design in case trains required more room in the future.
Google gives $75K to keep bookmobile going
The city's budget problems were eased slightly on Tuesday when the City Council approved a $75,000 donation from Google to keep the library's bookmobile in service.
The donation effectively removes the elimination of bookmobile service from a list of potential budget cuts this year as the city faces a $5 million general fund budget deficit.
The city's bookmobile was unveiled in 2006, and built with a $200,000 grant from Google. It was called the most high-tech bookmobile in existence as it is equipped with WiFi and several computers for its users.
Despite the new funds, the bookmobile may still have reduced service next year and could be eliminated in 2011-12, said library director Karen Burnett in a staff report. The increasingly popular service is usually funded with $97,000 a year. It stops at Castro School and the Googleplex, among other places.
— Daniel DeBolt