Yahoo's Marissa Mayer buys funeral-home property
Palo Alto parcel had been eyed by city for 21 housing units
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is the new owner of the property that houses Roller & Hapgood & Tinney, Palo Alto's oldest funeral home, which will close Oct. 31, according to sources at the mortuary.
The 1.16-acre site at 980 Middlefield Road, at the corner of Addison Avenue, has been home to the 114-year-old family-owned mortuary since 1951, office manager Melodie Sample said. She said she thinks the property will be used for residential purposes.
The parcel is located a block east of Mayer's Addison Avenue home and across the street from Addison Elementary School.
The property is currently zoned "planned community" (PC) and allows only a commercial funeral-home to use the site, said Aaron Aknin, Palo Alto's assistant director of planning and community environment.
"Any new development would need to go through a re-zoning process -- Planning and Transportation Commission review and City Council approval required," he said.
The entire block -- bounded by Middlefield, Addison, Webster Street and Channing Avenue -- has been zoned as "planned community," including an adjacent PC zone for the Webster Wood Apartments for low-income families. But the city's Comprehensive Plan has designated the area for "multi-family use," which allows between 8 and 40 housing units per acre. The property owner would most likely request RM-15 or RM-30 zoning, which would allow for up to 15 to 30 units per acre, Aknin said.
The corner lot is, however, across the street from blocks designated for single-family homes. It is also one block away on Addison from single-family residences.
In June 26, 2012, a city staff report identified the funeral-home property as a potential site for up to 21 residences, which would help the city reach a housing goal mandated by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). At that time, the site did not end up included in the city's official housing inventory because of the existing PC zoning, Aknin said.
Mayer could not be reached for comment regarding the purchase or her plans for the property.
The land deal closed Oct. 7, according to Jim Spangler, president of Mountain View-based Spangler Mortuaries, which purchased Roller & Hapgood & Tinney's business assets. He does not know what Mayer plans to do with the property, he said.
Mayer's current 5,600-square-foot home, on 0.3 acres, was the site of a Democratic fundraising dinner with President Barack Obama in October 2010.