PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — A big name developer wants to expand popular sushi restaurant Nobu in Palo Alto, but one woman is trying to block the plan.

The existing Nobu restaurant is inside the Epiphany Hotel on Hamilton Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.

The proposed expansion would happen in an adjacent building. It’s turning into a battle between two developers.

At the center of the debate are three spaces inside a parking garage.

Last year, the pricey, popular sushi restaurant inside hotel owned by tech titan Larry Ellison submitted plans to the city to expand by taking over a shuttered florist shop next door on Emerson Street.

They got the OK from the city for the plan that included getting rid of three street parking spaces, as long as they paid $71,000 a space into a city fund to put those spaces into a future parking garage.

“The primary issue is parking,” said Palo Alto interim Planning Director Jonathan Lait

But another developer — Elizabeth Wong — is trying to stop the project, arguing the elimination of the parking spaces “sets a dangerous precedent for the elimination of much need parking spaces throughout the downtown.”

In fact, city leaders say anyone who takes over the property would be required to do the same because the parking spaces aren’t up to code. And would need to be expanded.

But the alley next to the spaces makes it a challenge.

“Any redevelopment of that building, whether it was owned by anybody, would have some challenges with providing parking on that location,” said Lait.

But Wong is arguing this is about more than just parking.

Wong tried to buy the property several years ago, but the deal fell through and it was sold to ellison.

Wong is now suing for breach of contract. The city is in the middle, claiming that Ellison is not getting favors from officials.

“There’s no special treatment,” said Lait. “She doesn’t agree with the findings.”

Wong claims she is not the only one who feels this way. The Palo Alto City Council is going to discuss the issue at its meeting on Monday night. Wong told KPIX 5 she is hoping the council delays their decision on the matter so the public can weigh in on it.

 

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