PALO ALTO, CA—Planning commissioners got a look Wednesday night at a developer’s proposal to replace the city’s police headquarters in exchange for permission to build a substantial office complex.  Their response was that more work is needed before they can move it forward.

Jay Paul Co. is hoping to construct a pair of four-story office buildings totaling 311,000 square feet next to the existing 219,000-square-foot AOL building at 395 Page Mill Road. But that’s far more development than is allowed under the current zoning for the site.

The developer could get around the restriction with a type of zoning known as “planned community.” It provides exceptions but only in return for public benefits, which the city council must ultimately approve. The public safety building, which is in need of seismic reinforcement would be replaced on a different site.

To that end, Jay Paul Co. is offering to construct the shell of a new public safety building at 3045 Park Blvd. The city needs a new home for its police and fire departments that can stand up to a major earthquake, but has struggled for years to come up with the necessary funding.

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