PALO ALTO, CA-Barry Swenson Builder has paid $14.85 million for 3.7 acres on El Camino Real here that holds Palo Alto Bowl, a motel and a small strip center. The developer plans to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with a hotel and possibly other uses.

Located in the 4300 block, near the city’s border with Los Altos, the property was sold by the Casten Family, which had owned the property for 50 years. The listing brokers were Kirk Trammell and Jeffrey Taughinbaugh of Marcus & Millichap. Taughinbaugh tells that the property’s zoning was changed from residential to neighborhood commercial while it was being marketed for sale.

“It affected what people wanted the property, which has been sought after for many years,” Taughinbaugh tells “Some wanted to put big box retail on it, others wanted to put high-density residential on it. (Trammell) was able to weed through and find who the true buyers would be for this property given all the uncertainty with regard to the zoning.”

An official with Barry Swenson could not be reached Wednesday for comment. Taughinbaugh says the company was selected in part due to its experience developing both residential and commercial projects. “They can adapt,” he says.

As is, the property would produce less than a 4% yield for Barry Swenson, according to people familiar with the asset. How quickly the company can redevelop the site depends on the entitlement process and negotiations with existing tenants, some of whom have leases that run for another 3.5 years.

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