Download PDF

Palo Alto - 101 Lytton Design Review

Client: DTZ (formerly Cassidy Turley BT)

After Palo Alto's Planning and Transportation Commission directed DTZ to redesign its mixed-use building proposal across Alma Street from downtown's Caltrain station, FTS was consulted to enhance the project's urban design and help it achieve desired community benefits and entitlement.

Completed building. FTS design input focused on improving the project's pedestrian spaces and lower-level facade articulation.


The project site’s previous gas station use (left) did not provide a downtown gateway image for arriving Caltrain riders.

The project's corner site (previously a 1 story gas station) faced downtown's Caltrain station as a prominent but unfulfilled "gateway" location.

The building's concept program included offices, ground floor retail, below-market residential units and a small street-fronting plaza, but no street treatments had been proposed. 

The Planning & Transportation Commission directed the developer to revise the use program, massing, open space, and façade articulation to better fit its context and increase community benefits for further Commissions' and Council review.


  • Advise the developer team on improving the building’s massing, open space and façade articulation to meet the City’s high urban design expectations.
  • Recommend innovative “complete streets” treatments to respond to the transit gateway location.
  • Attend public meetings and provide education on concepts.


Redesigned application approved and design recommendations implemented

  • The plaza concept (seen as privatized) was eliminated at Lytton Avenue to maintain shopfront continuity.  Open space emphasis was redirected to provide wider and better sidewalks (including façade recesses at storefronts).
  • Pedestrian-friendliness and transit connection was enhanced by added corner bulb-outs, relocation of the Alma Street tree line to the parking lane (between parked cars), and a widened sidewalk with landscaping at Lytton Avenue.
  • Refined façade articulations re-emphasized the existing shopfront rhythm at Lytton Avenue and an improved base-shaft-cap composition at the train-facing Alma Street façade.
  • The online firm SurveyMonkey chose to become the building’s anchor office tenant.  A gelato parlor and the Chamber of Commerce are current storefront tenants, with more to come.

In collaboration with:

DTZ consultant team – Korth Sunseri Hagey Architects, The Guzzardo Partnership, Hexagon Transportation Consultants, Jim Baer