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Design Review Instructions

Real Estate

Finance & Administration, Real Estate

Notification Requirements (This should happen before you submit a Design Review application)

  1. Call or email the Property Services Department and let us know you plan to submit a design review application.
  2. Briefly describe the project, i.e., new sign, new landscaping, or new building
  3. State where the project is located. (Stanford Research Park or Non Stanford Research Park)
  4. Provide us with your name, company, phone/fax number, and type of project you are planning
  5. Indicate whether the project is a new building or a project that increases the size of existing buildings, Major Design Review Package or Minor Design Review Package
  6. Indicate if the applicant is the building owner, or not, in which case we require a letter of approval for the proposed project from the building owner.

Plans and Materials to be Submitted with the Package

  • Electronic files/copies of complete drawings, renderings, & photos of complete drawings along with the site plan showing the location(s) of the signage or improvement
  • Electronic files/copies of complete drawings, renderings, & photos of existing and proposed structure(s)
  • Details of materials to be used in constructing the signage or improvement: please include color and material samples.

Please note that anything the applicant submits to the City of Palo Alto or resubmits must also be reviewed by the Stanford Real Estate Office.  

All forms should be typed and applicant must obtain written permission from the Stanford Ground Lessee for any work of improvement on the property.  

Delivering the Package

Please deliver or mail plans with completed forms to our office located at:

Property Services
Stanford Real Estate 
3160 Porter Drive, Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Feel free to call, send an e-mail, or fax message if you have any questions:

Direct: (650) 497-9797
Fax: (650) 724-5059 


Review Process

Once the complete Design Review package has been received, our office will conduct an initial review.  We will notify the applicant if the project requires the opinion of an outside architect.  The review process can take five to 10 working days, sometimes longer if further review by the University’s architect and Planning Office is necessary.

The Managing Director of Property Services will review the architects’ comments, and approve or provide comments back to the applicant.  The director will sign the City of Palo Alto Application and the Design Review Signature Form.  The plans will be stamped as reviewed by Property Services, and two sets will be returned to the applicant and one set retained in our office with a copy of the application.  Our office will notify the applicant once the plans have been reviewed and are ready to be picked up at our reception desk.

If a project cannot be approved as submitted, a letter will be sent with conditions required to obtain approval. The applicant is required to make the necessary revisions to the plans and resubmit the Design Review project to Property Services.  The project will again be reviewed to confirm the revisions have been made to the specifications of Property Services. 


Some projects do not require the opinion of an outside architect, such as signage.  The director will review these projects, and either approve or return comments for revisions.  This generally will take two to five working days.

Concurrent Review

The applicant may wish the Design Review project to be reviewed by our Property Services department and the City of Palo Alto concurrently.  The director of Property Services will first review the project to determine if it is one that can be submitted concurrently.  Some projects, such as historic buildings, may be deemed at the director’s discretion to require Property Services’ review before submitting to the City of Palo Alto.  If the concurrent review is acceptable, the applicant must sign a Concurrent Review Waiver Form.  The City of Palo Alto ARB application is then completed with the necessary revisions.