Design Review Instructions

Design changes at a tenant’s location must be approved through the Design Review process.

Notification Requirements

Before you submit a design review application

  • Call or Email the Stanford Real Estate Office and let us know you plan to submit a design review application.
  • Briefly describe the project, i.e., new sign, new landscaping, or new building, etc.
  • Tell us where the project is located. (Stanford Research Park or Non Stanford Research Park address)
  • Tell us what your name, company, phone/fax number, email address, and type of project you’re planning
  • Say whether the project is a new building or a project that increases the size of existing buildings. These projects require a Major Design Review Package. If not, the project requires a Minor Design Review Package
  • If you’re not the building owner, we’ll need a letter of approval for the proposed project from the building owner.

Submittal Package

For a complete Design Review Package send the following to the Stanford Real Estate Office

Signature Form

Design Review Signature Forms to be completed by ALL applicants:

Major Project Submittal

If the project is a new building or project that increases the size of existing buildings, then you need to complete a major project submittal checklist:

Minor Project Submittal

For signage, landscaping, exterior modifications to existing structures, etc., you should check all applicable items, and complete the expected project schedule:

City of Palo Alto Application

You must submit the City of Palo Alto form with the added Stanford language found on our website:

Plans and Materials to be Submitted with Package

  • Three (3) half-sized sets of complete drawings along with the site plan showing the location(s) of the signage or improvement
  • One set of the following:  color rendering(s); 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.


NOTE: Anything you submit to the City of Palo Alto, including resubmits must also be reviewed by the Stanford Real Estate Office. All forms should be typed and you must obtain written permission from the Stanford Ground Lessee for any work of improvement on the property.

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

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’ll notify you if the project requires the opinion of an outside architect. The review process can take 5-10 working days, sometimes longer if further review by the University’s Architect and Planning Office is necessary, so please be patient.

The Stanford Real Estate Office will review your Architects’ comments, and approve or provide comments back to you.  We will sign the City of Palo Alto Application and the Design Review Signature Form. 

The plans will be stamped as reviewed by the Stanford Real Estate Office, and two sets will be returned to you and one set retained in our office with a copy of the application. Our office will notify you 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. You’re required to make the necessary revisions to the plans and resubmit the Design Review project to the Stanford Real Estate Office. The project will again be reviewed to confirm the revisions have been made to our specifications.


Some projects do not require the opinion of an outside architect, such as signage.  The Stanford Real Estate Office will review these projects, and either approve or return comments for revisions.  This generally will take 2-5 working days.


Concurrent Review

Simultaneously submissions to the Stanford Real Estate Office​ and the City of Palo Alto

You might want the Design Review project to be reviewed by our Stanford Real Estate Office. and the City of Palo Alto at the same time.The Stanford Real Estate Office will first need to review the project to determine if it can be submitted concurrently. Some projects, such as historic buildings, may be deemed at the our discretion to require review by the Stanford Real Estate Office before submitting to the City of Palo Alto. 

If a concurrent review’s acceptable, you must sign a Concurrent Review Waiver Form. The City of Palo Alto ARB application is then completed with the necessary revisions.