Stanford University’s planned expansion into Redwood City is a “momentous” occasion several years in the making that will pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the community and create a valuable partnership, according to city officials.
The City Council Monday night unanimously certified the final environmental impact report for the Stanford in Redwood City project. With the documents finished and approved, discussion can now turn to the merits of the project itself.
Although councilmembers said they’d received some letters about traffic concerns, they each expressed enthusiasm for the university’s first significant foray outside its main campus. The project will carry numerous community benefits from $260 million in ancillary spending on top of a $15 million development deal to underground power lines and establish a shuttle to Caltrain, the officials said.
The development is projected out 30 years but essentially calls for replacing the former Excite@Home campus at Mid-Technology Park with up to 1.518 million square feet of building spaces and approximately 4,500 parking spaces. The existing eight office and research and development buildings will be demolished to make way for a medical clinic and offices.
As work goes forward on the 35-acre campus bisected by Broadway and bound in part by Highway 101, Councilwoman Rosanne Foust said the city needs to be defensive in communicating its needs to the university and the community especially neighboring Friendly Acres, Redwood Village and North Fair Oaks.
Although the council is happy about the potential financial benefits to Redwood City, Councilman Jeff Ira said it’s important to move beyond the money and “create something priceless with Stanford.” Without naming a specific entity, Ira said the city is home to at least one company that has little ties and makes no effort within the community. Stanford, he said, is different.
“We do have a corporate citizen coming to Redwood City that is going to be a true partner for many years to come,” Ira said.
Community Development Director Bill Ekern said Redwood City has become a premier entertainment destination and project-related improvements like a street car on Broadway will add to the existing draws. Programs through the graduate business school will also benefit the residents.
More information on both, along with an outline for the process of penciling out the community funding allocations, will come back to the City Council at a future meeting, City Manager Bob Bell said.
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