A 10-story trio of downtown Redwood City housing towers once described by an owner of a nearby building as “Soviet-style” is now getting the opponent’s backing after developers proposed moving back one building, offsetting some levels and adding more foliage to break up the mass.
As now designed, the Indigo project is still a 471-unit development encompassing the entire block bounded by Middlefield Road, Bradford Street, Jefferson Avenue and Veterans Boulevard. However, the revisions are meant to address concerns that the tall development, particularly the tower on Bradford Street, did not mesh with the existing architecture’s charm and size.
“We brought them in our office so they could see what we would be looking at it and they were very reasonable in accommodating our suggestions,” said Geoff Carr, an attorney and partner in the business appealing the project.
The project at 525 Middlefield Road calls for approximately 10,500 square feet of commercial space for the San Mateo Credit Union and leasing office along with the housing in three 10-story towers and two- to three-story podium buildings. The condos can be leased out for 10 years as apartments. The project also includes three levels of unbundled parking.
In the revised design, floors four through 10 on the Bradford and Jefferson towers will be shifted north 8.5 feet to create a three-story edifice along the Bradford Street side. The stepback at the fourth level will create an eight-and-a-half-foot deep open space deck of roughly 1,700 square feet. The deck will replace 1,020 square feet of landscape lost from the tower shift, according to Peter F. Dunne of developer Downtown RWC Res, LLC. More plantings on the deck will break up the visual impact of the building mass.
The original appeal argued the development violated the provisions of the city’s downtown precise plan and called for a new environmental impact report because the consolidation of county courts into Redwood City has increased traffic and traffic pressure in the area.
Carr said those issues are out of his hand.
“We can’t be the conscious for the city,” he said.
The city, however, must still accept the design revisions. The City Council is scheduled to hear the appeal at Monday night’s meeting and could theoretically reject them in favor of the plan originally approved by the Planning Commission in September.
“If they do that, we’ll be back to square one,” Carr said.
Carr’s partner Kevin Frederick wrote in a Nov. 12 letter to Planning Manager Blake Lyon on Nov. 12 that as long as the city confirms the modifications, there will be no lawsuit.
“We are happy that we were able to resolve our concerns through negotiation with the applicant rather than litigation,” Frederick wrote.
Assuming the City Council denied the appeal and implements the modifications as recommended, construction is scheduled to begin in January 2014 with occupancy starting in late 2015 to early 2016.
The Redwood City Council meets 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18 at City Hall, 1017 Middlefield Road, Redwood City.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102