Developer Greystar shared the latest plans for its massive mixed-use proposal spanning six blocks in Redwood City at a couple of community meetings on Tuesday, July 17.
The updated plans are based on input from residents at two workshops held in May, various one-on-one conversations and a survey. Greystar Senior Development Director Jonathan Fearn and Development Manager Troy Vernon said at the meeting that the community seems especially interested in a variety of open spaces, family-friendly entertainment, child care facilities and the preservation of the Main and Elm restaurant and dog park. They said many residents have also called for a diversity of architectural styles for the development so that it doesn’t feel like a uniform campus.
The proposed development sits on an 8.3-acre site between El Camino Real and the Caltrain tracks, a short walk from downtown. It entails six buildings, five for offices and one containing 272 residential units for rent, 60 of which are affordable. Office space will total 580,000 square feet, retail will span 10,000 square feet and a public child care center will occupy 10,000 square feet.
Each of the five parcels will have two or more levels of underground parking, totaling 2,034 private parking spaces. But Fearn said Greystar will be negotiating with the city to build fewer spots for the office component than normally required.
Its initial application was met with some concern over the amount of information provided before word got out about the development proposal. Greystar initially submitted its application to the city in January and is set to resubmit an updated one in August. The company is not requesting any amendments to the city’s general plan.
If approved, the project could be complete by 2023. The environmental review phase could wrap up by late next year, and then construction on all six buildings would commence at once and take two to three years.
In addition to the Main and Elm restaurant, the project site is currently home to Hopkins Acura and Ford car dealerships, several small car wash and detailing companies and warehouses. It’s also home to a city-owned building with 23 below-market-rate units, three of which are occupied, Fearn said, adding that those units will be included in the development and no one will be displaced. He also said Greystar is currently in conversations with Main and Elm about returning the restaurant to the site.
The proposal includes 11,000 square feet for “active uses” and Vernon said the goal is to have activity in the area from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. while the center of the site could be closed off for community events.
Lathrop Street appears to be the favorite for a pedestrian and bike-friendly corridor that will still be accessible to cars. A series of small parks and gathering spaces will line the street and a larger, 16,000-square-foot park will occupy the southeast tip of the site between Main and Chestnuts streets. Ben Mickus, an architect with WRNS studio, described that space as an overflow for the often-packed Courthouse Square.
There will be a community garden on Maple Street and creekside walking path adjacent to El Camino Real. That stretch of El Camino Real will also see an upgrade in the form of street trees and wider sidewalks.
In addition to keeping the dog park as is, Greystar is planning to build a café kiosk next to it, an especially popular idea with dog walkers. The developer is also planning to maintain an old shed that has historic value for some residents, and surround it with open space.
As for architecture, Mickus said the goal is to give each building a distinct identity while maintaining a sense of unity across the development. Referencing the industrial warehouses on site, he said the style of the new buildings would be a “memory of what was there.”
“We thought long and hard about how we can make a set of buildings look different from each other and also connect them to a place, connect them to Redwood City and its history and also what it wants to be today and tomorrow,” he said.
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