More than two years after a seven-story, 162-room Hilton Garden Inn was approved at 1091 Industrial Road in San Carlos, a new property owner has received approval to rescind the hotel plans and begin work on a set of life science labs or office space at the intersection of Brittan Avenue and Industrial Road.

Initially expected to be the third building in San Carlos to exceed 80 feet, plans for the hotel proposed for the site where two two-story office buildings currently stand were put on hold when the hotel developer decided the project was too costly to build and to sell it, explained city planner Lisa Costa Sanders at the San Carlos Planning Commission’s Monday meeting.

Though the new property owner could carry out the approved plans to build the hotel, which were later amended to include 173 rooms, Costa Sanders explained the new owner could request the site be rezoned from a planned development zone back to its previous zone, general commercial industrial zone.

Representing the property owners, Michael Halow of Premia Capital said the owners hope to build on the site a set of life science labs similar to a set of suites they own at 75 and 125 Shoreway Road on the east side of Highway 101. Halow acknowledged the owners are giving up the opportunity to use the higher density and heights already approved with the hotel development, and expected the building he will propose to be some three stories in height and designed to accommodate suites of varying sizes.

Halow noted demand for life science use is very high in the Bay Area and especially in the southern portion of the Peninsula, and expected labs to create less traffic and parking congestion than office use since the times when people use them is different from traditional offices. He added the parking planned for the site will be underground.

Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve an ordinance to rezone the site back to general commercial industrial, with Chair John Dugan absent from the meeting. Costa Sanders said the office and research and development plans the new owners have discussed proposing at the site would be subject to design and transportation demand management plan review by the Planning Commission as well as the appropriate California Environmental Quality Act analysis.

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