A proposed five-story mixed-use development at the corner of 435 E. Third Ave. near downtown San Mateo is under city consideration, with the developer highlighting the opportunity to develop near South B Street and the downtown corridor.
“The goal is to make Third Avenue a more attractive entry into the downtown area. Because it is so small, we are limited in what we can do there,” Michael Field of Windy Hill Property Ventures said.
The proposed redevelopment calls for approximately 34,000 square feet of office space. The first four floors will be devoted to office space, while the fifth floor will contain five residential units, one of which is a low-income unit. Field noted the development is a small landlocked site, bound by a historic building at the corner of Third and Railroad avenues and a generational landowner who has declined to sell an adjacent property.
“There is no way to make the site any bigger. You would have to tear down a historic building,” Field said.
Windy Hill is in contract to purchase the property. If the city approves the redevelopment, the purchase will go through. The redevelopment would result in the demolition of all existing onsite structures, consisting of a Swift Auto Repair.
Field said the project does not call for onsite parking, as the property is too small to accommodate or build underground parking. Windy Hill will instead pay parking in-lieu fees for the entire building. Field noted there were several city parking areas within a couple of blocks, including options on Fifth Avenue, a downtown Caltrain garage and several parking garages on Fourth Avenue.
Field described the development as boutique given its small size. He imagines the office space would be a professional or technology office, with multiple tenants throughout the building. Residential and office tenants would be completely separate.
The development is following a mixed-use development trend throughout downtown and surrounding streets, with Field noting a residential building wouldn’t make sense because of size constraints. Field said people in San Mateo understand a certain amount of housing needs to be built, with most willing to put it where it is appreciated and least impactful. He noted the residential units would be a block from downtown and two blocks from the train station, areas where the City Council is interested in increasing residential units moving forward.
“The City Council is who pushed us to do mixed-use projects on Fourth and Third [avenues]. The shift we are seeing is that members of the community and members of the City Council are willing to look at state density bonuses to add additional residential. That had not been the case in the past. The community was not as enthused about large amounts of residential in this location,” Field said.
The proposal is one of several being considered or under construction mixed-use buildings in the downtown area. One of the largest proposals under city review is Block 21, which would redevelop the block of East Third Avenue, South Delaware Street, East Fourth Avenue and South Claremont Street. Other mixed-use developments include a three-story building proposal at 180 E. Third Ave. and an approved four-story office and residential building at 406 E. Third Ave. A proposed redevelopment is under consideration to demolish Draeger’s grocery store 222 E. Fourth Ave. and replace it with a five-story mixed-use building.
A formal pre-application was submitted March 30 and is currently under review with city departments. A remote neighborhood community meeting is scheduled for Oct. 7 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. People can contact the applicant at firstname.lastname@example.org for Zoom meeting information. A Nov. 9 Planning Commission study session is scheduled for 7 p.m.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102