A formal proposal for the 12-acre Sequoia Station Redevelopment project was submitted to Redwood City, requesting to replace the existing shopping center with residences, office space and retail shops.
The redeveloped land would bring 1.23 million square feet of office space, 166,600 square feet of retail space and up to 631 housing units to the city. The office buildings will be broken into four blocks with between 275,000 square feet and 345,000 square feet of office space with retail on the ground floor.
“With the redevelopment of the Sequoia Station Shopping Center, Redwood City has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine the largest contiguous parcel in the downtown,” read the plan narrative by Lowe, the developer and Eden Housing, a nonprofit organization partnering with the agency.
The proposed amount of housing is up 131 units compared to what was initially proposed. Developers achieved the additional housing by converting a block of office space into housing, a decrease of office space by 125,000 square feet.
Of the housing, 254 units would be deed restricted at very low-, low- and moderate-income levels. Units in the two mixed-income housing structures will range in size from studios to three bedroom units.
During a Feb. 8 Transit District study session, the council had pushed the developers to increase its housing count and to address its contribution to the jobs housing imbalance. Achieving additional housing would require higher office density or the loss of some community amenities, the developers suggested in its project narrative.
Redeveloping the site would provide Caltrain almost an acre of additional land, assisting in its expansion plans. The transportation agency aims to add two additional tracks to Sequoia Station, increasing it from two tracks to four and connecting the Peninsula to the East Bay, the Dumbarton rail and high-speed rail.
Without the additional acre from the redevelopment, Caltrain would likely have to use eminent domain to achieve its expansion goals, demolishing the Safeway and CVS sitting along the property line, according to the project narrative. With the redevelopment plan, the large retailers would remain on site, though moved.
The developer also aims to encourage bike and pedestrian activity instead of cars. Bike and walking lanes would be incorporated into the layout where surface parking exists and have included a bike storage barn in the plans. During the council’s previous meeting, Councilmember Lissette Espinoza-Garnica suggested the bike parking be free to encourage equity.
They’ve also requested parking requirements be reduced to promote use of mass transit and have proposed undergrounding the parking to keep the pedestrian street network car-free.
Other amenities include a 10,000-square-foot child center serving up to 130 children, two large family-friendly outdoor gathering spaces, youth and family friendly retail including 25,000 square feet for a family entertainment center, an art walk and space for outdoor restaurant dining.
“Modern retail spaces are required for modern tenants, and restaurants need thoughtful outdoor spaces to survive,” read the narrative. “Reimagining the tired retail at Sequoia Station and converting the property into next-generation neighborhood serving retail is critical to Redwood City’s long-term economic viability and its tax base.”
An eight-story, 300-unit residential building has also been proposed near the city’s downtown, aiming to replace the current American Legion building with new amenities for the veterans organization. The structure would include 12,000 square feet of event space, a kitchen and a bar and cocktail lounge for Post 105, Redwood City’s American Legion chapter which has called the city home for 100 years.
Of the 300 units, 53 would be listed at the low-income level and 15 would be listed at very low-income level. Veterans will have priority in the below-market rate units, which will only be offered to the income qualifying general public if the units go unfilled.
On the third floor, a courtyard would open at the center of the structure, accessible from multiple community rooms. Parking will be located one level below ground with two levels above ground.
Both the American Legion and Sequoia Station proposals will need to undergo city review. The Sequoia Station Redevelopment will also be considered within the city’s Transit District Plan, a reenvisioning process for the corridor.