A 300,000-square-foot mixed-use development proposed in Redwood City received strong support from child care, business and housing officials Tuesday night as the city’s Planning Commission weighed in on the project’s draft environmental report.
Hines, a global development firm based in San Francisco, has partnered with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, to build a four-story office building and four-story 100% below-market-rate housing development at 1125 Arguello St.
Two of three historically designated homes on the site will also be incorporated into plans for a new 4,000-square-foot child care center. The third home and four other structures, including a former Pacific Gas and Electric courtyard, will be demolished to make way for the new project.
According to the draft environmental impact report presented to the Planning Commission Tuesday, the development is not expected to cause any significant or unavoidable impacts to the surrounding area including on air quality, cultural resources, noise or tribal cultural resources.
Supporters lauded the development team for what they say is a project that provides solutions to a number of city issues by promising to develop affordable transit-oriented homes near downtown and child care.
“These are the community members that make Redwood City such an attractive place to call home but they struggle to find, afford and hold onto suitable places to live. The solutions aren’t easy but they exist. And the solution by Habitat and Hines is one of them,” Ken Chan, a senior organizer with Housing Leadership Council, said.
Christine Padilla, director of the child care advocacy nonprofit Build Up San Mateo County, said the project would also help child care center operators who often struggle to find adequate and affordable facilities in Redwood City’s competitive real estate market.
Those future tenants and new office employees will also help to support struggling downtown businesses, Amy Buckmaster, CEO and president of Chamber San Mateo County, said.
“The entire project is transit oriented and within walking distance of downtown, Caltrain, SamTrans bus lines and, one day hopefully, a short shuttle ride away from planned WETA ferry terminal,” Buckmaster said. “Chamber San Mateo County is thrilled to support this project.”
Planning commissioners kept their feedback brief. Chair Rick Hunter, who has raised concerns about the city’s jobs/housing balance, shared his appreciation for the document outlining the number of employees in the city, growth projections and the development’s impact on those figures. Estimates currently indicate it would bring in about 1,358 new employees.
Hunter asked that staff and consultants add similar breakdowns for the alternative options, which include supporting no project, an increasing housing alternative, and a base-level zoning alternative.
Commissioner Isabella Chu asked that staff also incorporate into the document more information on new state legislation reducing parking requirements and analysis into how that would affect the environmental impact of the project.
“Autos represent a third of greenhouse gas emissions. There’s almost no way that would not have a significant impact on the environmental impact of this project,” Chu said.
The public has until Monday, March 20, to provide comments on the draft EIR. Staff and consultants will review and respond to comments within the final EIR and another 10-day public review period will follow once the document is released. Additional public hearings will be held on the final EIR and formal project proposal.
What do these developers see in RWC that they don't see in San Mateo? They seem to be wooing more real estate investment $, presumably to their benefit
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