Redwood City is being asked to amend its general plan so that the Sequoia Station shopping center can be transformed into a massive mixed-use development including one building as tall as 17 stories or 239 feet.
Developer Lowe has yet to submit a formal application to the city, but according to preliminary plans posted on the city’s website, it is contemplating up to 440 residential units, 1.6 million square feet of offices and 175,000 square feet of retail. In addition to the 17-story building, Lowe wants to construct three 10-story buildings, two eight-story buildings and a seven-story building on the site.
Lowe’s general plan amendment request includes increasing downtown precise plan development caps and building heights — only 12 stories or 136 feet is currently allowed — and reducing parking ratios because the site is adjacent to the Caltrain station. If the City Council grants the request, then Lowe will submit a formal application with more refined numbers and plans.
The project site extends beyond the shopping center and totals 12 acres owned by Regency Centers, Safeway and SamTrans.
“The opportunity is to turn an outdated, but pivotal transit-oriented development site into a vibrant downtown destination with activated retail, expanded commercial office space and housing adjacent to a major transit hub,” according to a letter Alan Chamorro, senior vice president for Lowe, sent to the council. “The result will be a multi-modal, infill, mixed-use neighborhood connection that helps Redwood City secure its long-term spot as a premier destination on the Peninsula.”
The proposal includes improved bike lanes, including ones separate from cars, open space, new pedestrian-friendly retail streets and space for future Caltrain station upgrades and additional track right-of-way, according to the plans.
Lowe is also proposing public art, youth and family entertainment, on-site child-care and outdoor events space. An upgraded Safeway and CVS/pharmacy is part of the plan, but it has not yet been determined what other retailers will be included in the redevelopment proposal.
As for parking, the surface lots will be removed and parking will be offered underground and in structures.
Lowe is partnering with affordable housing developer Eden Housing to explore the feasibility of having more than the required 15% of housing units be affordable. Chamorro’s letter says ideally the development will include a 100% affordable project.
Lowe has also brought a sustainability consultant on board to explore how to maximize efficiencies and incorporate sustainable designs into the project, according to the letter.
“If the General Plan Initiation request moves forward, Lowe will continue to engage with the community and will integrate their thoughts, ideas and concepts into the development proposal,” Chamorro said in the letter. “We are very excited to work with the community on this exciting, once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
Lowe has said in the past that it expects to initiate the CEQA process by the winter and have an application considered by the Planning Commission and City Council in 2021.
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