A massive residential development in South San Francisco will continue to grow as officials approved a proposal to begin a second phase of construction designed to bring an additional nearly 200 units downtown.
The South San Francisco City Council voted 4-1, with Vice Mayor Karyl Matsumoto opposing, allowing Sares Regis to start the next chapter of construction for the Cadence project adjacent to the newly-designed Caltrain station.
Work will soon begin on an eight-story tower designed to house 195 market-rate units at the corner of Miller and Cypress avenues across the street from the first phase of the project where 260 units are under construction, according to the decision Wednesday, Nov. 28.
Councilman Mark Addiego expressed his support for the new project, which advocates claim will revitalize stale properties while also offering badly-needed additional housing units.
“All the pieces are coming together and I remain excited about the change and the improvements we are able to bring with other people’s investments,” said Addiego, according to video of the meeting.
Councilman Pradeep Gupta also spoke in favor of the project, specifically in its contribution to the city’s fight against the housing affordability crisis.
“We need projects like this. We need more housing, not only in South San Francisco … but for the region,” said Gupta, also noting the project’s proximity to a train station which is slated to soon be relocated closer to downtown as an additional perk.
Construction on the second phase of the development should begin next year, at which point units from the first phase of the building should be ready for occupancy, Sares Regis representatives said.
Not all officials were laudatory though, as Matsumoto said she could not support the project due partially to the downtown disruption generated by the first phase of work.
As construction carries on through development of the 260 units, Matsumoto said the traffic congestion and other transportation headaches caused ultimately deter her from attempting to navigate the city’s core commercial corridor.
“I don’t go downtown unless I’m going to City Hall, because it is a gauntlet,” she said.
Traffic and parking problems grew so severe that the owner of nearby Bertolucci’s Ristorante authored a letter detailing frustrations that construction was harming his business, and that its size after completion would block the eatery’s iconic sign.
City officials said they have attempted to work with the merchant to quell those concerns, but with limited success, and felt the efforts to address such issues have been exhausted.
Beyond the traffic congestion concerns, Matusmoto also suggested she was uncomfortable with the building height, with fears that the development was inconsistent with South San Francisco’s architectural and community character.
“I love our downtown and this is part of downtown and I like the character but we look like Redwood City,” she said. “And that’s what is bothering me so much. I support the project, but not at that height.”
In response, a representative from Sares Regis though said the company could not afford to shrink the project, as the loss of units would likely throw off its financing. Alternatively, others noted the project would offer infrastructural upgrades and fund community improvements to public parks and other public spaces through generous development fee contributions.
Meanwhile, Councilman Rich Garbarino suggested he felt the project went far to improve the quality of life in central South San Francisco.
“I like the project, we need the housing and this is the place to do it,” he said.
Gupta shared a similar perspective.
“I’m completely in favor of this project,” said Gupta.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105