San Mateo’s housing stock may get a boost in the coming years if a proposal to build 291 for-sale townhomes to replace four buildings in a six-building office complex west of the Peninsula Golf & Country Club in San Mateo gains traction in the coming months.

Included in a pre-application submitted to the city by the developer Harvest Properties last week for four parcels on Campus Drive are three- and four-story townhomes with pocket parks and accessible trails connecting the development with the surrounding neighborhoods.

Preston O’Connell, partner at Harvest Properties, said the developer has been gathering feedback from the community surrounding the project in the last year since the site was purchased and is looking forward to seeing it make an impact on the regional housing shortage. O’Connell noted the important role the growing number of transit-oriented apartment buildings can play in addressing the housing shortage, but noted not nearly as many entry-level homes have been built.

With plans to designate 10% of the units, or 29 units, provided on the site as affordable to low-income households, the developer is hoping to significantly boost the number of for-sale, affordable units being built in the city, noted O’Connell. He said the developer has already met with neighborhood groups and community stakeholders and expects to continue gathering their input in future neighborhood meetings and public hearings.

“We really view this as a starting point of the discussion with the city and the community,” he said.

By proposing residences for a site largely surrounded by homes, the developer is hoping it is a better fit for the site, where the office park has stood since the 1970s, said O’Connell. He said the developer plans to incorporate suggestions from neighbors to plant native trees on the site and include stop signs and other traffic-calming measures on nearby streets.

He said some neighbors have welcomed the idea of for-sale homes replacing four of the six office buildings on the site, and added the developer plans to provide a unique set of amenities on the site, including 4 miles of trails, a dog park, a communal garden, a playground and potentially a Montessori school.

Each townhome, with either two or three bedrooms, will have a two-car garage and private open space in the form of balconies and rooftop decks, according to the pre-application.

O’Connell said the development is expected to result in a reduction in the vertical and horizontal massing of the office buildings currently standing on the site, and noted the developer has worked with a traffic consultant to study the project’s impact. As compared with the site’s current office use, the housing development is expected to result in a net reduction in traffic traveling to and from the site, he said.

O’Connell expected many of the businesses currently located in the office complex to relocate to the two buildings that will remain on the site. Though Harvest Properties owns several office projects near the site and another housing development in Redwood City, O’Connell said the developer is looking forward to its first housing project in San Mateo.

The city also received plans to build a four-story, mixed-use building at 2850 S. El Camino Real just north of the Hillsdale Shopping Center. Included in the proposal are 7,500 square feet of ground-floor retail, second-floor office space and 18 two-bedroom apartments on the second, third and fourth floors of the building. The existing surface parking will be removed and 51 underground parking spaces will be provided on the site. Of the 18 rental units offered at the site, three apartments will be designated as affordable for low-income residents, according to the plans.

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