Merry Christmas, Redwood City!

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Nothing says Christmas like a pig in a Santa suit…! You’ll find this little gem at 1141 Whipple, on top of the entry awning for an apartment building, in case you want to see it for yourself.

My obsession with the Mazda/Kia dealership seems to be coming to an end: IMG_0768

Yep, it’s still a car dealership, but not Mazda or Kia: it is becoming a Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram (“CDJR”) dealership. And it will be one of many owned by the Del Grande Dealer Group, so hopefully this one will be sticking around. Curiously, the original Mazda sign is still in place, covered in plastic:

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But enough with that. Although I do still wonder what became of the Kia dealership. Yelp reports that they simply closed, apparently with no warning. Very strange.

I did some wandering in the residential area at the very north edge of Redwood City, just west of El Camino. There is a lot of remodeling going on over there! This house, for instance, on Edgewood is getting a second story:

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And this one, on Warwick St. where Finger Ave. dead-ends, while technically a remodel (they left just a bit of the original house) is really an enormous, all-new house:

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It doesn’t look like much in this photo, because the lot is narrow and deep. But the house is two stories, and goes quite a way back.

There are numerous other remodeling and re-landscaping projects going on in the area. In fact, there are projects like this going on all over the city. Yet another sign that the economy really has improved, I guess!

Another sign of the improving economy are the many commercial building projects going on right now. From the Finger Ave. area I headed down El Camino to take a closer look at the building on the corner of El Camino and Brewster. Most recently this was the (short lived) home of “Charm’s Chocolate Chip Cookies“; before that it was the Joy Meadow Chinese restaurant. For a long time now this has had a sign on it with the name of a developer and a picture showing what the building will look like when it is remodeled. However, until a week or two ago there has been no visible activity on-site. Work is finally underway, however, and they are not fooling around.

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Although covered with scaffolding and mesh, making the ongoing work a bit hard to see when you are driving by, the mesh doesn’t block the view from a pedestrian such as I. All of the plaster on the exterior of the building has been removed, along with all of the windows and doors. The interior has been completely gutted: they’ve stripped the building to the studs. The entire interior is wide open, and any kitchen equipment is long gone:

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In the back there was a small addition that has been removed, possibly to provide a couple of parking spaces. But in removing the addition, they exposed an old painted Coca-Cola advertisement. I wonder if they’ll restore it? Or simply paint over it?

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Walking down Brewster, as I crossed the railroad tracks I noticed a pile of old traffic signals that are presumably from an upgrade project somewhere in the area. I stopped to take a picture of them when I noticed a nice fat rabbit who was taking shelter among them:

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Maybe the Easter Bunny got his seasons mixed up? Or maybe he’s just hoping to celebrate the season along with the rest of us? In any case, he seemed quite calm and content there among the signals, right next to the Caltrain tracks.

Moving on, the housing project at 601 Main has broken ground! This project is close to the Kaiser Hospital, and is bounded by Main St. on the west, Marshall St. on the south, and Bradford St. on the north. It occupies all of the block except for the north-east corner, which is the site of a small Kaiser building. Where the housing project is being erected once stood the Heimerhaus Deli (now located at 2074 Broadway, if you are a fan of their sandwiches), Image Auto Repair (now on Quarry Rd. in San Carlos), an upholstery shop, a law office, and, of all things, a Dianetics/Scientology location (they, too have moved; they’re still in Redwood City, on Marshall). But the backhoes have moved in, and the old buildings are rapidly coming down:

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As I wandered around the block to see if I could get a better picture, I noticed a fire truck in front of one of the buildings slated for demolition. There were three firefighters on the building’s roof, using power saws and other equipment. From listening to them, I could tell that one of the firefighters was training the others in firefighting techniques. What a fantastic idea: using a building slated for demolition to enable newer firefighters to practice their skills in relative safety! And given that this building was only one block from the main fire station (where, presumably, the engine was based), they likely were still available, if needed, to help with a real emergency.

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A bit about the building that is going up on this site: it will be an eight-story building containing 196 market-rate apartments (none of them designated as low-income), with two levels of underground parking and a single level of parking above ground. Wrapping the ground-level parking will be 3,000 square feet of retail divided into two storefronts, plus eight apartments and the building’s leasing office. The remaining 188 apartments will be on the second through eighth floors. Construction will take approximately two years: they hope to have the building ready for occupancy in early 2016. Continuing the trend with other downtown housing projects, although the developer has no plans to convert these to condos, they are building the apartments to condo specifications just in case.

Here is a rendering of 601 Main:

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These housing projects are starting to look pretty similar, aren’t they? Perhaps I’ll do a future post showing all of the renderings side-by-side. At least it is a fairly attractive look… Whether or not I actually do that, though, I will address the (lack of) low-income units in a future post, as that is an issue that is becoming increasingly important as the economy improves and local housing costs continue to rise.

Before I close, I wanted to provide a brief update on another seeming obsession of mine: the Saltbox restaurant. Although my friend Arnold had been told by the owner that they would be opening on December 17, they seem to be having hiring problems. There is currently a “help wanted” sign up, along with another sign indicating that they will be opening in early 2014. So the wait continues on that one.

I hope that everyone reading this has a happy holiday! I’m assuming that everyone who plans to decorate their home has already done so, but if not, take another gander at the pig at the top of this post. What a great decoration!

4 thoughts on “Merry Christmas, Redwood City!

  1. Pingback: Go Directly to Jail | Walking Redwood City

  2. Pingback: Making Progress, Slowly | Walking Redwood City

    • No, although I’m glad you pointed that one out. The San Francisco restaurant I believe you are referring to is the “Salt House”, at 545 Mission (near 1st) and it looks great – we need to go have dinner there! According to their websites, they are owned by different people; ours is “Johnston’s Saltbox”, owned by Jennifer and Sean Johnston. The SF restaurant is owned by Doug Washington, Mitchell Rosenthal, and Steven Rosenthal. And the menus look very different. The SF restaurant seems to be more formal, and the menu is a bit more traditional. The San Carlos restaurant is very much focused on what they can grow in their rooftop garden, and so is more vegetable-focused. But both look excellent in their own rights..

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