Making Progress, Slowly

I took a walk downtown the other day so I could check the progress of various Redwood City projects. The casual visitor would be forgiven for thinking that things have gone quiet in Redwood City, but nothing could be further from the truth. Development projects such as are being built in our downtown area take multiple years to complete, and so we get used to seeing them in a partially constructed state. But good progress is being made and new things are popping up all the time.

I have talked about 201 Marshall before, most extensively in my post Too Close For Comfort?. For some time now it has been draped in protective clothing, which hides the progress going on underneath:


What is going on under those (rather unsightly) covers? I can’t pull them back for a peek, but I can wander around the back, where things are a bit more exposed:


From this angle you can see the varying exterior colors that the completed building will employ. It is hard to tell at this point whether the wall color being used in the inset area (where you can see balconies) is the same as the lighter wall color in the right part of the photo; the inset area looks to have a browner cast, but that may simply be the result of light reflecting off the tan-colored building just peeking into the left edge of the photo. That wall on the right looks rather stark, but don’t expect the same lack of visual interest on the exterior walls facing either Marshall or Arguello. The wall shown here is on Warren St. and faces the San Mateo County jail, and thus isn’t going to be viewed by nearly as many people as the building’s other sides.

Another sign that 201 Marshall is rapidly being completed is a more literal one: hanging on the protective coverings is a cloth sign proclaiming that you can “Live big in Spring 2014” that also provides a website: Unfortunately the linked page is rather uninformative: it consists of a single web page with a generic photo or two and a “click here” link for interested parties that simply opens an email window. So there is little to be obtained from that website yet, although I expect that over time more information may be added. In any case, “Spring 2014” indicates that the building will be open soon—within the next three months or so.

Back in December I reported on progress at 601 Main. This will be a 196-unit apartment building (plus 2975 square feet of retail on the ground floor) that will occupy the lion’s share of the block defined by Main, Marshall, Walnut, and Bradford streets (diagonally opposite Kaiser Hospital, and one block down Marshall from the main fire station). At that time the existing buildings on the site were being demolished. They did a good job: the site is now clean, with only some of the original foundations remaining:


The site appears to be resting, as if it is gathering the energy needed for the construction of the project. There will be two levels of underground parking, so digging should commence sometime soon.

Nearby—just a couple of doors down from the “Hotel Sequoia” at the corner of Main and Broadway—is the newest, and perhaps most unusual addition to Redwood City’s downtown shopping district: Gambrel & Co., an honest-to-goodness old-fashioned butcher shop:


I have yet to patronize them (this weekend, perhaps!) but from the reviews on Facebook they seem to be pleasing the community with organic, high-quality products. So much so that they keep selling out of various items. So if you go—and it sounds like you should, if you eat meat—go early!

Crossing 900. I’ve mentioned this project before, of course. Due to the green fabric panels on the chain link fencing surrounding the project, however, I suspect that most folks just drive on by on their way to the theater without getting a glimpse into the rather large hole that once was our main downtown parking lot. Unless you walk by, as I do, and take the time to find good angles from which to peer in, it is hard to see how much progress they are making. One of the better angles I’ve found is from across Jefferson. From the parking lot between Jefferson and the main library I was able to get this angle on things:


Two Saturdays ago was a “big pour”: there was a stream of cement mixers supplying concrete to finish off the floor and add to the side walls. For the curious, there are a couple of webcams pointed at the project 24 hours a day. Click this link to see the best one (located high above the corner of Middlefield Rd. and Jefferson Ave.); the others are here. These are live cameras, so you can watch the trucks driving and the workers scurrying around the project throughout the day. It isn’t great theater, but it can be fun to watch from time-to-time, and its a great way to satisfy that “what was that?!?” feeling you sometimes get when you drive by and you think you saw something out of the corner of your eye…

Not all of the projects in Redwood City are of this scale, of course. From the library parking lot I walked down Main to check on one that is considerably smaller. This project seems to have received all the approvals, but work yet to get underway. What am I referring to? Why, its Redwood City’s newest dog park! Squeezed between the Caltrain tracks and Main St., and separated from the Redwood Roller Rink by Beech St., is a small triangular park that is going to be fenced in and converted into a space where dogs can “socialize and practice agility.”


The park is too small to function as a dog run, unfortunately, but once it is complete dog owning residents of the area and patrons of the nearby Main Street Coffee Roasting Co. will have a protected environment in which their four-legged friends can socialize.

Work on the project is scheduled to begin this summer, and should be completed by the end of the year. In the meantime, I should point out that Redwood City has two other places where dogs can play off-leash: Shore Dogs Park (near the end of Radio Rd. in Redwood Shores) has two separately fenced areas, one for larger dogs and one for smaller; and the trail section of Stulsaft park, which is a designated off-leash area. This latter area is large and unfenced, and consists of walking trails through otherwise unimproved land; if your dog is prone to wandering off or not returning to you on command, it may not be the best choice for your animal. But within the city limits it is the place to take a walk on the wild side with your canine companion. Of course, as I mentioned in my previous post, Pulgas Ridge also has an off-leash dog area, and it is close by as well (although technically not within the city limits).

Redwood City is ever changing, even if that change seems to be occurring slowly. Driving down 101 the other day I noticed that the Malibu Grand Prix site is being cleared; I’ll try to get over there in the next day or two to record the action for posterity’s sake. And, of course, I’ll write about anything interesting I find, either there or on the way!

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