Before and After

In service to this blog I try to take at least two or three walks each week. Sometimes I have a specific goal (or goals) in mind, while other times I simply wander and look to see what’s new. When something catches my interest, I take pictures and if necessary make notes. One such item doesn’t an article make, though, so I squirrel the photos and notes away until such time as I have a use for them.

I get many ideas while walking, but of course I get ideas at other times as well. For instance, I’ve gotten ideas while at City Council meetings, and while reading through documents on the city’s website. Other ideas have been suggested to me by friends or by readers of this blog. As for this week’s topic, the idea came to me while I was updating the spreadsheet I use to track the various projects that are either proposed or under construction throughout Redwood City.

Back in September I wrote a post titled Time For Some Commercials in which I identified several commercial projects proposed for Redwood City’s downtown. Since then five of those projects, plus two that lie outside the downtown area, have been added to the City Projects list on the Redwood City website, indicating that they are more than just a casual proposal. To ensure that my spreadsheet was up-to-date, I reviewed these new entries: entries that usually contain little beyond the address, the name of the developer, and some basic project details, along with an architect’s rendering of the project. As I was doing so, I found myself drawn to the project renderings. In particular, it occurred to me that in many cases the renderings were done in such a way that I could stand on the location from which the rendering appears to have been done, and take a “before” picture to match the rendering’s “after” image. Although I identified the project locations in my earlier post, and even included pictures, I thought that putting “before” and “after” images right next to each other would help us all imagine just what Redwood City will look like if and when these projects get built. Regretfully I don’t have the proper lenses to precisely match all of the renderings, but I think I did pretty well with what I do have. For the future, though, I may just have to do some lens shopping…

601 Marshall

The tall office building (eleven stories!) proposed for this site will replace the one-story building and its adjoining parking lot on Marshall, across from the Bank of America. Note that the San Mateo Credit Union, which is rather prominent in my “before” photo, would not be affected: 601 Marshall is in the right half of my photo. To take this photo I stood in the parking lot behind the San Mateo County History Museum (the old courthouse) with my back up against the museum; I need a much wider-angle lens than I currently own to properly match the rendering.



If you can’t quite tell from the architect’s depiction of the proposed building, that open space on the top of the corner “tower” is as an open-air terrace for use by the building’s tenants. For a slightly different (but more detailed) rendering that includes a better look at that rooftop space, see the developer’s web page for the project.

2075 Broadway

Given the way the rendering for this proposed building was done, to match it I would have had to have taken my photo from an airplane. I settled for a ground-level view instead. The City Projects entry for this new building, which would be located directly across Jefferson from the Old Spaghetti Factory, lists it as a six-story office building. From the architect’s depiction, however, it appears that the building will be six floors of offices on top of a ground-level floor dedicated to retail (with two levels of parking below ground).



As you can see, this building is going to stand out: 180,000 square feet in a 90-foot-tall building that is slated to replace the Powerhouse Gym, TanFastic, and C.E.A Travel. From Broadway, it will replace everything along Jefferson up to, but not including, our new Howie’s Artisan Pizza. In looking at the rendering it appears that the Arthur Murray dance studio (on Broadway, to the left of the building) would also be absorbed, but based on the planning maps it appears that this project will stop just short of that establishment. Whatever the actual footprint, I’m pleased to see that the building will maintain the amount of retail that exists there now. As for whether any of the current tenants will wind up in the new building, we’ll just have to wait and see.

30 California

30 California is the parking lot behind the Gourmet Haus Staudt, the German store on Broadway between El Camino and the Caltrain tracks. If you have been in the Redwood City Caltrain parking lot you’ve seen this spot, just across California. I can’t tell from the rendering which way the building will face, although the address (“30 California”) indicates that it may front onto California. If so, the first photo, below, would be the correct one, and the building would face the Caltrain tracks. But given the shape of the parking lot that this building will replace, I could just as easily see it facing Winklebleck Street (and the auto parts store); I thus took the second shot from that angle.




If you carefully count the windows in the above rendering, you’ll see that the proposed building is six stories of office space on top of a 26-space ground-level parking garage (note the parking garage entrance at the lower left of the rendering). Unlike most of the buildings going up in Redwood City right now, this one would have no underground parking.

815 Hamilton

Hamilton815MapAlthough this project is labeled “815 Hamilton”, I’m not convinced that this building will actually front onto that street. Because the location is a bit hard to describe, I’ve included the map you see to the right. In it, the brown bits labeled “27” are the Fox Theatre (and its parking lot), while the bit at the bottom labeled “19” is the Crossing/900 project. The dark green rectangle in the center of the map is the parcel with the address 815 Hamilton. Don’t let it deceive you, however: this project will be much bigger than that rectangle indicates. Indeed, it will extend to Hamilton, absorbing the small parking lot that is there now. If the building’s main entrance is to be on Hamilton, however, it would face the parking lot behind Pizza and Pipes—and somehow, I don’t think that that is what the architect has in mind. I’m assuming instead that this building will actually face the Crossing/900 development, which seems much more logical. This likely accounts for the address in the rendering being “888”; I’m guessing that the building’s actual address, once it is completed, would be 888 Winslow Street.

In the two “before” pictures, below, I’m showing the old “Prestige Portraits” building and the parking lot behind it. Even though the building has an “Available” sign on it, I believe that this building will be torn down, along with a small bit of the Fox Theatre that juts out towards it, and that the new building will occupy all of the then available space between the Fox Theatre building and Winslow Street, and between Hamilton and Theater Way (which is labeled Middlefield on the above map). For confirmation, we’ll have to wait until this project is actually approved.




550 Allerton

Of all my “before” photos, this one is probably the most accurate. Standing kitty-corner from where the building would stand (just to the north of the county buildings), I could easily get the angle that I needed on the parking lot that the developer hopes will one day house a six-story office building.



This project is planned to have 104 on-site parking spaces in addition to the building. Given that the parking lot that is there now doesn’t seem to have nearly that many spaces, one naturally wonders how the developer plans to do this. The answer? It will have two levels of parking—one underground, and one at street level (which you can see in the above rendering)—plus an “automated carousel parking feature”: something like what is available from Parkmatic. I believe that such a system would be a first for Redwood City! I kind-of hope that they put this in, since I’d love to see it in operation. I know that there are some places in San Francisco that use such a system, but I’ve never actually gotten to watch one.

Harbor View Place

This project, and the next, turned what for me was a nice leisurely stroll downtown into a serious walk. I had to cross over the freeway at Maple Street, loop around the under-construction Maple Street Correctional Center (I took lots of photos and will report on that project in a separate blog post), and walk down to where Malibu Grand Prix and the miniature golf center once stood. As you can see from the “before” picture (and as you know if you’ve done any driving along highway 101) most of what once stood on the property is now gone. My “before” picture was taken from across Blomquist Street, looking west towards 101. As best I can tell, comparing the rendering to the site plan, this is the direction that I needed to be facing. But the development will look pretty similar from 101. Also note that the rendering only shows two of the four nine-story buildings that the developer hopes to build, along with one of the three parking structures. So, when looking at the rendering, mentally double what you are seeing and you’ll get the basic idea.



The Jay Paul Company, who is developing Harbor View Place, has additional renderings, a site plan, and some additional information about the project at

One Marina Hotel

From the site of Harbor View Place I headed through Docktown and across our own “bridge to nowhere” to get to the site of the One Marina Hotel. Construction on our newest hotel—slated to be a 177-room Courtyard by Marriott—is underway. The last time I was at this location the Marina One sales office (which was in a temporary building) still stood on this site. It, and the associated parking lot, have since been cleared off and the land has been leveled out (and since I took this photo the piling-drilling rigs have been moved to the site). As well, the large sign advertising Marina One condominiums has been taken down, replaced by the smaller digital sign you can see on the right side of my picture. I took this particular photo while standing on the island in the center of the roundabout in front of the Boardwalk Auto dealerships. From this angle, highway 101 is to my immediate right: the hotel will be situated very close to the freeway with easy access via the Whipple Avenue exit.



Although the hotel is the last of the newly-added projects in the City Projects list (as yet!), because I had already come this far I went on to do some exploring of the final phase of Marina One, of the marina that they are building as part of the Marina One project, and of Pete’s Harbor—all good topics for future posts.

I hope that these “before” and “after” images give you a better idea of how Redwood City may look in the next year or two. Other projects may get added to the list, and there is no guarantee that all of these projects will get built. But their presence on the City Projects list indicates that there is a serious effort being made by the project developers, and thus each has a good chance of gracing our skyline in the relatively near future. Whatever happens, though, I’ll be out there walking; looking for the changes, both large and small, that make living in Redwood City interesting.

6 thoughts on “Before and After

  1. Pingback: For Art’s Sake | Walking Redwood City

  2. The renderings provided for 2075 Broadway and 815 Hamilton appear to be very early conceptual images. I hope both designs get cleaned up and retail space is still preserved on the ground floors. These are key sites within the downtown core. I’m hopefully that the final designs are interactive and thoughtful of their surroundings. I hadn’t realized 601 Marshall was so tall…It’s going to be interesting to see how the whole area behind the Museum, between the county buildings and Kaiser develops over time…eventually it will all be part of the downtown core. It’d be nice to see some retail/restaurants mixed into all the residential and commercial stuff.

  3. Very helpful to have the photos with the renderings. I just hope that we’ll have a mix of office space with retail spaces in the buildings that are closest to downtown. We need to be a balanced mix of commercial. Thank you for the blog!

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