All in a Row

I’m not always successful, but whenever possible in my blog posts I try to tie together the various items about which I am writing. For this week’s post, that turned out to be pretty easy: all of the things I’m going to discuss are all in a row, along a linear path through Redwood City that has several names: Broadway, Marshall Street, and Hopkins Avenue. I begin this week down towards the southern end of this line, at the Stanford in Redwood City campus.

Just last week a new project appeared on Redwood City’s Development Projects list: Stanford Precise Plan Block E. Since that name really doesn’t give any idea of just what the project is about, here is the brief description on the project web page:

Stanford Health Care propose to demolish the existing building and develop a 227,000 square foot medical office building and 1,107 parking spaces comprised from a basement parking level and parking within the building, a two level freestanding parking structure and surface parking.

That sentence is a bit of a mouthful, and not entirely clear, but one of the key things to know is that this is a medical office building that is going to be part of Stanford Health Care. Thus, if you drive (or walk) down Broadway, it will be on the left side (between Broadway and Highway 101), rather than on the right side (which is Stanford’s non-medical, non-academic campus in Redwood City). Stanford Health Care already has four large medical buildings, buildings that briefly were the headquarters of Excite@Home, a  large Internet company that declared bankruptcy in mid 2002. Stanford purchased the buildings in 2005 and remodeled them to suit their needs, opening their Stanford Medicine Outpatient Center there in late 2007. In 2009 Stanford Medical shifted additional services their Redwood City campus, and in 2018 Stanford performed a major remodel so that they could transfer their Digestive Health Center and Endoscopy suite there as well. This most recent remodel included the construction of a large parking garage between the medical buildings and the freeway:

The reason that I included the above picture is because this latest project proposal includes a second parking garage that should look a lot like the one shown above. It will be located between the proposed medical office building and the freeway, where today there is nothing but a large surface parking lot:

In front of that existing parking lot are two two-story buildings, one of which currently houses the offices of Stanford University Press and Stanford University Libraries. That particular building, which is the larger of the two, sits out on Broadway:

Between the building shown above and the parking lot in the very back is the second building, 510 Broadway:

Stanford plans to tear both of these buildings down, and replace them with this:

It may look like a very drastic change, and compared with what is there today it is. Honestly, though, this new building will probably fit in better with the existing medical campus buildings (which will be right next door) and with the non-medical campus buildings directly across Broadway.

The tall portion of the building will be nine stories, and will rise 146 feet to the top of the parapet. The shorter bit to the side will be about three stories, or 49 feet, tall. The building will incorporate five levels of parking within (one below ground), adding to the parking provided in the separately constructed, two-level parking garage. Including some measure of surface parking, this project will be able to accommodate just over 1,100 vehicles.

This project is part of Stanford’s phased approach to building out their medical campus in Redwood City, and apparently is a sign that their medical campus is doing well. Certainly it seems to be a busy place…

Heading north on Broadway I next came to the Broadway Plaza project site. I last wrote about this site when I noted that demolition of the largely empty shopping center had begun. Since then the crews have continued to work, and the buildings that are to be torn down at this time are gone. All that is left are a number of neat piles: the buildings were separated into their component pieces (concrete, metal, etc.) for recycling, and those piles are now being dealt with.

The CVS pharmacy will remain open until its new location across Woodside Road has been built and they’ve moved into it. Along with the CVS pharmacy, a couple of the smaller stores, all of which are empty, remain. I presume that these will be torn down along with the CVS when the time comes:

Note the giant pile you can see to the right. That is ground-up concrete that will likely remain on-site and used during the construction phase.

After watching for a while I continued up Broadway and followed Spring Street to Marshall Street. There I came to the block that is being cleared by San Mateo County for their newest office building. Only one building remains, and that one is well on its way down:

Look closely and you’ll realize that all that is left of this building are the four exterior walls and some steel support framing. The roof is gone, the interior is completely cleared out, and the workers you can see are carefully taking the building apart piece-by-piece. I watched the two guys on the cherry picker using a cutting torch to remove the trim piece that went around the top edge of the building: apparently it is made of metal. The building has a great deal of steel framing (you can see the orange colored beams that supported the ceiling through the large openings on the Middlefield Road side of the building); those beams will soon be taken down and either reused or recycled.

In the above picture you can just make out the words “First American Title,” who at one time occupied this building. When I walked around the back I was interested to see the words “San Mateo County Title Co.” painted there. Apparently at one time this was the main office of San Mateo County Title (they had a branch office in San Mateo as well). It appears that San Mateo County Title was eventually absorbed by First American Title, so finding the two names on the building makes sense.

No matter the name, though, this building will soon be gone, and the block will be entirely clear and ready for the construction of County Office Building #3.

Continuing up Marshall Street, I of course rejoined Broadway. I kept heading up Broadway and eventually found myself on Hopkins Avenue. There I looked for visible evidence of the Hopkins Avenue Traffic Calming Project, but so far all of the work has been concentrated on the intersection of Hopkins Avenue and Alameda de Las Pulgas. The last time I checked in on this project, work was going on to reshape the small triangular “parklet” located at this intersection, making way for a dedicated left-turn lane on Alameda (to Hopkins Avenue). Today when I visited the curbing had been completed and Alameda de Las Pulgas had been repaved. Except for the fact that the striping has yet to be laid down, you’d be hard pressed to know that anything other than a simple street resurfacing project had been done here:

Today people heading down Alameda can turn left before the parklet (before the orange traffic posts in the above picture) but in short order that will no longer be the case. Thanks to the new left turn lane that will appear just as soon as the paint has been laid down, drivers heading south on Alameda de Las Pulgas wanting to head east on Hopkins Avenue will instead have to go all the way to the intersection (roughly where that white pickup truck is in the picture above) and use the new left-turn lane. Going the opposite way, vehicles heading west on Hopkins Avenue wanting to turn north on Alameda de Las Pulgas will still have the option to use the cutoff, which will become a one-way segment with a prominent lane for bicycles.

Whatever its name (Broadway, Marshall Street, or Hopkins Avenue) this one thoroughfare through Redwood City is clearly an important artery. There are many more things going on along it than just the four I’ve called out above. But these projects are a sign of just how much continues to go on in Redwood City, when four significant projects like this can be found all in a row.

2 thoughts on “All in a Row

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