Slow News Week

Setting aside Monday’s City Council meeting, at which the Council heard and gave feedback on Greystar Development’s latest version of their South Main Mixed-Use project — it’ll likely be a year before this project goes to the City Council for formal approval, assuming that it gets that far, so there is still plenty of time to talk about it — things are relatively quiet in Redwood City right now. At least, that’s the case for our handful of larger projects, which continue to move along but are mostly still a long way from completion. If one only looks at those big projects, it would be easy to dismiss this past week as a slow one for news. However, I keep a list of all the little things I see as I walk around the city, and that list is getting fairly long. Thus, although I’ve titled this post “Slow News Week,” in reality it was nothing of the kind!

To begin with, you’ve probably already heard, but Yumi Yogurt, across El Camino Real from Sequoia High School, will close its Redwood City location for good this Sunday, September 15. They’ve been in this, their original location, since starting the business back in 1984. However, their lease has come to an end and the aged building needs substantial renovations, which the owners of Yumi Yogurt cannot afford. So, if you want to get your last taste of some really good frozen yogurt, drop by this weekend. If it is any consolation, Yumi Yogurt has stores in San Mateo and Santa Clara, which are staying open.

If you regularly drive on Whipple Avenue to and from the freeway, you are probably aware that Redwood City has one less McDonald’s.

Curiously, all of the signs have been stripped from the building, but, at least when I was there, the American flag was still flying. In any case, this is the McDonald’s location that is slated to become a Chick-fil-A (or so I presume; Chick-fil-A apparently is unwilling to confirm that at this time, although they were granted a permit to erect Chick-fil-A signs on the building back in June, and in March they applied for a permit, not yet granted, to tear down the McDonald’s building and construct an all-new restaurant on the site).

Next door to the now-closed McDonald’s, Pizza Hut seems to be doing well. This delivery and take-out location (it isn’t a proper restaurant) has been located at the corner of Whipple Avenue and Industrial Way for a number of years now. The reason I mention this at all is because before it was a Pizza Hut, it was a Dunkin’ Donuts store [Correction: as reader LynnieU noted, it actually was a Winchell’s]. And as you may have heard, Dunkin’ (they’ve apparently dropped the word “Donuts” from their name) is coming back to Redwood City. They won’t be moving back into their old Whipple Avenue location, however. No, their new location will be on Woodside Road at Central Avenue (which becomes Hudson Street as it crosses Woodside Road):

I believe they still have a lot of work to do inside, but they were certainly quick to get their exterior signs up.

More closings. Kohlweiss Auto Parts, on Veterans Boulevard and Maple Street, has closed. It seems that Frank Kohlweiss, the proprietor, is retiring after some 38 years in business. Although I’m saddened at the loss of another local business, I’m glad that the closing wasn’t due to our area’s high rents.

Finally, I believe that they’ve been gone for a while, but Yummly, who used to have their headquarters in Redwood City, has moved back to Palo Alto (they started there, and then moved to Redwood City). Most recently they had been located in this building, which is surrounded on two sides by the Marston apartments complex:

This small two-story office building is slated to be torn down and replaced with a six-story office building with an internal parking garage. I wrote about this project back in March (see my post Stack ‘em up) and will write more once the project, which was approved by the Planning Commission back in February, actually gets underway.

Enough with the closings. I was a bit surprised — although I probably shouldn’t have been — to see that our Cost Plus World Market retail space — Cost Plus vacated their Redwood City location some months ago — is going to be, at least for the season, a Spirit Halloween store.

This store, of course, is located at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Middlefield Road, in the Century Theaters building. I’m not sure I’ve ever been into one of these “pop-up” stores; I’ll have to check them out.

Out on El Camino Real, I was delighted when I saw that the empty Collision Kings shop on El Camino Real at Lincoln Avenue (near Davies Appliance) is being revitalized as a Caliber Collision auto body shop. I hate to see empty buildings sit around for very long, and of course it is really nice when an empty building is freshened up and reused mostly as-is, as is the case with this building:

I should note that Collision Kings didn’t go out of business. You can still find them in Redwood City, just at a different location. Today they can be found at 2259 Spring Street. As for Caliber Collision, they seem to be growing rapidly. They already have at least one Redwood City location, at 1800 Industrial Way. And I’ve seen their signs elsewhere in the Bay Area as well. I guess the body shop business is good these days? Perhaps with the ever increasing price of cars, people are keeping them longer, preferring to simply fix up what they have rather than buy new. Sort of like what many people are doing with their houses.

Nikko’s Mexican Grill, on Broadway just east of the Caltrain tracks (next door to Kristie Marie’s) closed recently. From the liquor license posted in the window this restaurant location is becoming something called “Simply Veggies,” and it will be serving beer and wine. Other than the fact that the two proprietors of the new business are both Redwood City residents, I’ve yet to learn anything about this new venture. Although we can probably make a good guess, based on the name “Simply Veggies.”

I didn’t get a photo, but Sports Basement is slowly expanding into the old Pacific Sales space in Kohl’s Plaza. Thus, they will indeed be occupying three full storefronts (the old Toys ‘R Us, the old Babies ‘R Us, and Pacific Sales). I had thought that they would be turning the Pacific Sales space into classrooms and such, but a Sports Basement employee told me that in fact they are going to expand their sales floor into there: the bike sales and shop will be moving in along with some other stuff, making room in the old Babies ‘R Us space for more of everything else. The front of the Pacific Sales space has been painted green to match the other spaces, but above the front windows there are large letters that spell out the word “Community.” I asked about that, and was told that the intent is to reinforce the idea that Sports Basement is more than just a sporting goods store:  that they represent a community of people with sporting interests in common. Along those lines, I was told that various outside organizations — companies and even a group of teachers — have been holding meetings in the “living rooms” scattered around Sports Basement’s enormous space. I don’t know what, if anything, Sports Basement charges to use their space in that way, but it certainly is an interesting take on a retail operation. Do check them out if you haven’t been in yet.

Lastly, the small building at 1531 Main Street, which most recently contained the kitchens for a meal delivery business called “Farm Hill” — they seem to have gone out of business sometime last year — and before that was home to La Azteca Mexican Restaurant, is apparently being remodeled for use by DoorDash.

I can only assume that this will simply be some offices for the San Francisco-based company — but perhaps DoorDash is getting into some other aspect of the business and needs a kitchen? I’ll be keeping an eye on this building, to see what I can learn.

That’s about it for this week. Clearly, even for a “slow news week” Redwood City still has a lot going on…

12 thoughts on “Slow News Week

  1. It was a long time ago. But wasn’t it’s first Dough-Nut Shop called the “The Donut Stop” manager and owner’s first name “Rex”? Moving to that location on Whipple from 744 Woodside road ?

    • I have no idea what the delay was. Once they open hopefully I’ll get a chance to ask. I’m just glad that they are finally about there, and hope that they manage to find enough employees. It appears that CoffeeBar did; they’re having a soft opening on Wednesday the 18th.

  2. I don’t recall the Pizza Hut being a Dunkin‘ Donuts. I do recall it when it was Winchell’s donuts~ they had that great photo of a chocolate donut 🍩 on it.

    • Welcome to the wonderful world of commercial real estate! You would think that it should be something that the property owner should pay for, but it is quite common in commercial leases to require the tenant to pay for most repairs and improvements. As appears to be the case in this situation.

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