Last week I took an 11-mile walk that started in the vicinity of Sequoia Hospital, went down Alameda de las Pulgas to Woodside Road, turned down Woodside Road until I reached Broadway, headed up Broadway to Chestnut Street, jogged over to Veterans Boulevard, went up Veterans to Main Street, and then wound through downtown before heading back home. I took that walk on election day, with the intent to take my mind off things. And it worked, at least for the duration of the walk. Last week I wrote about some of what I saw (in Only in Redwood City) but I had to leave a lot out to keep that post from getting too long. This week I thought I’d fill in some gaps and write about a couple of other things I saw while I was out that day.
My description of my walk isn’t quite accurate in that you cannot actually walk along Woodside Road from Alameda de las Pulgas to Broadway: things get tricky when you get to the overpass over El Camino Real. In actuality when I got close to El Camino Real I jogged north, intending to walk down Chestnut Street. When I got there, though, I realized that I should pay a visit to the site of the 1180 Main Street project, since it was only a couple of blocks farther along. So I continued north along Main Street until I got to the construction site:
This thing is really coming along. When complete it will be a three-story, 109,000-square-foot office building sitting atop a two-level subterranean parking garage. Entry to that garage will be from Elm Street, right across from today’s Main & Elm restaurant (which is where I was standing when I took this photo). This will be a triangular building placed along one side of a pentagonal lot; the remaining space, along Lathrop Street, will be open to the public and will include an exposed section of Redwood Creek. That should be a nice place to sit and take a break, as will one of the building’s more interesting architectural features: a broad outdoor staircase leading to the building’s second floor from the property corner where Maple Street meets the Caltrain tracks.
The above picture shows that end of the building. Note the sloping corrugated metal structure at the end of the building: that is where the staircase will go (I presume that the staircase itself will sit atop that sheet metal; it will be as wide as that end of the building, at least at the top).
Although you can’t tell it from the photograph, there will be a public walkway that runs between the Caltrain tracks and the building, separated from the tracks by a fence and/or by plantings — basically where the construction fencing is in the photo. I’m looking forward to being able to walk along that side of the building; currently when I’m heading that way I have to cross the tracks and follow Pennsylvania Avenue (a grand name for what is really just an alley) and then cross back over when I get to Maple Street.
Since that I had made it to Maple Street, I decided to take yet another a detour into downtown to check up on the 929 Main Street project, which is the transformation of what used to be the Young’s Auto Parts building:
As you can see, the historic portion of the building is retaining its front facade. The interior of the building has been completely reworked, though, and a two-story addition has been made to the rear. You can see that addition looming over the historic portion in the above photo. Note that above the historic portion will be a large rooftop deck; depending upon who ends up leasing this building, it might be one of those rare downtown rooftops that we members of the public can actually enjoy. Then again, the upper story may well be leased out for an office use, with the lower story being some sort of retail or restaurant operation, so perhaps not.
This picture shows the same building as viewed from the rear — from Maple Street. Here the two-story addition is quite visible. That tall concrete block shaft will house an elevator, while the shorter one to the right, which I believe will get taller, will house a stairwell.
From there I headed over to Middlefield Road and followed it to Chestnut Street. That gave me a great opportunity to admire the tremendous work being done on the Middlefield Road Phase 1 Underground Utility District and Streetscape project. The name may be a mouthful, but it is accurate: the two goals of the project are to underground the many unsightly overhead utility wires, and to improve the streetscape by widening the sidewalks, putting in planters and benches, and attractive new streetlights. The last time I wrote about this project the west side of the street had largely been done; now the work is wrapping up on the east side. And although the overhead wires are still in place, all of the underground conduits have been run beneath the street, so at some point in the future the wires will be threaded through those conduits and the overhead lines will be taken down.
As you can see in the above picture, the new sidewalks are quite generous — 14 feet, I believe — and made using two differing colors of concrete. The intersections have ben nicely rounded, with bulb-outs that shorten the distance a pedestrian must travel when crossing the street. And of course there are planters on the corners and in various spots along the way. Just imagine what this will look like when the overhead wires and wooden power poles have been removed. This is a real upgrade for this part of the city.
I took this picture to show the new streetlamp that are being installed. Here you can see the classic-looking lamps that will light up the sidewalk, and the modern LED streetlamp that will illuminate the street. Note the old streetlamp towering above the new one; that lamp is attached to one of the wooden power poles. Those poles and their attached lamps will come down once the overhead power, phone, and TV cable wires have been moved underground.
I took a leisurely stroll down this new sidewalk until I reached Chestnut Street, which I then followed down to Broadway. The reason I was aiming for Broadway and Woodside Road is because that is the site of the large Broadway Plaza project; I wanted to check on the progress there.
I found plenty of activity at the Broadway Plaza site, although for now the work is being concentrated on Bay Road — which is closed between Chestnut Street and Woodside Road for purposes of construction (it likely will remain closed for quite some time). Closing Bay Road gives the construction crews free rein to really tear into the street and upgrade the utilities as necessary for the large office and residential buildings to come.
Not all of the work being done that day was confined to Bay Road. I also noted that a good-sized trench was being dug in the shopping center parking lot just behind the Denny’s restaurant. Whether it was being done for more soil testing, or to run utilities from another direction, I’m not sure.
Speaking of Denny’s, they sure have an impressive outdoor seating area. Which is even more impressive when you consider that, at the moment, San Mateo County restaurants are allowed to use up to 50% of their indoor seating. I was there about 3:30 p.m. and the outside tables weren’t being used, but I’ve driven by a couple of times in the morning hours and people seem to be enjoying sitting out-of-doors. Maybe not as much now that our weather has turned cold, though…
Last week I showed a picture of the Bradford Street project (Arroyo Green); while there I also took a couple of pictures of the 610 Walnut Street project:
As you can see, this six-story office building (with an underground parking garage) will sit tight against the Marston apartments building. As is typical with projects like these, the underground garage and foundation work took a while, but now that that is complete, the above-ground work is moving along pretty quickly.
Across Veterans Boulevard, the 353 Main Street project — which will be a 125-unit affordable apartment building — is also starting to move along, now that all of the site preparation work has been done. This particular project will not have an underground parking garage; the two-level parking garage will be internal to the building and will be entirely above ground. Which explains the high solid walls that are being built along the back side of what will be the garage:
Continuing along Main Street, the Highway 101 Pedestrian Undercrossing project continues to proceed slowly, in fits and starts. I do wish that this project could be wrapped up; I for one will get a great deal of use out of it.
That is the last of the highlights from my walk last week, so I’ll stop there. Elsewhere in the city projects continue to make progress, although there are a couple that appear dead in the water. But I’ll keep those for another time. For now, keep warm and dry, and stay safe. And take a walk now and then! There is a lot to see out there. If you can’t, though, keep reading; I’ll be back next week with another update on what I see as I walk through Redwood City (and beyond).
If you were as interested in the various Halloween decorations around Redwood City as I was, the city has put a video up on YouTube with the results of their “Haunt Your Home” Halloween home decorating contest. It’s a short watch, and shows off some great decorations. I expect it’ll get some people thinking about next year’s competition!
Some years ago I joined you for a shorter evening walk downtown & my have things changed. I appreciate very much how you have kept us informed and I like all the pictures. I’m sorry to say I do not enjoy downtown anymore after so much buildup.
Won’t there be an excess of commercial rental space in RC with all this building going on ?
I hate to see lots of for rent/lease signs once the dust settles and COVID is fading, and whatever “open space” there was having been turned into a cement monument.
Apparently lots of people will be working from home….
I am in Phoenix, AZ have the same thoughts about excess commercial rental space here. Do not understand why some developers are not looking at working with the city on repurposing this for housing. Instead more new multi-unit housing going up.