Milestones

Things may seem quiet to some of you, but as I walk through Redwood City I continue to see businesses and development projects achieving new milestones. Some take a moment to sink in, as happened to me when I took this picture:

For those of you who don’t recognize this right off the bat, this is the 33-unit townhouse development at the corner of El Camino Real and Hopkins Avenue (where Honda Redwood City used to have their dealership up to a couple of years ago). This project — Link 33 by KB Home — took some time to build, and initial sales appeared to be somewhat sluggish. As I approached the development this week, I noticed a chair on the second-floor deck (right in the middle of that main building, behind the tree), indicating that that unit, at least, is now occupied. It took me a good minute or two after I took the above picture, though, to realize that in focusing on the chair, I was missing the bigger picture: the large yellow “New Homes” banner that ran vertically along that right-hand tower (on both the Hopkins Avenue and El Camino Real sides) is gone, as are the signposts with “For Sale” signs along some of the units facing El Camino Real. There are now no signs indicating that any of the units are still unsold, and indeed a quick check of the KB Home website indicates that none of the 33 units in this development appear to be still on the market. That’s a major milestone for this project, one I had thought might take much longer to reach.

Just a couple of blocks to the south from Link 33 is another thing that I somehow missed: the gelateria (gelato shop) that took over the space from Rolled Up Creamery, at 2621 Broadway (just across from City Pub), is open — and in fact has apparently been open in “soft opening mode” for a number of weeks now. I’m not sure how I missed that, but this week I paid them a visit and sampled their wares.

SF Gelateria may sound like a business that belongs in San Francisco, but their only store is the one right here in Redwood City. That store, shown above, is where they both make and sell their gelato and vegan sorbetto, in a variety of highly imaginative flavors. You can get individual servings in one of three sizes (using compostable cups and spoons — a nice touch), as well as what appear to be pre-packed pint-sized containers. I tried the salted caramel gelato, while my wife (I dragged her along for a second opinion) tried the lemon sorbetto. Both of them were excellent.

I suspect that SF Gelateria is going to be a big hit, and a terrific addition to Redwood City’s restaurant scene. They will be having their official “grand opening” soon, but there is no need to wait for that: they’re open right now. Oh, and they cater, for events both large (minimum order $800, serves 145-1000+ guests) and medium-sized (minimum order $275, serves 50+ guests), to locations anywhere within the Bay Area (including San Francisco). They also deliver pre-packed single-servings for somewhat smaller parties (minimum for delivery is 30 servings). See their website for information and to obtain a quote for your special event.

Speaking of grand openings, Curry Pizza House (in the “Box” building at 900 Middlefield Road, next to Old Port Lobster Shack) recently put a grand opening sign up, even though they’ve been operating from our location for a couple of months now:

Although I have yet to try one of their curry pizzas — yes, that’s what they are known for — I have tried one of their more normal ones, and I enjoyed it. I do plan to try a curry pizza one of these days, when I can work up the nerve… In any case, these folks have a couple of locations throughout the Bay Area, and so must have a winning formula that is worth checking out.

While I’m on the subject of downtown restaurants, I keep meaning to give Warung Siska a try. Although I cannot yet write a review, thanks to my not having tried their food, given that they’ve been open since July I do want to make mention of them before too much additional time passes. Warung Siska offers high-end Indonesian food at their 917 Main St. location, the former home of Nam Vietnamese Brasserie:

This week, Palo Alto Online’s “Peninsula Foodist” (Sara Hayden) wrote an excellent article, complete with a lengthy interview, about the restaurant and its creative team. The pictures that accompany that article show a variety of dishes, all of which look terrific.

Warung Siska is currently open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. For pick-up (curbside or in-restaurant) and delivery orders, you can either order online or place your order by phone: see their website for details. And, of course, you can dine in. Note, however, that the restaurant itself is walk-in only: they don’t accept reservations for parties less than six.

Restaurant openings are major milestones to be sure, particularly in our current environment. Another big milestone was recently reached when Greystar Development finished up their work and began leasing the 350 for-rent apartments in Highwater, at 1409 El Camino Real:

I have yet to see inside this particular building, but if it is anything like Greystar’s other Redwood City developments, the apartments will be high-end indeed. You can get a good idea of what you would be leasing by looking at the picture gallery on their website; if anything, these units are more luxurious than in Greystar’s previous developments. I hope to someday check out the building’s pool, which, I believe, gives the project its name (the pool is on the top floor, on the El Camino Real side; in the photo above you can see the railing along the edge of the pool deck high above the building’s main entrance). Oh, and if 350 apartments isn’t enough to choose from, Greystar’s next-door development, Huxley, also still has openings…

Not all milestones relate to new restaurants opening up, or apartment buildings being completed: I spent time both this week and last over at Red Morton Park, watching the initial demolition of the buildings currently occupying the site where Redwood City’s new Veteran’s Memorial/Senior Center building will soon be constructed. Most of the activity thus far has not been very visible from the street, since the initial demolition has focused on tearing out Herkner Pool:

I had to walk around the back, to the soccer field, in order to take the above photo. As you can see, as of last Tuesday the pool is pretty much gone, leaving only a large pile of concrete and another of metal rebar and fencing to be recycled. While there, I noticed a couple of guys doing manual demolition of parts of the adjacent Senior Center Annex (the “old 49’er building”). One guy was dressed in a bunny suit and was coming and going through a doorway partially sealed with plastic, leading me to wonder if perhaps there was some asbestos abatement going on. Certainly, that building appears to be of the right age for asbestos…

I plan to keep making weekly visits to the site in order to watch the demolition. All told, the contractors will be taking down all of the buildings on the east side of Nevada Street: the Senior Center Annex, Herkner Pool, and the NFL Alumni building. Only when the new Veterans Memorial/Senior Center building is complete and open for use will the focus turn to the existing Veterans Memorial/Senior Center building (on the west side of Nevada Street). The plan is to then tear that building down and build the new YMCA facility in its place.

While I was at the park, incidentally, I took the opportunity to drop off my ballot for the upcoming election. While I of course could have simply dropped my ballot in the mail, I suspected that, as was the case for our last election, there would be a drop box in the parking lot of the Community Activities Building at 1400 Roosevelt Ave. — so I brought my completed ballot (sealed in its envelope, with my signature) with me on my walk.

I took the above picture after dropping my ballot into the box. It is set up such that you can simply drive up and drop your ballot in without having to get out of your car, making it very convenient for those willing to make the trip. Not convenient for you? I haven’t checked, but I suspect that there also is a drop box in front of City Hall, at 1017 Middlefield Road. I do know for certain that there is one on Middlefield Road, near the intersection with Bradford Street, since that is where my wife dropped hers off.

This election is extremely important; if you have yet to vote, please do. You need only fill in a bubble or two, seal your ballot in the included envelope, and sign your name. Then either drop it in a mailbox, or, better yet, into one of the many official ballot drop boxes around the county. It couldn’t be much easier…

Speaking of elections, the process of redrawing Redwood City’s seven election districts for future City Council elections is underway. Yes, we just did this a year or two ago, but we need to do it again to reflect the results of the 2020 US Census. Although we have until April 2022 to complete the process, it takes a lot of time and requires a lot of community input, meaning that there will be a number of community workshops to gather input on how the districts should be laid out. Two of the workshops have already been held, for Districts 1 (Redwood Shores) and 2 (roughly, the Bair Island, Centennial, Downtown, and Mt. Carmel neighborhoods). The workshop for District 3 (essentially, Friendly Acres, Redwood Village, and parts of Stambaugh-Heller) is scheduled for September 8, with other workshops covering the remaining districts to follow. See the city’s Redistricting Process web page to see the complete schedule, and, if possible, attend your district’s workshop (on Zoom) to give your feedback. The results of this process controls how we vote for City Council members, so this is not something to be taken lightly.

One small final item before I close: the long hoped-for Highway 101 Pedestrian Undercrossing project is still not yet open to the public. This week I again visited the site, this time making my way to the eastern side to check on the progress there. The staging area has been cleaned up and the construction equipment is all gone; only the construction fences remain. On that eastern side, the ground has been prepared for planting, but the landscape plants have yet to be installed (they appear to be all in place on the western side, at the end of Main Street). So perhaps we’re just waiting for some final landscaping work before this vital link between the two halves of Redwood City is open and available for our use. I’ll keep watching, and I’ll let you know when this particular milestone is reached.

I must say I like the yellow sign, which says Caution: Vertical Clearance 9’. That’s enough space for me…

4 thoughts on “Milestones

  1. Another yes vote for Warung Siska. It’s great. Thanks for alerting us to its existence.
    I can’t wait for the 101 underpass to finally open. We’ve been planning family bike rides to Bair Island for a long time. If people use it and the city pays attention to upkeep, it will be a real asset, especially if the SF Bay trail is ever completed through the old salt ponds across 84.

  2. The pedestrian under crossing of 101 will end up as a Homeless encampment . I’s put money on it. Noticed that there are a lot of small Mom and Pop shops missing Down Town. Funny how San Carlos seems to fit that niche’ better and better each day.

  3. The new Indonesian restaurant, Warung Siska, is excellent. We went with our son’s Indonesian girlfriend and she thought it was great.

  4. Having the President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce as a member of the Redistricting Committee tells you everything you need to know about how Council views this committee. The incestuous link between big business/developers with City Council only grows stronger by the day despite the fake veneer that this is all about diversity and inclusion.

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