Summer Breeze

As I write this, I’m in San Diego, looking out at the ocean and enjoying a cool breeze coming in from across the water. And, as it turns out, “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts is playing on the radio. Although it is technically no longer summer — we’re into fall now — I’m ignoring the technicalities and am very much enjoying the weather. At the same time, I am as always thinking about the goings-on in Redwood City, which, as usual, involves a couple of new projects.

First up is one that I’ve talked about before: the five-story office building planned for 601 Allerton St. This is one of the “gatekeeper” projects; thus, I wrote about it in some detail back in late May, in my post Better Than Ever. Back then the city “initiated” the project, meaning that they agreed to begin the process of amending the Downtown Precise Plan — which established limits on how much development could be done in the downtown area, limits that in some cases have been reached and thus need to be increased. Since then the project’s developer, Premia Capital, has been working to fine-tune their proposal. And recently they submitted that proposal to the city for formal consideration.

Although the city has yet (as I write this) to post to their website the simple plans that typically accompany a proposal such as this, the project doesn’t appear to be vastly different from what they described during the gatekeeper hearing — and their presentation included some very basic plans that made clear their intentions. Based on data on the project’s webpage, though, it appears that Premia Capital has reduced the size of their building somewhat, from 85,300 square feet of office space back during the gatekeeper presentation to 80,579 square feet now (the building’s height remains unchanged, at 59 feet and five stories). More significantly, the capacity of the underground parking garage was reduced from 220 spaces to 132. That drop is enough to make me wonder if the garage, which was two levels of underground parking in the gatekeeper proposal, may now only be a single underground level. Or, perhaps the original plan to use an elevator to get cars down to the garage, and a valet service, have been dropped in favor of a more conventional arrangement. Whichever it is, we’ll know for sure soon, when those plans hit the website.

Otherwise, the building’s essential elements — its size and shape, the small ground-level public cafe on the corner of Allerton and Fuller streets, and the two futsal courts and small clubhouse on the building’s roof — remain virtually unchanged. I should note that the futsal courts will still be open to the public, and that members of the public will be able to take advantage of the garage parking (but possibly only during non-work hours; we don’t yet have enough detail to know).

Here is a rendering of the building’s current design:

And here is a picture of the building currently on the site, a two-story building that is home to our local office of the Social Security Administration:

It will likely be some months before this project goes up for approval, whether it be by the Planning Commission or the City Council. When it does, we’ll all have the opportunity to hear the developer’s presentation, get additional details, and comment on the project.

As is often the case with Redwood City development projects, 601 Allerton was not the only one to pop up on the website this week. Three weeks ago, one of my readers tipped me off to a project in the works for a site just across Bay Road from Andrew Spinas Park and the Stanford in Redwood City campus. Just days ago that project was added to the city’s Development Projects webpage, as the 2966 Bay Road project (although the developer seems to be referring to it as 2950 Bay Road).

The proposed building itself is a rather simple one, with a somewhat deceptive design. I mean, just look at it:

That’s a three-story building, right? Well, sort-of. The ground floor, except for that small lobby on the corner, is primarily a parking garage. As for the upper two floors, they are mostly just one: this building is planned to be a double-height research and development (R&D) space, with a relatively small mezzanine, located at what would be the third-floor level, along one side of the building.

Thanks to the early warning I received, a couple of weeks ago I walked down to the site and took a bunch of “before” photographs. The primary business occupying the site where this building would stand is a Mexican restaurant: Mi Hacienda Taqueria.

This new Research and Development building would replace the restaurant, its parking lot (on the right, in the above image), and the next-door business on Bay Road, Pro Tires:

Here is a second rendering, showing the proposed building from the air:

Directly across Bay Road from the project site is Andrew Spinas Park and the Stanford in Redwood City campus (the green bits in the lower right corner of the rendering).

This rendering helps illustrate one of the fascinating things about this project. From it, you probably get the impression that it would really stand out from its surroundings. But, in fact, that isn’t likely to be the case. In one of those weird quirks of Redwood City’s border, the two parcels that would be merged in order to enable construction of this building — the parcels that are home to Mi Hacienda Taqueria and Pro Tires today — are the only parts of this particular block that lie within Redwood City. Everything else on that same side of Bay Road (which is the street running left-to-right in the above rendering) is within an unincorporated part of San Mateo County. And, as it turns out, everything to the right of this proposed building down to Barron Avenue (look for the crosswalk running across Bay Road), and much of the land behind the building stretching the width of the block are already controlled by this project’s developer — Bauen Capital — who plans to build an L-shaped, three-story, 268,525-square foot office building there. That explains why this building is entirely made up of R&D space, with no conventional offices; the larger building that will surround it on two sides will have plenty of office space. Not having seen any drawings for the second building, I’m guessing that together the two buildings will look to be part of a single campus. But “our” R&D building will be in Redwood City, while the rest of the development will be on unincorporated land.

As for the Redwood City portion, though, the building proposed for 2966 Bay Road will be, as I said, largely a one-story, double-height space intended for R&D work. It will provide about 14,464 square feet of space in total, with about 3,750 of those square feet located on a mezzanine looking out over the main floor. Beneath all of that is the building’s parking garage, which — refreshingly — only has 30 parking spaces. The building’s footprint provides plenty of room for those 30 spaces, meaning that no valets or mechanical stackers will be needed. For a change, cars entering the garage will have plenty of room to maneuver into a parking space, with no assistance required.

This is a simple little project, one that will likely sail through the approval process. The developer has noted the proximity of this development to Stanford’s Redwood City campus, guessing that there is some synergy to be had there. It certainly would fit in well with the similarly modern buildings on that campus, at least from a visual standpoint, and may spur further development in the area — which most likely would be on land within the county, of course.

So much for my summer breeze: as I write this a storm has moved in. Although we have yet to receive any real rain here where I am staying, I’ve heard a couple of loud thunderclaps, and I can see rain falling far out over the ocean. The weather service has noted a possibility of lightning and even some hail, although I’m a bit skeptical that I’ll see any of that. But it certainly is a change from the weather I left behind in Redwood City…

Speaking of leaving Redwood City, knowing that we were going to be making the long drive (about eight hours) between Redwood City and San Diego last Tuesday, on Sunday I pulled my car out of the garage and checked its tires. Wouldn’t you know it — one of my tires was flat. I couldn’t see any visible source of the problem, so I pumped it up and then first thing Monday morning took the car over to America’s Tire, at the corner of Broadway and Chestnut Street. I’ve used them before and had excellent service, so I was confident when I pulled in just before 8 a.m. (I wanted to be there right when they opened) that they would help me out. Because I was the first one through the door, they immediately put my car on the rack and took off the damaged tire. Once off, it was clear what the problem was (a nail), and, unfortunately, it was in a part of the tire that made it non-repairable. But after some checking, my salesperson found the tire I needed in Millbrae, and arranged to have it transferred to their store that same day.

Of course, things were going too well. About 2:30 that day I got a call: the tire had gotten misplaced in transit (apparently, they use FedEx to transfer tires between stores — who knew?). However, because they knew that I had to be on the road the next day, they offered to give me a “loaner tire” of another brand, and said that when I return to Redwood City they’ll swap it for the tire that matches the other three on my car. That worked fine for me — I just wanted to get on the road, and don’t care if the brand names on my tires don’t exactly match — so I gave them the green light. By 4:30 that same day I was driving back home, ready to pack the car for our early start on Tuesday morning.

All of this is to say that I got great service from America’s Tire, and am happy to recommend them to any of you who need tire service for your vehicles.

[9/27/21: In a previous version of this post I made mention of America’s Tire advertising in the long-gone Spectrum Magazine, but I likely confused them with the business next door, Redwood General Tire — from whom I’ve also gotten great service in the past, I should note. I’ve since deleted the reference.]

2 thoughts on “Summer Breeze

  1. I know that progress is inevitable, but losing The Hacienda will make me feel a lot less safe. The cops are always there— not working, as a hangout!— so we know they are available if we need them. That building is also the new home of the After School Homework Center.

    • Donna,

      Excellent point about the relative “community value” of the restaurant vs. the R&D center! I, personally, would love it if we could mandate first floor, locally-owned retail as a part of these new developments–just like we mandate parking.

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