Those of you who are regular readers of my blog might have wondered why there wasn’t a post last week. I’ve been writing this blog since August of 2013, and starting with my 36th post, which I published on January 9, 2015, I don’t believe I’ve missed a week — until last Friday. Life took priority that week, though: my father passed away on Monday the 24th, and I spent that week with my family in the San Diego area mourning his loss and figuring out just where we go from here. My mom having passed in late 2020, we now have two houses (along with their furniture and countless personal items) to dispose of, one in Los Angeles and one in San Diego County. I expect that doing so is going to keep us all fairly busy, off and on, for months to come. So if I miss another post or two in the year 2022, that’s likely the reason.
I was gone for a week, and so much happened! First off, in the continuing saga of the South Main Mixed-Use/ELCO Yards project, I previously noted that Towne Ford had moved out to the Boardwalk Auto Mall, and wondered when Hopkins Acura might move and/or close. While I was gone, we got our answer:
I was pleased to see that they moved, and thus remain in business in Redwood City. But like Towne Ford, who took over the Towne Mazda space at the Boardwalk Auto Mall (Towne Mazda having closed to make way), Boardwalk Nissan also had to close in order to make way for Hopkins Acura. Although owners of Nissan vehicles can still have their vehicles served at the Boardwalk Auto Mall (and there are still a couple of used Nissan vehicles out there for sale), anyone looking for a new Nissan will now have to go elsewhere. I walked out to the auto mall a couple of days ago to check out the situation for myself, and noted that the Nissan logo remains on the building for the moment — but likely not for very long:
There is a temporary “Hopkins Acura” banner on the side of this building (which is just past the old Century Park 12 Theaters site); this is now where you’ll find new and used Acura vehicles, as well as where you’ll get those vehicles serviced.
While I was there, I checked in on Towne Ford; they appear to be completely moved in, with a full slate of vehicles on the lot in front of the dealership building:
With Towne Ford having vacated their El Camino location, the developer of the South Main Mixed-Use/ELCO Yards project is wasting no time getting that enormous project underway. Although it doesn’t appear that demolition permits have yet to be issued (at least, they aren’t showing as having been issued on the city’s website), permit approval may well be imminent: construction fences have gone up around most if not all of the buildings on the six blocks that make up the project site, and today I saw PG&E disconnecting those buildings from power.
(Note the dangling wires just to the right of the garage door; until recently they were connected to a power line that came from a power pole just across the street.)
On one of the other project parcels, some bits of the Redwood Roller Rink building (the rink having been closed years ago) have been removed. In particular, the sign that had been affixed to the building, and the leading edge of the entrance overhang have both been removed:
I’m sure that just as soon as the demolition permit is issued (it was applied for some time ago), this building will be the first to go. Second, perhaps, will be the building at 1304 El Camino Real, where the project’s “building F” — a 38-unit affordable apartment building — is to be constructed. I observed people working in and around the single-story building that stands on the site today, and went by to photograph their efforts after they had gone.
Note the cones on El Camino Real (against the left edge of the photograph) and the construction easels along Jackson Avenue. According to signs on those easels, work will take place on this site from Monday, February 7 through the end of March. That initial work may just be limited to utility work beneath the two streets bordering this building — many, many spots on the street have been marked — but demolition will surely take place soon (here, too, a demo permit has been applied for, but not yet granted). I should note that one permit that has been issued for this site is for a temporary power pole, which is often the first step of a new construction project.
At yet another location on the project site, the Main & Elm restaurant has closed, and this week I observed people on that building’s roof doing work of some sort. They may well have been disconnecting power from the building; it likely will be torn down soon as well. For those who’ve enjoyed the Main & Elm restaurant, the plan is for a new incarnation of that restaurant, likely with a new name (since it will no longer be located near the intersection of Main and Elm streets) to open in the rebuilt “Perry Feeds” shed at Chestnut and Spring streets. However, it should be a couple of years before the recreated shed is suitable for occupancy, so you’ll need to be patient. Oh, and don’t let the “Open” sign on the existing Main & Elm building fool you; the graffiti (which hopefully won’t be there for long) should be your clue that Main & Elm is not longer open and serving:
There is a lot going on with the South Main Mixed-Use/ELCO Yards project, but this being Redwood City, there is of course work going on elsewhere in the city as well. While I was over taking a look at the Boardwalk Auto Mall, I took the opportunity to walk across the creek and check on the progress of the county’s Navigation Center. There, the elevation of the site (to protect against sea level rise) is moving swiftly, and may in fact be complete:
Around the corner, I noticed a number of large, white plastic-wrapped platforms stacked up on a nearby parcel:
I’m guessing that these will be the foundations for the portable units that will make up the Navigation Center. When complete the Navigation Center will consist of a large number of individual shipping-container-sized prefab buildings, most of which will contain bedrooms, but some that will have bathrooms and others that will have kitchens and other common facilities. If the contractor doesn’t have to pour concrete, but can simply plop these slabs down on a level surface and then place the prefab buildings onto them, construction of the Navigation Center will go swiftly indeed. I’ll be watching to see if my guess is correct, or whether these things have some other function.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Maple Street in the vicinity of this project was hard to navigate on foot: it was muddy and there were numerous trucks going back and forth. But this week, the street has been cleaned up and construction vehicles are now accessing the site using the gate in the above photograph, rather than the gate immediately adjacent to the now-raised parcel (note the closed gate in that earlier photograph). This week, the section of Maple Street running between Bair Island Aquatic Center (BIAC) and the LifeMoves homeless shelter (up against the freeway) is as clean and quiet as I’ve ever seen it:
The last time I visited the site, I walked along a path that ran through the middle of the 1548 Maple Street project site and reached Maple Street directly across from the now-closed gate to the county Navigation Center site. Not this week, though: the walking/biking path has been rerouted completely around the 1548 Maple St. site so that now, after crossing beneath Highway 101 (using the new underpass, of course!) and then crossing over Redwood Creek using the Bridge to Nowhere, the path runs right up against Highway 101 and reaches Maple Street where it dead-ends at the highway. That path partly follows the future route of Blomquist Street, and is wide, flat, and clear:
This revamped path, and the presence of this sign (which you can also see above), tell me that construction on the 1548 Maple Street project is likely imminent:
Some of Redwood City’s largest projects are about to get underway, and for a couple of them, those projects begin by demolishing some old, existing buildings. It’s demo time!
If you are reading this on Friday (or early on Saturday), the Redwood City Council is conducting a rare Saturday workshop starting at 9 a.m. online. According to the agenda (that link has the details you need to attend the meeting online), they’ll be going through the major goals and initiatives in process for 2022, and discussing the council priority projects to be included in the fiscal year 2022/23 budget. If you’d like to watch and/or comment, plan to join them via Zoom.
On Monday, February 7 at 2 p.m., the city will hold the ribbon-cutting for the Middlefield Road Streetscape project. Although the project isn’t quite done (as of this writing; they just might wrap it up over the weekend), with the new signals and streetlights still to be activated and the old power poles and streetlights still to be removed, the project is otherwise done and certainly is worth celebrating. Especially for pedestrians and cyclists, I can attest to the fact that the experience of navigating Middlefield Road between Woodside Road and Maple Street is significantly improved. The wider sidewalks and protected bike lanes are terrific, as are the new streetlights, which add some much needed character to the street. I plan to attend the ribbon-cutting; if you have the time, consider joining me.
Starting on Saturday, February 5, and running through the last Sunday of the month (February 27), the Domini Hoskins Black History Museum & Learning Center will be open to the public in the now-empty Cost Plus location at 890 Jefferson Ave. (in the Century Theaters building, at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Middlefield Road). This mobile museum offers “a range of cultural artifacts, all designed to educate and inform our communities about Black History.” The museum is run by a nonprofit that apparently is looking for a permanent home. They are requesting a $5 donation upon admission, but are also accepting other donations via PayPal (see the link for details). I’ve only seen it from the outside so far, of course, but it looks intriguing. I expect I’ll chip in the $5 to check it out.