About Greg Wilson

A software engineer/Mobile app development evangelist/Technical writer who enjoys books, Disneyland, and the slow pace and backyard vistas you only get when traveling by train.

No Monopoly

Because I’m way overdue for a blog post about activity in San Carlos, last week I took a walk through that town, taking pictures and getting up to speed on what’s going on over there. I’m writing about that this week, but before I do, a number of time-sensitive items have come to my attention that I’d like to pass along.

  • Redwood City’s Council held its annual “State of the City” address. If you missed it, you can still watch it online. And if you are not inclined to watch the entire meeting (it’s about 50 minutes long), I would recommend that you at least watch the “2019 Accomplishments” video, which only runs about four minutes. Links to both videos can be found on Redwood City’s website, here.
  • CATA (Community Advocacy Through Art) has scheduled an interesting community event for Saturday, May 4, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. According to them, “for an entire afternoon, we will fill the Redwood City Courthouse Square with long tables where participants can sit to paint with friends, family, and strangers. Acrylic paint, brushes, and vinyl sheets are provided to participants at no cost. Canvases are available at the event for a suggested donation.  Professional artists will be live painting to inspire the participants, and local non-profits and high school artists will be exhibiting recent projects.” They expect roughly 400 attendees in total (there will be two seatings). More information, along with free and paid RSVP tickets, can be found at www.openpaint2.eventbrite.com.
  • The Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation is putting on a 3-part speaker series around our proposed downtown park project sites. One talk will focus on the Downtown Library Lot “A” (Thursday, April 11); one will focus on the City Hall/Main Street parking lot (Wednesday, May 8); and the third will look at turning Redwood Creek into a recreational space (Thursday, May 23). All talks will be held at the Fox Forum, at 2411 Broadway, and will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. These talks are free and open to all, but space is limited, so if you plan to go, you’ll want to pre-register. Go to www.RWCPAF.org for more information and to pre-register.
  • The Tall Ships are in port! The Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain have pulled up to the docks in the Port of Redwood City, and are open for tours (suggested donation, $5 per person) and for three-hour sailing experiences (tickets are required for one of the scheduled sailing experiences). The classic sailing ships will be here until April 9, 2019, so you have a number of opportunities to experience them. See the event website for more information, event schedules, and for information on purchasing tickets.

Finally, there is a new BBQ place in town (well, it’s actually in North Fair Oaks). Capelo’s Barbecue is serving wonderful southern-style brisket, ribs, and other delectable bbq meats out of their small storefront at 2655 Middlefield Road (pretty much at the intersection of Middlefield Road and Hurlingame Avenue). They are takeout only — they have no place to sit — and currently are open from 10 a.m. until they run out. My wife and I had the opportunity to give them a try today, and we can attest to the wonderful main dishes and sides they serve. If you can’t get there early, give them a call to find out whether they are still serving: (650) 701-5433. Oh, and they also cater — and they have a food truck (see their website for the truck’s schedule).

Whew! As you can tell, there’s a lot going on in Redwood City these days. And from my walk through San Carlos, there is a lot going on there, too. Of course, the things I observed last week were mostly development-related, but knowing San Carlos I’m pretty sure that they have their share of similar activities, too.

Although I’ve driven through San Carlos a fair amount over the last several weeks, it has been a while since I took a stroll through the city and checked up on the various development projects underway over there. It’s funny how the mind works: I know very well that development projects take time — a year or two, generally — but when I set out on my walk I had it in my head to expect more progress than I actually observed. A moment’s thought, however, made me realize that it hadn’t been that long since I’d last walked through San Carlos, so I shouldn’t have expected, say, to see Wheeler Plaza buttoned up and open for business. Indeed, that project continues to make good progress, but given its size (more than 100 residential units, just under 10,000 square feet of retail, and a three-level parking garage) it still has a way to go:

As you can see, the windows are in and the building is about to get its exterior skin. In fact, if you head down Walnut Street you’ll see that the stucco is already being applied to part of the building:

Jumping over to Laurel Street, closer to Redwood City, the replacement of small houses and small commercial buildings with condos and mixed-use buildings continues apace. For instance, two small houses on the west side of Laurel between Morse and Brittan have been torn down and will be replaced by a pair of three-story buildings, with each containing three “ownership units in a townhouse configuration.” In each building, the center and rear units will be configured so that the lower floor can be used either as living space or as “accessory/commercial” space. The front units will be configured as “live/work” units: in these the lower floor (fronting on Laurel) must be used as a commercial space. All six units (three in each building) will have three bedrooms and three bathrooms, and should be around 2,150 square feet in size (not including each unit’s two-car garage). Here is a rendering of what the finished project should look like:

Across the street and down just a bit, the mixed-use building that has been under construction at 977 Laurel St. is complete and apparently occupied:

On the ground floor is a shop called Cushytogs that sells “innovative, comfortable, and attractive clothing for men and women.” They apparently design and manufacture their own clothing, and are based right here in San Carlos — so they are definitely worth checking out. Take a look at their website to get some idea of the kind of things that they make and sell.

Skipping back across the street, this building at 934 Laurel St. has finished up, and is now leasing:

It has three residential units upstairs, two commercial spaces on the ground floor, and, as you can probably tell, an underground parking garage.

Over on Arroyo Avenue, the reconstruction of the Community United Church of Christ campus appears to be complete. You may recall that this church sold off part of their property — a large parcel at the corner of Arroyo Avenue and Elm Street — to be used for housing. They then built a new sanctuary and a new combined office and rectory building. The resulting set of buildings is quite attractive (and you can just catch a glimpse of the houses that were built on the property they sold, along the left edge of this picture):

Although the church property appears to be complete, the three houses that have been built on the corner parcel are still wrapping up. When I was there they were getting landscaping, which means that they are just about ready to go on sale.

Over at the corner of Cherry and Chestnut streets the long-stalled 1501 Cherry St. project is once again well underway. When complete it will be a four-story, 34-unit condominium complex over a large underground parking garage. It was originally scheduled to be complete by early 2019, but this one surely won’t be done until sometime next year:

Just up Chestnut Street, at the corner of Chestnut Street and San Carlos Avenue, the 1501 San Carlos Avenue project is in the process of having its exterior stucco applied:

This will be a mixed-use building, with six “luxury” condominiums on the upper three floors and a small amount (625 square feet) of commercial space sharing the ground floor with the building’s parking garage.

As I walked down Laurel Street, I noticed that the Le Boulanger sandwich place has been replaced by Maverick Jack’s, a burger joint that also serves salads and other complimentary entrees (but mostly burgers). I note that they have an Impossible Burger on their menu, for those of you who love a good burger but are looking to cut back on the amount of meat in your diet. It looks like a great place, although I have yet to try it out.

As you might be able to tell, I have a fairly defined route that I take through San Carlos, one designed to let me see as many projects as possible without doing too much backtracking. After covering Laurel Street and the areas to the west, I then headed out to El Camino Real. While out there, I noticed that work was underway to refurbish the old Lighthouse lighting store. Although I don’t know what might be moving in there (or if the space is simply being cleaned up so that it can be advertised for lease), there was a lot of work going on, both inside and out.

I’m glad to see that it isn’t going to sit and rot for years on end, as has been the case with the Applewood Pizza building (on El Camino Real just north of San Carlos Avenue). Fortunately, I believe that there is a proposal in the works to replace that one, so perhaps I won’t have to walk past that ever-deteriorating building for much longer.

While on El Camino Real, I of course cannot help but watch the construction of the eight buildings that make up the Transit Village project. The four buildings north of Holly Street are pretty much done and leasing, so now the construction energy is focused on the four buildings that will flank the San Carlos train depot. The three buildings between the depot and Holly Street are receiving their final exterior finishes, and thus should be complete very soon. The final building, which sits south of the depot, is not as far along as the others, and will finish up last (along with the new plaza that is supposed to be built between the depot and El Camino Real). But even this building doesn’t seem to have that far to go:

Across El Camino Real, the “SunCarlos Garden” building (I don’t make these names up) at 520 El Camino Real is also making great progress. Expect to see the scaffolding come down within a month or two:

The above building will have two commercial spaces sharing the ground floor with an internal parking garage. On the two upper floors there will be nine condominiums.

Having traversed El Camino Real, I then headed down Holly Street to Industrial Road, since there are a handful of interesting projects going on out that way. I first headed north on Industrial Road, just to see if there is anything interesting going on with the Orchard Supply Hardware space (there isn’t, although the relatively new Luv2Play indoor playground next door does look fun). Along the way I got a good look at the drastically remodeled building that once housed Morrison’s School Supplies:

These days the building is home to AlphaScript, an independent pharmacy that “brings personalized medication therapies to people with specialized needs in areas such as HIV, Hepatitis, and post organ transplant.”

Heading the other way on Industrial Road, back towards Redwood City, I of course spent time looking over and around the fences at the 887 Industrial Road project (which formerly was known as Meridian 25). This giant office complex project is still in the ground-preparation stage, although a great deal of work has been done towards digging out the three underground levels for what will eventually be a six-level parking garage:

Because of its scale this is a multi-year project, so I’ll be watching, and writing about, this project for quite some time yet.

Continuing on, it appears that the Hilton Garden Inn planned for 1091 Industrial Road (at the corner of Industrial Road and Brittan Avenue) is finally about to get underway. The two-story office/light industrial building that is there today appears to have been emptied of all of its tenants, and while I was there some investigatory work appeared to be underway in the front parking lot:

This project received city approval back in mid-2017, and there has been little sign of activity until now. I’ll know for sure that it is getting underway if and when I see construction fencing go up, but the lack of tenant activity seems a dead giveaway to me. By the way, if you haven’t seen what the new hotel that will replace the above building is going to look like, here is a rendering from back when the project was approved:

Lastly, across Industrial Road, on Brittan, I noticed that one of the tilt-up light industrial buildings was in the process of undergoing a rather drastic remodel:

Formerly the home of TDM Tiling, a countertop fabricator, in its new incarnation this building is going to be a life sciences incubator: a scientific research space where small groups of scientists can test out their ideas.

That about does it for my recent tour of San Carlos. That isn’t all that is going on in the city, of course: it’s just what I personally observed on my most recent jaunt. But I think you’ll agree that for a city the size of San Carlos, this is a lot of construction. Clearly, Redwood City doesn’t have a monopoly on construction activity these days!