The Industrials

Redwood City may be seeing a lot of development activity, but in that regard our neighbor to the north, San Carlos, is also no slouch. This week I walked the length of Industrial Road to check on the status of the many projects that are going on along or within sight of that street. I must say, it’s an impressive set of projects. Most being laser-focused on the life-science industry…

As is sometimes the case, the street we know as Industrial changes names in some rather odd ways. Throughout San Carlos, it is consistently known as Industrial Road. When it crosses over Cordilleras Creek and enters Redwood City, however, it changes to Industrial Way. Then, eight-and-a-half blocks later, it crosses Whipple Avenue and changes names again, this time to Winslow Street. I get the name change at the city line, but why the Redwood City portion doesn’t give the street a single name presumably has some historical significance that I have yet to uncover. Barring that, why Redwood City doesn’t call its portion between the creek and Whipple Avenue “Industrial Road,” well, who knows?

Whatever it’s called, I approached Industrial by walking down Whipple Avenue. I took the opportunity to peek into the old Any Mountain building at 928 Whipple Ave.; that building is being remodeled to serve multiple tenants, one of which will be Runway Services Inc., a cannabis retailer. I peeked in from the Stafford Street side of the building, which was open wide:

As you can see, the interior is being subdivided with metal framing. I believe that the plan is to basically split the building in two, but we’ll have to see when the work is done and the cannabis retailer, at least, opens its doors.

Moving on to Industrial (Way), I noted that work continues to run underground fiber-optic cables, I believe in order to enable Sonic to bring their 10Gb internet service to parts of Redwood City:

So if you drive down the street and find yourself inconvenienced by the roadwork, that’s what’s going on.

After crossing into San Carlos, first up is a project that you can see from Industrial Road, but is actually taking place along Brittan Avenue. At 1030 Brittan Ave., in fact:

This new building, which sits right next door to MBC Biolabs, will be…more MBC Biolabs. It will be a three-story research and development lab and office building, and will sit atop a single-level underground parking garage. The building, along with its next-door neighbor, will provide lab space to small outfits looking for space but lacking sufficient funds to build their own. When complete, the building should look a lot like this:

Back out on Industrial, at the corner of Brittan Avenue and Industrial Road, the three-story office building (over two levels of subterranean parking) that has been under construction for quite some time now is finally nearing completion:

This is a good-looking building sitting on a site that at one time was going to be redeveloped as a hotel. I don’t believe that this building has any tenants lined up as yet, but don’t be surprised if whomever goes in is involved in some way with the biotech industry.

Next up, I took a peek at the massive site where the folks behind the already huge Alexandria Center for Life Science complex (at 825/835 Industrial Road) hope to build a second, large multi-building campus. Formerly home to Kelly Moore Paints, among other things, the site has partially been cleared, and now sits empty while the project works its way through San Carlos’ approval process:

I took the above picture from Commercial Street looking west towards Old County Road, but if built this project will extend all the way to Industrial Road. The buildings that stretch along that street between Pulgas Creek (just up from Brittan Avenue) and Commercial Street would all be torn down, to make way for the project, which would be a huge campus for life science research and development work.

Next up, the former Honda dealership at 777 Industrial Road. You may recall that the Honda dealership building had been built from scratch on this site, and only operated as such for a couple of years before the building was sold and San Carlos Honda found itself moving much farther down Industrial, close to San Carlos’ northern border.

When complete, this building will contain three stories of life science research and development lab space atop a ground-level parking area. It will look something like the following:

So far, though, it looks like this:

Both, of course, are a far cry from the Honda dealership building that until recently stood here.

Parking for the building at 777 Industrial Road is interesting. Because of historic ground contamination, the Honda dealership was essentially built on stilts, as a way to minimize disturbance to the underlying soil. This building is preserving that design, leaving the ground floor beneath the three-stories of lab/office space open for surface-level parking. There will also be surface parking adjacent to the building, plus a small 15-space lot out on Industrial Road (777 Industrial is on a “flag lot” that is located behind a single-story dance studio). But all of that still isn’t enough to provide the parking spaces that this new building requires (228 in total), so this building will be accompanied by a small structure holding three large parking stacker mechanisms that together will accommodate 108 cars. Because of its location towards the rear and one side of the property, that small structure is a bit hard to get a glimpse of. For that, I had to go next door, and wander through their parking lot in order to see the steel structure that eventually will hold the stackers:

Continuing my walk, I came to 501 Industrial Road, on Industrial just south of Holly Street. Formerly the home of an electrical supply company (Bayshore Supply; they’ve since moved into a much nicer building at 1060 Brittan Ave.), this site has been cleared, and is now waiting for final project approval. The project under consideration is the 191-room Hotel Indigo. If approved and built, it should look something like this:

At the moment, however, there is nothing to look at. Just an empty lot, sitting in the crook of the Highway 101 southbound onramp from Holly Street. Just across Holly Street, however, there is San Carlos’ In-n-Out Burger restaurant, and, between that restaurant and the highway, a now empty lot (formerly home to a mini-storage business) where a lot of construction activity has recently gotten underway:

This project — 405 Industrial Rd. — sits on a flag lot that is accessed via a driveway from Industrial Road running between the In-n-Out Burger restaurant and the PAMF medical facility (I took the above photo from one of the walkways on the PAMF property). Underway is a project to build a — you guessed it — life science research and development building, with four stories of R&D space atop two levels of parking, all above two additional parking levels that will be underground.

Here is what the building should look like when viewed from the driveway entrance on Industrial Road:

It kind-of looms over In-n-Out, doesn’t it? Here is what it will look like from the other side; this is the view that cars exiting Highway 101 at Holly Street will have:

I may have crossed Holly Street, but San Carlos continues — and so do the projects. Next up is one that is really just a mild remodel of an existing life sciences building, that until recently was home to a pharmaceuticals company. This particular project is on the east side of the street, at the intersection of Industrial and Quarry roads:

The parcel upon which this project sits extends to Belmont Creek, which forms the northern border of this part of San Carlos. Beyond, up to Harbor Boulevard, is a small unincorporated section of the county. Industrial Road ends there, and the city of Belmont begins. Although I’d reached the end of Industrial Road, I still had to get home. Thus, I followed Harbor Boulevard west to El Camino Real, and then walked home along El Camino. Along the way, I of course found a couple of more projects worth providing an update on.

First, though, I passed a spot that I hadn’t realized was being proposed for a new project. Thus, I didn’t take a picture of the site. But you’ve probably all seen the CVS pharmacy located in the shopping center on the east side of El Camino Real just within the San Carlos city limits. That pharmacy, apparently, just might be replaced by a rather large apartment project, one that would contain 242 apartments (36 of which would be below-market-rate units). The building would be six stories tall, although along El Camino Real the building would only extend to five stories. From El Camino, it would apparently look something like this:

This project has yet to be reviewed by the city, however, and thus has most definitely not been approved. So the CVS will presumably remain for some time to come. One that is already being built, however, is the mixed-use building that is very slowly rising from the ashes of the old Applewood Pizza restaurant and its next-door neighbor:

This project is proceeding so slowly that I have to keep checking to make sure that it hasn’t completely stalled, which seems appropriate when you consider how long the Applewood Pizza building sat empty. However, as you can probably tell from the photograph, people were on-site and actively working on the building while I was there, so it continues. When complete, the four-story building at 560 El Camino Real will have 24 condominiums atop two ground-floor retail spaces.

Lastly, I came to the building that for some time now has been under construction at 1240 El Camino Real, on the site where the Zest gluten-free bakery used to operate. Like the previous project, this one will have condominiums on the upper floors, and retail on the ground floor. However, being a smaller project, it will only have eight condominiums and a single retail space. This project, too, seems to be moving slowly, although it is much closer to the end, and is looking good:

Because the building sits close to the sidewalk on El Camino Real, it’s a bit tricky to get a good picture of it from the front. I took the above while standing by the next-door auto parts store. The rear, which opens onto an alleyway, is much easier to photograph, and just as interesting (if not more):

This building has a ground-floor parking garage which is accessed from the alleyway.

San Carlos has a lot of construction activity going on right now, plus a handful of really interesting projects waiting for approval. Including a good-sized two-building project proposed for two parcels along Old County Road that span the block from Bransten Road to Commercial Street. That project in particular has some interest for me, given that this would replace Garden Supply Hardscapes, where my wife worked for many years back when it was called San Carlos Garden Supply. But I’ll save that project — and a couple of others that are on the list waiting to get approved in San Carlos — for another post.

Although I was in the area on my walk, it took my wife while running errands to notice that REI — at Brittan Avenue and Highway 101 — is temporarily closed. I don’t know the details, but she approached the building and reported that there is a sign up stating that “Due to building safety concerns, the REI San Carlos store will be closed until further notice.” It makes one wonder just what those “building safety concerns” are…

The Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report for the amendments to Redwood City’s Downtown Precise Plan is available for public review, and the city would very much like to hear feedback from we members of the public. For those interested in reading this 67-page document and providing comment, you can do so in one of two ways: you can provide written comments to the Redwood City Planning Commission in advance of their June 6 meeting (that’s next Tuesday), or you can participate in the meeting either remotely or in person, and give your feedback orally. Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 6 p.m., and will take place in the City Hall Council Chambers as usual. You’ll find a copy of the meeting agenda and instructions on participating in the meeting here.