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Developer Proposes Six-Story Residential Complex on Old Dodge Dealership Site

A 260-unit residential complex on Veterans Boulevard could offer another affordable housing option in Redwood City.

The vacant Dodge dealership on Veterans Boulevard may receive a new tenant next year if the city approves developer BRE Properties application for a six-story 260- unit residential complex.

As San Mateo County promotes Affordable Housing week next week, city staff were interested in the development's units that would be below market rate housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition's report released Monday revealed that San Mateo County once again tied with San Francisco and Marin counties as the most expensive rental housing market in the country for the second year in a row.

“This is a true infill project, and we’re not building on marshes,” said the project’s architect, John Ennis.

John Ward, the project’s outreach consultant, said that placing a residential complex in such a seemingly busy area was not unrealistic. Winslow Street is the next street parallel to Veterans, a location with several homes and apartment complexes.

“Especially since that area is a gateway into Redwood City, we’re excited to have a beautiful new building there,” Ward said. “It’s going to be very visionary for the Veterans corridor.”

Ennis added that there would be no retail or office space on the ground floor to make the property a truly residential space. He said they did not want to detract from the existing stores and businesses in the area.  

As with most development proposals, neighbors had concerns about parking and traffic. But Ennis said that every unit would have an average of 1.75 parking spaces, higher than the average residential complex. He added that there would be streets running through the complex in order to alleviate congestion.

“We’ve fielded NIMBY [Not In My BackYard] concerns by speaking to the community,” Ennis said. “There’s generally a positive reaction.”

Kevin Ma of BRE said that they’ve spoken to the Friends of Redwood City and there seems to be a favorable response. BRE will also be hosting a barbecue sometime in June to answer any residents' questions, according to Ward.

The building would be LEED certified at the silver level, a green building certification system created by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“It would definitely be an environmental improvement,” Ennis said. “There will be less asphalt on the property than there is now.”

Ennis highlighted certain aspects of the project that would make the complex an appealing place to live. All units would have a private deck, so there would be no units trapped in the middle, and residents could use the facility’s pool and spa. The first floor would have a stoop, similar to apartments in San Francisco, so passers-by could not peer into the units. The close proximity to downtown Redwood City would provide walking access to evening and weekend entertainment, he said.

Because the complex complies with the city’s General Plan, there wouldn’t be a need for re-zoning the land. The space is already designated for mixed-use commercial and neighborhood property. Developers would not need to draft an environmental impact report that could potentially delay the project. However, the developers have yet to approach the Planning Commission, according to Commission member Nancy Radcliffe.

BRE Properties is a 4-year-old company that has built over 23,000 rental units in the western United States, with properties primarily in California and some in Seattle, Denver and Phoenix.

Correction: The original article stated that an outreach barbecue would be held May 21, but will have to be pushed back till June.

Zeke Mead May 07, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Nobody is using or benefiting from that location now. And more units will decrease overall demand per unit and is they best way to lower prices. Not to mention they are required to offer a certain percentage of the units below market rate as per the development appproval process. Mel's is still there, didn't know it was slated for replacement? But that has no effect on this project, does it?
Lou Covey, The Local Motive May 08, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Laura, the propose site is four blocks from the train station and three blocks from downtown. That's pretty darn close.
Amy T. May 09, 2011 at 03:01 PM
I just hope that you mean it when you say AFFORDABLE HOUSING???? If this building is just like the other apartments-price wise; then it's just another business trying to make money. Make use of the space and give back to the people of the City by making a difference in monthly costs/rent!!!
Mike May 10, 2011 at 03:26 AM
Supplying 1.75 parking spaces per unit a walking community does not make...
Peter August 01, 2011 at 05:19 AM
This is a prime location for an apartment complex, but with a few reservations. Public transportation there might be a problem. Whipple and Veteran's Blvd. is a bottle neck all day. With that said, I fully support the idea to redevelop this abandoned piece of property. Redwood City desperately needs low income rental space. I've been waiting for 10 years to find a place that I can afford. I'm spending at least 90 percent of my small income on rent. I’d also like to see the abandoned car dealership space on El Camino in Menlo Park turned into mixed use apartments. People who do not see a need for this type of housing or think that all they have to do is get off their butts and start working do not understand what it means to be disabled and a senior citizen. We are doubly discriminated against in the work place. So, finding employment is very challenging, at best. I’ve looked for 5 years and found nothing. I do support a rather radical idea of random drug testing of tenants in the low income housing. It might help weed out (no pun intended) people who are likely to cause trouble and improve the reputation of the housing unit for the neighbors. However, I doubt that is a legal option.

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