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.