Massive development at Woodside Road and Broadway wins approval

Sobrato submitted this illustration to the city for its development at Broadway and Woodside Road in Redwood City.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Redwood City Council last night (May 20) approved a development at Broadway and Woodside Road that would create 1,680 jobs and 520 apartments.

Even though the development by the Sobrato Organization will worsen the housing-jobs imbalance, Mayor Ian Bain praised the development and threw in a dig at Senate Bill 50, which would have reduced local control over development in order to allow for more housing.

“I would like to highlight that this a great example of when there is local control over projects like this. It allows for a back and forth to happen,” Bain said.

Bain said that local control ensures that large projects “fit the community.”

“If you were just allowed to build whatever you wanted, I don’t think it would have been as good a project as you wanted,” Bain said to representatives of the Sobrato Organization.

The project has been in the works since 2015. Initially it did not include any low income housing, and kept the CVS Pharmacy at its current location.

But after a few iterations, 120 subsidized apartments were included and the CVS is moving across Woodside Road.

Most of the project — 420,000 square feet — would consist of office space. Using the standard of one job for every 250 square feet, that would result in 1,680 jobs.

The project will have a total of 26,000 square feet of retail space. CVS would take up 15,000 square feet, and the remaining 11,000 square feet will be located along Woodside Road, with the intent to host local businesses, said Sobrato’s Real Estate Development Vice President Peter Tsai.

As part of the project there would be 95 low-income apartments (a family of two would have to earn $93,950 or less to be eligible), 12 very low-income apartments (a family of two would have to earn $58,650 or less) and 12 extremely low-income apartments ($35,200 or less for a family of two).

More traffic

Bain and Councilwoman Janet Borgens both commented that the biggest issue with the project will be traffic. It will put some 3,777 cars on the roads every day, a study found.

Borgens applauded Sobrato for adding stoplights at Bay Road and Fifth Avenue, which is so congested that it operates at an E, or failing grade, on an A-F scale. A stoplight will improve the situation to a B grade, according to the project’s environmental impact report.

Resident Lisa Riedle said she supports the project, but is worried about the parking for the project filling up and spilling over to the neighborhoods. But she praised Sobrato for planning to connect the CVS parking lot with the Smart and Final parking lot, to make it easier for shoppers to get around that area.

Toxic soil problem

Even though the council approved the project last night, it may take some time before construction begins. This is because the site from 1945 to 1972 was a bearings manufacturing plant, said Tsai. The harmful solvents used to clean the machinery seeped into the soil, which now needs to be replaced in order for people to be able to live on the land.

That process will take about a year, said Acting Planning Director Diana O’Dell. Once the site is safe, the CVS will be built first, followed by the housing, and finally the office space.


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  1. And what about the traffic?!? Given the newly built Stanford complex on Bay Rd, I can’t see how this is an improvement for nearby residential neighborhoods. Already, the Woodside RD/101 interchange is a mess. This will worsen it. A stop light at Bay and Fifth?!? Yay! Big Whoop! Traffic down Florence into Marsh Rd. is already heavy at rush hours, which are getting longer and longer. So, 7 buildings, including the CVS across Woodside Rd. and what are the heights? The original concept was calling for 1 six story building and 2 five story buildings. I’m curious, what did the City Council get out of this for local residents? Will there be development funds used to set up the local-parking-in-neighborhood designations? Where is the public transit aspect? Is this at all being considered for a tie- in with the freight rail spur going out to the RWC harbor? We should be talking about adding light rail to downtown. I forsee a future where Woodside/101 will be as bad or worse than Hillsdale/101. Without a sound regional pubic transit plan, our freeways and local roads are going to lock up more and more. If I were starting a business, at this point, I would never consider setting up shop on the peninsula.

  2. Ian Bain is clueless. It’s developments like this — with more offices than homes — that have led to the housing imbalance that has forced so many people out of their homes. No wonder the housing crisis has become so bad with people like Bain in charge.

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