Roller rink to be demolished for development, but sign might be preserved

The Redwood Roller Rink closed three years ago. File photo.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Redwood City Planning Commissioner Nancy Radcliffe suggested last night that Greystar, which is proposing to demolish the Redwood Roller Rink as part of a five-block development, save the sign that hung over the rink for the past 60 years.

She compared the situation to Stanford’s decision to remove the AMPEX sign on Highway 101, which had become a landmark for techies to honor the company that made the first videotape machines in the 1950s.

“We learned from the AMPEX sign debacle that these things are really important to our residents and would like to see a developer make a concerted effort to do that,” Radcliffe said during yesterday’s Planning Commission review of Greystar’s project.

The project, which would include retail, apartments and office space, would fill five square blocks between El Camino Real and the train tracks and Maple Street and Cedar Street.

As a result, the Redwood Roller Rink, the last of its kind on the Peninsula, will be demolished.

The rink closed three years ago, and a handful of residents and skating enthusiasts asked at yesterday’s meeting that Greystar consider putting a roller rink in the development.

Greystar’s proposal calls for 19,000-square-feet of “family-friendly” retail that could include a roller rink, bowling or laser tag. The building for such retail would be built at El Camino and Cedar Street, down two blocks from the roller rink’s location for over 60 years at 1303 Main St.

“All family recreation has closed on the Peninsula,” said resident Lisa Vande Voorde during the Zoom video meeting. She listed the closures of Malibu Grand Prix and Mel’s Bowl, both in Redwood City, along with the go-kart track in Burlingame and the ice rink in Belmont.

Sahana Baker-Malone pointed out that the nearest roller rink is about 75 miles away, while another resident, who only gave her first name, Claudia, said she knows some people who go to the Sacramento area in order to skate.

“The options considered for this indoor space, such as bowling or laser tag, are ones that are already available in the Bay Area,” Baker-Malone said, adding that it would make sense for Greystar to fill the void that the skate rink’s closure left.

The commission last night was getting feedback from residents about the draft environmental impact report for the project, and made no formal decisions.

Also part of the plans for the five-block project are 540 apartments, including 147 of those reserved for low-income earners, an 8,000 square-foot child care center, 530,000 square feet of office space and an additional 9,800 square feet of retail space.

Acting Planning Manager Lindy Chan said the city council will likely vote on the project this fall.


  1. How many more treasures in the bay area that have been around for years are going to be lost to greed and development. All we are going to have left is housing and not retail. No banks, no groceries stores to shop at, no playgrounds and parks. Just office buildings, housing and parking lots. How is the average person suppose to survive when there is nothing to live on and no places hangout and enjoy themselves for pleasure. Thank you silicon valley its all about greed and money. Forget about us little people who will have to come up with new ways just to survive. This keeps up the average person will have to go back and live in the caveman days. Hunting for their own food, build their own shelters and live by campfires and stoves just too keep warm.

  2. Go ahead demolish it. Should have never closed. There is nothing for families, kids, friends etc to do around here. All activities are gone. Malibu was demolished and sits as rubble.

    Developers are greedy.

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