Residents want roller rink to return; hearing planned on development to replace it

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

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

Some residents are calling for a new roller rink to be built in place of the Redwood Roller Rink as part of Greystar’s latest project in Redwood City.

The Redwood Roller Rink, the last of its kind on the Peninsula, closed three years ago after owner Suzie Pollard retired, following the death of her husband, Jim Pollard.

Since then, the property has been bought by Greystar, a national housing developer, and is included as part of the developer’s five-city-block project for the area between El Camino Real and the train tracks and Maple Street and Cedar Street.

On Tuesday (July 7), the city’s Planning Commission will be reviewing environmental reports related to the project, while no vote for the development will occur.

At least seven residents have written to city officials about the roller rink, with many of them urging the city to buy the rink.

“It’s so frustrating and disturbing that the council of Redwood City has abandoned, ignored its most unique, sophisticated community — the roller skating/dancing individuals, that continued history of six decades of an elite culture!” wrote one resident, who is not named in the compiled public comment document connected to the report by Acting Planning Manager Lindy Chan.

Another resident found a local parallel to the rink and the purchase of the Buena Vista mobile home park in Palo Alto.

“A somewhat similar situation has occurred in Palo Alto, where the city purchased a mobile home park from its owner, who wanted to evict all the 400-low income residents and sell it to a developer,” that resident suggested.

In September 2017, the Santa Clara County Housing Authority purchased Buena Vista to make sure the hundreds of residents could stay in Palo Alto. The county and city of Palo Alto each committed $14.5 million to acquire and rehabilitate the park over two years ago. The Housing Authority also contributed $26 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

However, Greystar is proposing to build 19,000-square-feet of family-friendly retail that could accommodate a roller rink, bowling or laser tag. That building would be build at El Camino and Cedar, down two blocks from the roller rink’s location for over 60 years at 1303 Main St.

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.

8 Comments

  1. I agree, I spent my childhood at Redwood Roller Rink, and became a champion artistic roller skater under the coaching of Jim Pollard. I worked behind the snack bar to pay for my skating lessons as a teenager. This kept me off the streets and later became a coach at Redwood Roller Rink until I retired, this was my family my home.
    Driving by it today makes me cry, with the windows broken, graffiti often on the exterior so sad. I look at the sign that says for lease and wonder why, car’s and RV’s often in the parking lot and wonder why?
    I now gave a 5 year old grandson always dreamed of taking him skating and showing him where his grandmother and father was raised. In a safe and healthy environment that once was the Redwood Roller Rink, now just an old building that clearly no one cares about…sad.

  2. This is sad, the cities past small pleasures just aren’t profitable enough for those in power! When all of it is gone and you are surrounded in your concrete jungle and there’s nowhere to go that you can afford, kids will walk the streets and find “something” to do. City leaders will float another parcel tax to create something else that costs us all to solve the problems they created by selling out the city to gain the almighty dollar! Redwood City, home of the Developers! Who pays your salaries? How about a 5 year moratorium on ANY NEW developments?

  3. I would love to see Redwood Roller Rink return. My first job was the snack bar and box office. I was either working or hanging out with friends there growing up! It was my home away from home. I took my kids and niece there when they were very little. We were there for their last day and my youngest son told me, “Mom when I grow up I’ll buy it and you can have your rink back.” My mom and dad skated there. There is so much history there. Redwood City should be ashamed for taking everything away were kids could go and hang out in a healthy environment, the Redwood Roller Rink, Malibu Grand Pre, Mel’s Bowl. What do our kids have to do, nothing. Give the kids a place to call their own and watch them come together as a family of all nationalities!!! My rink family is still as close as we were growing up!!! We still talk, laugh and cry together. We can count on our family to be there in times of need!!!

  4. I would love to see roller skating back in Redwood City!!! I spent over 5 years at the rink, as an adult learning to skate, and also with my kids. I still dream of roller skating to this day. Yet, there is no local place to skate!!! Redwood City, you have a chance to have something no Peninsula city has — a roller rink!!! I urge you to either take it by purchasing the rink outright from Greystar, or by ensuring Greystar includes a like facility in terms of size and amenities (or maybe even better), in their development plans.

  5. I sent an email to the planning commission. So many ppl would love to have the rink open again. So many people were saddened by its closure. Please keep the rink as part of the South Main Street project. I skated there for 20 years. It was a wonderful experience, and I made lifelong friends there.

  6. Hi,

    I would like to add a bit to this…

    Greystar development was in discussions with a potential rink operator up until June 2020. Because of COVID-19, and the uncertainties of the next few years, the potential operator had to withdraw from the project.

    If another shelter in place were issued or reduced capacity enforced there would be no way for this business to remain open.

    During these uncertain times we must keep in mind the startup cost associated with a project of this magnitude; close to $1 MM build out cost and no accurate models in this “new” normal.

    I know Greystar is committed to bringing some form of family friendly entertainment business to this development and the community and are going above and beyond during these uncertain times.

  7. I was the DJ at Redwood Roller Rink and had a very successful run there. I left to open my own roller rink in San Francisco, the Church of 8 Wheels Roller Disco. I have considered putting forth a proposal to reopen the Redwood Roller Rink. I think I can bring the kind of unique, exciting, inclusive brand of the Church of 8 Wheels and reinvigorate the rink.

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