BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Redwood City Council last night (May 24) allowed two redevelopment projects featuring mostly offices to enter the city’s planning process. But council members pushed the developers to add more housing.
The projects are at 1900 Broadway, replacing the Wells Fargo branch, and at 601 Allerton St., where an office building now sits.
The Wells Fargo project, proposed by Lane Partners, would consist of 70 to 80 below-market rate apartments, 225,000-square-feet of office space and 10,000-square-feet of retail.
Mike Halow’s Premia Capital is proposing to replace the office building at 601 Allerton St. with a five-story project consisting of 85,000-square feet of office space and a public futsal court. Futsal is similar to soccer but played on a hard court indoors that’s generally smaller than a soccer field.
The developers also want the city’s permission to close part of Spring Street so that they can add 10,000 to their development.
As part of the project, Premia would buy the apartments at 450 Redwood Ave., not far from Hawes Park and school. While the ownership of the apartments would change, it wouldn’t add any additional housing to Redwood City.
Nearly all of the council members, and in particular Councilwoman Diana Reddy, asked the developers to consider adding more housing to their projects.
Instead of Premia buying apartments, some council members wanted the developer to build more housing to make up for the added office space. But others praised the retention of the 27 apartments.
Nearly all of the residents, advocates, or business owners who spoke via Zoom video conference tonight were in favor of the projects, particularly the housing aspects of both projects.
Many of those in favor of the Allerton project praised the futsal courts, saying it will increase the ability for children in the area to get on the court.
Pablo, a seventh-grader who goes to the Siena Youth Center, said there is not much space for soccer fields in Redwood City where children can “train and have fun.”
Supporters of the 1900 Broadway project said the Wells Fargo building has long needed to be rejuvenated, and the proposed development would bring vibrancy to the edges of the downtown.
Resident Kris Johnson said he was concerned with the Wells Fargo site and the use of Spring Street for development.
The two projects will add a combined 310,000-square feet of office space, which some residents and council members are wary about.
Council member Lisette Espioza-Garnica asked whether the council could look at the jobs-housing imbalance. Other council members, including Michael Smith, questioned the city’s planning trajectory since its office cap for its downtown zoning plan has long been met.
Mayor Diane Howard said she wants to make sure there will be enough utilities, such as water, for the next phase of development in and around downtown Redwood City.
Community Development Director Mark Muenzer explained that the city will do an supplemental Environmental Impact Report to examine the impact the projects will have on the jobs-housing imbalance, traffic and utilities.
This is far from the last time the council will review these projects. Because of the supplemental EIR and other planning processes in the city, it will take about two years for the projects to get through the process, according to Muenzer.