By Jacob Bourne
Property owner Barry Swenson Builders submitted a pre-application to the City of San Mateo in July for a 151-unit residential project at 477 E. Hillsdale Boulevard. The site is just off of Highway 101 and close to an abundance of retail, a Whole Foods, healthcare, City services and several parks. In order to move forward, rezoning from C2-5 to R-5 would be required to allow for multiple, high-density family dwellings. The current project team includes architect Dahlin Group, BKF Engineers and JETT Landscape Architecture and Design.
“Based on what’s currently proposed there will be a General Plan amendment and rezoning,” said Roscoe Mata, associate planner, San Mateo Planning Department. “It just falls under the General Plan, it’s not in a specific plan area. It’s still early on, so there may be some tweaks to the project.”
The current conceptual plan calls for a 274,672 square foot, wood-frame building that’s three to four stories over a concrete garage. The units will be mostly one to two-bedrooms and about six three-bedroom units featuring spacious balconies, bay windows and walk-in closets. An underground garage will have and at-grade parking of 291 spaces.
“The design reflects a multi-faceted approach,” remarked Padru Kang, senior designer, Dahlin Group. “It’s marked by clean contour lines and definitely more of an urban design, but we also created a pedestrian feel on the south end by reducing the massing and softening that side, so it’s almost like a townhome feel. Transitioning to the northern side we’re giving it an edge and making more of a statement with the Hillsdale-facing facade.”
The proposed development would be situated right near the western side of the 101 on-ramp, having strong walkability to the vicinity including a short, easy route to the Hillsdale Caltrain Station. Kang spoke of future neighborhood amenities planned for the area including a bicycle bridge that would connect the residences with the eastern side of the highway.
The building’s first-floor amenities include a fitness center, yoga room and patio, while the second floor has a large community room. On the third floor a faux roof deck serves as part of the residents’ circulation for the level as well as providing open-air space that overlooks one of the building’s two courtyards. Outdoor space amenities include illuminated wood benches that appear “floating,” a fire pit and lounge, hot tub, outdoor theater, dog park and bocce court.
“We have a leasing-management office that’ll have a dual use,” Kang explained. “It’s off of a common circulation area and the intent is that during the day, staff will get to utilize the seating and tables near their offices. Then during the evening hours when the offices are locked, residents can take over the common space and use it as a lounge area.”
The project is in the very early stages but Kang anticipates that a formal application will be submitted in the coming months. If entitlements and building approvals are garnered by year’s end, a potential groundbreaking could be in early fall of 2017. Construction is expected to take between 15 and 18 months to complete.
“Right now the pre-application is still incomplete, and we’re awaiting a bit more information from the developer about elevations, certain design elements and details of the renderings,” said Mata.