By Jacob Bourne
A conceptual design review process for a residential mixed-use project at 557 East Bayshore Road in Redwood City has been reengaged following a hiatus as the original proposal was determined to be incomplete by Planning staff in December 2015. In September, developer SyRes Properties, LLC submitted another iteration of the plans addressing the issues cited. BDE Architecture is now involved in the planning process and David J. Powers & Associates Inc. is the environmental review consultant.
The property is located on the Bayfront with views of Bair Island and has been mostly vacant since 2008, with some uses for parking and storage. The project aims to redevelop spaces formerly used by Century Theaters, which relocated to Downtown.
“We just received the new conceptual plan submittal and it’s being routed through the departments for comments,” said Lisa Costa-Sanders, project planner. “We should get comments back this week and then the EIR process will be re-initiated. The project will go before both the Planning Commission and City Council. No meetings are scheduled as it’s still in the early conceptual stage of the process.”
The most significant issue with the original proposal was the size of the residential aspect. While the prior design called for 550 units, only 336 multi-family residences are now being proposed, with the commercial component of 100,000 square feet of recreational space remaining the same. The 550 units had been found to be inconsistent with the General Plan and zoning requirements. During the preliminary stages, City Council had reviewed the conceptual plans and expressed concerns about the timing and scale. At that juncture, the results of a city-wide traffic study has not been completed and decisions on large-scale projects were put on hold.
With the project’s current 336 housing units, a Zoning Map Amendment is required to allow for the high-density residential. A decision on both the development application and the zoning change will be made concurrently by City Council. According to Costa-Sanders, the approval process could take between six months and a year.
The commercial aspect is geared towards high-end sports and recreation with the VillaSport Athletic Club & Spa complex that will front East Bayshore Road. The complex includes four swimming pools, two basketball courts, racquetball area, child care facility, spa, and fitness centers.
The multi-family residential building area facing Bair Island, will total 480,698 square feet and include market-rate, rentable studios, one and two bedroom units averaging 816 square feet. A combination of partial-below-grade garage and surface parking will provide 575 spaces. Landscaped outdoor areas total 13,044 square feet and include fire pits and outdoor kitchens for residents. Building amenities include workspaces, fitness center, club lounge, bike shop and a pool.
“The Bay frontage is a prime opportunity to bring the natural environment into the site while creating a strong connection to the neighborhood,” wrote Jonathan Ennis, president BDE Architecture, in a letter regarding the project. “The intent is to integrate native planting throughout the project and look for opportunities to add to the restoration of the Bay frontage. This project will embrace pedestrian and bicycle circulation around and through the site, creating linkages between VillaSport and the new, as well as the existing, residential units. The development pulls back from the Bay frontage in order to provide gathering spaces and platforms to experience nature allowing for the neighboring communities to connect.”