In a scene that is not reminiscent of many planning and City Council meetings these days, the Classics residential project in San Mateo received an ovation from practically everyone in the council chambers when the Planning Commission approved its formal site plan and architectural review this week.
The proposed urban village development, which sits on 106-120 Tilton Avenue in downtown San Mateo on a lot approximately 33,000 square feet, will feature 27 two- and three-bedroom for-sale units (15 detached and 12 townhome style condominiums) and include 58 underground parking spaces. In its third attempt at redevelopment in 28 years, the location presents a unique opportunity for additional housing in a neighborhood that will be just a couple of blocks from the mid-Peninsula downtown core and minutes from the San Mateo Caltrain station.
Accessibility was built into the core of the development. Adam Kates of the Palo Alto-based Mozart Development Company, the project’s developer, said, “The eclectic urban village concept is executed with a network of private pedestrian passageways, individual unit entries and common court [tracks].”
The project’s final proposal, which took some effort to finalize, did initially reach push-back from neighbors when they objected to its monolithic and unremarkable design. After a series of community study sessions that generated feedback from neighboring residents and the members of the city’s planning staff, the developers and their architect, Pleasanton-based Dahling Group, proposed a revitalized design that today embodies a hybrid of Spanish, French and traditional styles along with a diverse and rich color and material palette—all elements that its neighbors championed. In addition, the project is also planning to achieve 129 total GreenPoint Rated points, easily surpassing the minimum 50 points required by the sustainable rating system.
“We really like it when we see an outcome like this, where you met your goals and you also managed to meet the goals of the neighborhood, the goals of the city,” said J. Christopher Massey, one of the city’s planning commissioners, addressing Kates and others from his group representing the project. “It’s a project that I really, really like,” added Commissioner Dianne Whitaker echoing the general feeling of the Planning Commission and supporting its approval.
Passing this major development hurdle was a significant achievement for Mozart. The process continues as further requests will be made over the next few weeks to commence demolition and kick off the construction process, which is expected to last 18 to 20 months.
Kates did not want to comment on the overall project cost. He did say that construction financing would likely be conducted through one of its relationship lenders, Comerica or Union Bank.