By Jacob Bourne
The Tragoutsis family, Bay Area grocers since 1953, have owned and operated Trag’s Market located at 303 Baldwin Avenue in San Mateo since the 1970s when they purchased the property. On May 10, a pre-application was filed with the City by Prometheus Real Estate Group, Inc. to demolish the existing market and surface parking lot and construct a five-story, 134,975 square foot mixed-use building on the nearly 1-acre site. WRNS Studio is working on the design along with landscape architecture firm 2.ink Studio. BKF Engineers is also involved in the project.
“It’s in the very first steps of the development review process,” explained Roscoe Mata, associate planner. “The project is currently under review by City departments and once the review is complete, we’ll move forward with a neighborhood meeting and Planning Commission study session.”
Building uses include 65,079 square feet of office space, 46,478 square feet of residential and 17,077 square feet of commercial-retail. The project would be the latest in transit-oriented development for Downtown San Mateo as it’s situated in an active spot on the southeast corner of Baldwin Avenue and North B Street, and a mere three minute walk to the San Mateo Caltrain station. Located to the west of Highway 101 and east of North El Camino Real, the development site is surrounded by diverse uses such as residential, dining, retail, entertainment, churches and healthcare.
“We can expect a mixed-used project like this to be active throughout the day and evening with residents, workers and shoppers,” commented Ann Fienman, executive director, Downtown San Mateo Association. “That means more customers for all kinds of Downtown businesses. And the proposed design features several storefronts with tree-lined sidewalks, which makes for a better pedestrian experience than a large surface parking lot. This change can create a more inviting connection between North and South B Street.”
Plans call for 47 residential units, mostly one and two-bedrooms, but with some studios and junior one-bedrooms as well. Building amenities offer lobby areas for both the offices and residences along with a fitness center, residential courtyard and roof terrace. Common areas feature wooden benches, a fire pit and cook stations, counter with bar stool seating, and deck area. Four levels of underground parking would provide 278 vehicle spaces as well as 61 long-term and 19 short-term bike spaces.
The building’s design is defined by the contrast between upper floors dominated by clear vision glass and an earthy ground level with a dark brick facade. A warm feel is created by wood paneling that borders the street-level entrances adjacent to mature street trees and sidewalk planters. The upper level facade is also marked by a curtain wall with aluminum detail, fiber cement siding and cement plaster finish. The courtyard is brightened with a white stucco finish while wooden canopies offer shade on the terrace.
“Housing is a major concern throughout the region, so it’s great to see residential units proposed here. Office space is also in great demand Downtown, so additional space in a building like this could accommodate growing companies that want to remain in the neighborhood,” Fienman added.