By Jacob Bourne
Franklin Templeton Investments, a global investment management firm that has had offices in the Bay Area since 1973, is in the preliminary stages of expanding its San Mateo campus. During the 15 years residing at 1 Franklin Parkway, the firm has aimed to be an active member of the community by helping to create a Class I parkway bike route, providing a shuttle service for commuters, and donating parking spaces to community events.
On June 7, the firm engaged local residents of surrounding neighborhoods such as Glendale Village, Fiesta Gardens and Bay Meadows Phase II at a meeting previewing plans for the proposed development. Franklin Templeton representatives along with construction company Devcon Construction, others involved in the development and community members discussed plan details and potential impacts on the community.
According to Lorraine Weiss, planning consultant for the project, the firm has been moving towards the expansion project for several years but was delayed due to economic conditions. The project is part of a larger cohesive plan of the existing campus that’ll add two more office buildings and a landscaped outdoor area totaling just under 900,000 square feet.
“We’re completing our part of Bay Meadows Specific Plan Phase I, albeit with significantly less construction than was originally contemplated; while positioning ourselves for what we hope is decades of growth ahead, without expanding our footprint geographically and without eliminating any public access to our campus,” explained Mark Constant, Franklin Templeton treasurer.
The two office buildings will have a combined square footage of 241,936 square feet, each with four stories and designs that match the current architectural style of the campus’ other structures. Devcon recently compared quarry stone samples to materials of current buildings and found the appearance to be identical. The landscaped outdoor space that’ll be developed will include employee amenities such as a dining arrangement, sports court and meeting area. The buildings won’t require extra parking as there’s a surplus of spaces in existing garages. The new construction will supplement the campus’ six main current buildings. Drainage for surface run-off will be engineered on the construction site to keep facility water out of the Bay.
“Basically we’re down about 590 cars from the original plans, which is good,” said Michelle Ney, senior project architect for Devcon. “There are about two and half floors in these parking garages that don’t get used. Missing this parking garage does a lot of nice things; it opens some nice vision corridors and also gives us an opportunity for more of a direct visual connection off of the Class I bicycle parkway that links the project with Caltrain.”
Also involved in the project, Kurt Culver, landscape architect with Guzzardo Partnership, Inc., will be designing pedestrian walkways and possible bike connections between on and off-campus routes, to provide greater access for employees and local residents. A large grassy section on the northwestern edge of the campus that’s frequented by local residents walking their dogs, has no current plans for development.
A few neighbors in attendance raised concerns around potential increases in traffic and noise from below-grade digging and steel-framed construction, to which Franklin Templeton representatives responded that measures will be taken to minimize impacts. A pre-application, Planning Commission study session will be held at San Mateo City Hall on Tuesday, June 28. The applicant team will then provide an additional detailed plan package including analysis around sustainability, transportation and noise impacts. Planning permits are expected to be issued within the next year with an estimated project completion of 2019.