By Meghan Hall
After a lengthy pre-application process and a round of revisions, the City of San Mateo has published new plans detailing the redevelopment of the Concar Shopping Center bounded by Concar Drive, Grant Street and South Delaware Street in San Mateo. The project, dubbed Passage at San Mateo by San Clemente-based developer California Coastal Properties (CCP), seeks to demolish the existing retail center and create a mixed-use, transit-oriented development that will feature a 935-unit residential and 35,000 square-foot retail and commercial complex on the 14.5-acre site located near the Hayward Park Caltrain Station. The City had been waiting to release plans until after it had completed a review of the proposal, which was submitted in February of 2018.
“Passage at San Mateo is a vision into the future of complete communities in the Bay Area that meet the needs of future residents and existing neighborhoods at the same time,” explained Brian Myers, a partner at CCP. “This is our vision for an alternative urban environment we label Alt-Urban that provides the flavor of urban city living, with all the conveniences, but close to thousands of jobs.”
The development is currently occupied by retailers such as Trader Joe’s, 7-11 and Shane Jewelers, and is adjacent to Interstate 92, the El Camino Real and Highway 101. According to Myers, the ultimate goal of the project is to simultaneously help address the Bay Area’s housing crisis and reduce traffic congestion.
“Transportation-oriented development is the present and future of community development in the Bay Area,” said Myers. “Access to mass transit, in our case Caltrain, allows for residents to experience San Francisco to the north and San Jose to the south, and many interesting downtowns along the way, without ever having to fight traffic on the freeways or local streets.”
The development would create approximately 935 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartment units to rent across four buildings on the property. A portion of the apartments would be designated for affordable housing uses.
However, the large scope of the project has prompted the surrounding community to challenge its size and question whether or not the development will contribute to the area’s congestion. Currently, the area has been a hub for development; the Hines 400|450 Concar Dr. office buildings, which sit just across the street of the proposed project site was completed in late 2017, while Station Park Green, a new residential development brought to life by Essex Property Trust that will add 599 units, is currently under construction and sits across an intersection to the northwest of the proposed development.
“We have hosted over 30 meetings with community leaders, residents’ groups, local businesses, HOAs and other public meetings to receive input on our pre-application submittal,” said Myers addressing the community’s concerns. “We are fortunate in that our proposed project has few impacts than the existing retail land use. Not everyone in the community believes that, but it is intuitive that a regional shopping center produces more impacts than any other land use category.”
CCP claims that the development will reduce traffic in the area by 25 percent due to its access to public transportation and its close proximity to the over 5,000 jobs offered by major employers such as Oracle and Medallia, as well as the companies located in the nearby Bay Meadows development by Wilson Meany. The existing Trader Joe’s and 7-11 will also be incorporated into project plans in an effort to reduce the number of daily car trips by future residents. However, parking is still included in the plans; 1,235 parking stalls designated for residential use and 194 covered retail parking stalls are planned.
Existing residents are also concerned about the amount of open space and trail connectivity.
“We are addressing all of these concerns with meaningful changes to our plan, with the exception of density,” said Myers.
In total, the plans for the development, which were created in partnership with civil engineers BKF and architecture firm MVE + Partners, currently include 35,000 square feet of commercial and retail space in order to accommodate restaurants and shops. On-site daycare, fitness studios, a co-working space and plenty of outdoor space are just a few of the amenities that the development will offer, and many of these perks will be available to the public. The central intersection of the development’s public streets and walkways will be called “The Depot” and will host a community room and access to public shuttles and private transit options such as Uber and Lyft.
Currently, CCP is in the process of purchasing the land from several property owners and are currently under contract, but Myers did not disclose the terms of the agreements.
Myers stated that CCP hopes to submit a formal project application in August 2018 with the hope of starting construction by 2020. Because the project is still in its preliminary planning stages, construction costs have not yet disclosed. The aim is for the development’s first occupants to move in by 2021, although buildout of the complex would continue until 2025.
As of this writing, the City of San Mateo was unable to return a request for comment.