By Meghan Hall
Plans for a new commercial project near downtown Redwood City are taking shape, and will transform an underutilized parcel into a higher density, mixed-use development. Over the past several months, Silicon Valley-based The Minkoff Group has submitted its plans to redevelop 901 El Camino Real. There, the firm plans to build a seven story commercial building, a two story commercial teen center, a public plaza and three level subterranean parking garage.
“The project would provide a thoughtfully planned, high quality mixed-use development that could serve a wide range of tenants, both large and small,” the project narrative states.
Currently, the property is developed with an automotive retail and service center, as well as a restaurant. The new project will total 174,150 square feet of space, of which 169,686 square feet will be designated for office uses. The proposed teen center will rise two stories and include 4,462 square feet of space. The teen center will provide a secure space for studying, socializing, events, training and other activities. An upper terrace designed for yoga, flexible social and meeting space, private study rooms, audio visual rooms and a demonstration kitchen are part of the center’s current layout.
473 parking spaces are also planned, and the development team also intends to fund and facilitate the construction of 60 new, affordable homes located on an off-site property. Plans for the residential units will be submitted separately, according to public documents.
The proposed plaza will be located between the office building and teen center and will total 4,000 square feet. The development team has dubbed it “Chrysanthemum Plaza” after Redwood City’s status as a “Chrysanthemum Capital of the World.” The moniker dates back to World War II and seeks to honor Japanese-American Chrysanthemum growers and their forced relocation and incarceration during the war.
“The Project would consist of an architecturally integrated design, with a publicly accessible plaza situated in between the office building and the teen center,” explains project documents. “Native and feature ornamental planting throughout will provide areas of shading and additional gathering as well as provide visual interest to the plaza as a landmark area.”
Additionally, the plaza will feature “gentle arcs” of bench seating around the perlmeter, reflecting the shape of the Chrysanthemum flower and creating gathering areas and social pockets for visitors and tenants.
The project, which will be designed by Oakland-based architecture firm Brick, will also cater to a variety of businesses in its design.
“The 901 El Camino Real Office Building is flexibly designed to accommodate both small and large office users so that it can be a vibrant contributor to Redwood City over decades and ever-changing market cycles,” documents state.
Building off of the character of the surrounding neighborhood, the project will be clad in earth-tones and articulated via structural bays. The bays will define both the base and middle masses of the project, which will also take on a Mediterranean style. A pitched roof with deep eaves and terracotta tiles will further add to the building’s identity, as will a generously landscaped roof garden, which will be accessible to office users.
The development is still in its preliminary phases, and Redwood City officials have yet to deem the project’s application complete. As a result, timing for the development is unclear, as the environmental and design review processes have yet to take place.
As of this writing, The Minkoff Group had not yet returned The Registry’s request for comment.