Redwood City Council Approves Premier Properties’ Plans for 130-Unit Apartment Building

Redwood City Council, Redwood City, Premier Properties, Toby Long Design, Oakland, Bay Area, Happy Donuts, Cycle Gear, The Record Man, Palo Alto, IQHQ, Elco Yards

By Kate Snyder

Redwood City continues to march toward filling out its stretch of El Camino Real. A recently approved residential development will bring 130 new apartments to the city’s Roosevelt neighborhood. The Redwood City Council voted in favor of the project during its Jan. 23 meeting, and the project developer, Premier Properties, is now seeking entitlements.

Jon Goldman and Brad Ehikian, both partners at Premier Properties, believe that without housing, communities like Redwood City will become stagnant and fail to grow the way they should be growing.

“If we don’t build more housing in this area, the economic vitality is threatened,” Goldman said.

Located at 1330 El Camino Real, the project is a six-story building totaling approximately 133,922 square feet and would include a mix of 105 studios, 14 one-, eight two- and three three-bedroom units. Twenty percent of the units would be offered at below market rate rents – 13 moderate, six low income and seven very low income. There are also plans for 110 parking stalls, in a subterranean parking garage, that would be “unbundled” and leased separately from the residential units. The project also includes parking for 63 bicycles with some of the above-ground floor units also containing additional bike storage.

The architect on the project is Toby Long Design, based in Oakland. Materials for the building’s exterior would utilize a mixture of white stucco, rainscreen composite panels, textured brick veneer, metal and glazing, according to project plans. All existing structures on the site, which include a four-unit residential building, Happy Donuts, Cycle Gear, The Record Man and surface parking, would be demolished as part of the project.

The project is also located within the city’s Downtown Precise Plan, which was adopted in 2011, according to city records. The DTPP describes the vision for the future of Redwood City’s downtown, regulates private development and recommends potential future city projects. 

Premier Partners is based in Palo Alto and offers services in property management, brokerage and investment partnerships. The firm is primarily a commercial real estate company but has delved into a residential project because of the growing need within the area and because that’s what Redwood City officials seemed most interested in, according to Goldman and Ehikian.

The process of getting the project to this point has been a long road. It started approximately four years ago when the firm purchased the site for about $9.5 million. One of the bigger obstacles toward approval was a question over whether the site was a designated historic landmark – in 2020, city officials ultimately determined that the site is not a historic resource and should not be considered as such. After that, the pandemic also slowed progress, but finally over the past year, the process began to pick up pace.

“We went from feeling like we were never going to get approved to getting approved in six months,” Goldman said.

Redwood City is undergoing something of a renaissance with life science, Goldman said. He pointed out that IQHQ’s Elco Yards development is located just across the street from the 1330 El Camino Real site. According to The Registry’s previous reporting, Elco Yards is a mixed-use district that features four buildings totaling approximately 600,000 square feet and two residential buildings with 540 units. That development is part of IQHQ’s overall strategy to develop “iconic, sustainable and truly transformational projects in the world’s leading life science markets.”

Both Goldman and Ehikian noted that while Premier Properties has been focused on commercial real estate, more projects that are at least mixed-use if not fully residential are likely in the firm’s future. Those sorts of projects are in demand currently, and Goldman said if life science continues to grow the way it has been, then housing needs to grow as well to support the additional jobs coming to the city.

“As a Redwood City resident, it’s exciting to be part of this process,” Goldman said. “It feels nice to be one of the good guys in providing affordable housing. That’s why we did it.”

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