June 19, 2012 — A reminder of Redwood City’s pre-tech past is disappearing this week, soon to be replaced by an upscale 141-unit apartment complex that will anchor a major upgrade of the El Camino Boulevard neighborhood.
Through five decades, the low-slung Mel’s Bowl – with its iconic neon sign and old-style wooden alleys – has been a beacon for Bay Area bowlers. But as Silicon Valley changed, the business and the neighborhood around it struggled.
Now both the property and the neighborhood are getting a new lease on life. And the sign is hopefully headed for a new home of its own.
Crews from Urban Housing Group started work this week on construction of “25Eighty on the Blvd” which will add a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments to Redwood City’s housing mix. The addition of 141 units stands in stark contrast to the construction of just 246 new housing units in the city during the past decade.
The “25Eighty on the Blvd” opens in 2014, but improvements to the neighborhood will come even sooner.
Urban Housing Group will also revamp the area surrounding the site at 2580 El Camino Real in Redwood City consistent with the Grand Boulevard Initiative. The initiative (www.grandboulevard.net) aims to improve the performance, safety and aesthetics of this major thoroughfare.
The San Ramon-based company plans a wide range of community improvements in addition to its own 2.51 acres on the regally named thoroughfare. They include:
- Widening the sidewalk to 12 feet and adding street trees, decorative streetlights, and a street frontage plaza with bench seating.
- Converting an adjacent Hetch Hetchy parcel to a landscaped area that will replace the existing parking lot.
- Improving the existing intersection of El Camino Real and Northumberland Street by relocating and improving an existing crosswalk and relocating the bus stop for safety.
- Footing the bill for six nearby property owners and their tenants to upgrade their storefronts with painting, enhanced signage, new awnings and improved lighting.
Perhaps the most obvious neighborhood change will come in July when an adult “superstore” shuts down. As part of the “25Eighty on the Blvd” project, Urban Housing Group – with strong support from residents, business owners, and community leaders — struck an agreement with the owner of the property across the street from the new apartment complex. The store will close in July and the agreement bars any similar use for the life of the property.
“We are thrilled to proceed with this project in Redwood City,” says Elaine Breeze, Urban Housing Group Vice President of Development. “Residents will enjoy an exceptionally designed community as well as a convenient lifestyle in this service-rich location. The project represents a collaborative effort with the local community and provides much needed new housing on the Peninsula. We believe this development and its unique neighborhood benefits will serve as a catalyst to transforming this part of El Camino Real in the future.”
The mix of one-bedroom/one-bath and two-bedroom/two-bath units will range ranging from 705 to 1,106 square feet. Amenities include in-unit washers and dryers; garage parking; a pool and spa; and an outdoor kitchen, fireplace and barbecue area. Residents will enjoy two courtyards, a fitness studio and club room. Close by are jobs, shopping, top-rated schools, public transportation and freeways.
The project is expected to be completed in 2014.
All that remains is to find a great home for that iconic sign that will always recall a simpler time on the Peninsula.
About Urban Housing Group
San Ramon-based Urban Housing Group, a privately-held firm founded in 2001, specializes in apartment and mixed-use infill rental housing communities, and is recognized for award-winning developments in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.
For more on Urban Housing Group, visit www.urbanhousinggroup.com