By Jacob Bourne
Construction is well underway for Station Park Green, a transit-oriented mixed-use project at 1700 South Delaware Street in San Mateo owned by Essex Property Trust Inc. EBL&S Development has been working with project architect, MVE + Partners to deliver the multi-building development offering 599 market rate apartments, 27,000 square feet of retail and 10,000 square feet of office space on the 12-acre site. Station Park Green is one of the first in California to be part of the LEED Neighborhood Development pilot program founded by the U.S. Green Building Council. Under the program, the project has achieved a gold rating for the certification.
“The LEED ND objective is about sustainability but also about really good community design,” said Darin Schoolmeester, principal, MVE + Partners. “Our firm’s principles really blend naturally with LEED ND, so it wasn’t about trying to comply with their standards so much as it was an opportunity to focus on our existing values.”
Station Park Green is located within the San Mateo Rail Corridor Transit-Oriented Development Plan area, nestled between the Hayward and San Mateo Caltrain Stations. It’s also nearby parks, shopping, community resources and walkable streets. From Schoolmeester’s perspective, the project’s location was a significant factor in positioning it to be a strong candidate for the LEED ND certification. It was one of five projects considered for the pilot program and the second to achieve a gold rating.
The LEED ND certification was created to recognize projects that contribute to the “greening” of neighborhoods. Projects that gain the certification promote the reduction in vehicle miles traveled through design and location, allow for connections to employment centers via transit or walkable streets, and prioritize energy and water use efficiency. Station Park Green features storm water re-use, drought resistant landscaping, a solar reflective roof as well as high energy appliances and elevators. Local materials are also used in construction while waste is being diverted and recycled.
Good connectivity and compact design are central components of LEED ND as a way to foster more vibrant communities and discourage urban-suburban sprawl. The certification encourages the reuse of underutilized sites such as surface parking lots and brownfield sites. The overarching goal of LEED ND is to integrate sustainable buildings in a way that considers the benefit of whole communities beyond the boundaries of a single project.
Station Park Green was approved in 2015 and construction is complete for the first mixed-use building. Work is underway on the second, primarily residential building with full project buildout estimated for the fourth quarter of 2019. The project’s four buildings will activate the community with ground floor retail and restaurants, along with two acres of publicly accessible open space that’s connected to the broader community by walkable streets, garden trails and courtyard pathways. Parking structures are hidden in the middle of the development and feature landscaped roof decks. According to the developer, the project has received support from Greenbelt Alliance, the Sierra Club, San Mateo County Economic Development Association, NRDC, San Mateo Chamber of Commerce and other entities.
“We encourage all of our clients to pursue these programs,” Schoolmeester commented. “LEED ND is good for sites with good proximity to community resources and transit. There’s interest in this certification not just in the Bay Area but also in more suburban communities, where people don’t want to have to really on cars and want convenient access to transit.”