By Meghan Hall
As developers throughout the Bay Area look to create transit-oriented developments, they are often targeting infill sites around BART and other major Bay Area transit lines. In the case of Sares Regis Group of Northern California, when the opportunity arose to redevelop a parking lot next to the Hayward Park Caltrain Station in San Mateo, the developer jumped at the opportunity. Sares Regis entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Caltrain back in 2015 and at the end of March, submitted a pre-application to construct 189 apartments on the three-acre site.
“It is a great site because of its proximity to transit,” said Ken Busch, senior vice president at Sares Regis and lead on the project. “We think that it is a huge strength, and it will provide housing in an area that really needs housing.”
According to project documents, the development would be spread between two buildings, one five stories and the other three stories. The units will be a mix of junior one-, one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 598 square feet to 1,540 square feet. 268 parking spaces on two levels of podium garage parking would help to replace the existing 225-space surface parking lot. A rooftop deck with an outdoor kitchen and television, as well as a spa, are also part of the project plans.
In addition, Sares Regis is proposing a community benefits package as part of the development, which will include 15 units for very-low income tenants and 13 moderately-priced units.
“[These units] will really target the workforce housing need, that missing middle that people are talking about,” said Busch. “We think that this is something that not many communities really provide.”
The project is designed by BDE Architecture.
The site is just a short distance from central downtown San Mateo, and is easily accessible via State Routes 82 and 92, as well as Highway 101. Several bike trails also service the project site, and a variety of eateries ranging from Starbucks to El Sinaloense and Safeway are within walking distance. A shopping center, anchored by a Trader Joe’s and a T.J. Maxx, is also just minutes away. According to Busch, the development will be ideal for those working on the Peninsula, as the development makes for an easy commute both north and south. The development is also about a mile from Bay Meadows.
According to Busch, the property fits in well with Sares Regis’ existing development portfolio around the San Francisco Bay Area.
“There are a lot of jobs in San Mateo and the Foster City area, and I think it does fit in well [with our portfolio] because it is transit-focused,” said Busch. “For our communities up and down the Peninsula, we really focused on transit. It fits in well there to allow people to take the train.”
Sares Regis has produced more than 20,000 multifamily units throughout the Bay Area over the last three decades. Currently, it is working on a 73-unit condominium project in Belmont and has 455 more units in the pipeline throughout San Francisco. Busch estimates that it will take until fall or winter of this year to secure entitlements. Construction would then begin in mid- to late-2020, after construction documents have been completed, and an additional two years will be needed to develop the building.
However, the multifamily market in the Bay Area is tight and competitive, and Sares Regis looks forward to delivering the project.
“The multifamily market is very strong. It’s definitely an undersupplied market,” said Busch. “We’re optimistic this is a well-planned project.”