By Meghan Hall
As increases in home prices continue to outpace wage growth, young professionals and families are waiting longer to buy, and demand for middle market and starter housing has increased region-wide. When several parcels along Highway 101 in San Mateo posed a viable opportunity for redevelopment, residential and commercial real estate developer Sares Regis jumped at the opportunity to build a 35-unit townhome community on the site with the intent of bringing needed product to market. The firm, also based in San Mateo, submitted its plans to the City at the beginning of July.
“Sares Regis has been building successful, mutually beneficial relationships with property owners on the Peninsula for nearly 25 years and this site was representative of our approach,” said Travis Duncan, Project Manager for Residential Development at SRGNC. “We’re grateful that we’ve been able to build on those relationships for this and other Peninsula projects to help bring new homes that meet the community’s housing needs and continue to improve the neighborhoods we live and work in.”
The project site is composed of several parcels located at 1218 Monte Diablo Ave. and 131, 139 and 145 N. Kingston St. The parcels are currently developed with an existing commercial building, duplex, five-plex and single-family buildings, all of which will be demolished to make way for the new community, called Monte Diablo Homes. According to Duncan, Sares Regis was attracted to the site for several reasons, including its location and zoning.
“We’re based in San Mateo, and we love looking close to where we work. We look at basically every site in the area,” added Duncan. “This one is of a sufficient scale and is already zoned for residential, which makes it very attractive to us.”
The units planned range from approximately 1,300 square feet to 1,800 square feet in size, and project documents indicate there are eight different planned layouts that have between three and four bedrooms. Covered parking — including three car garages — as well as a children’s play area and an abundance of trees are also included in the plans.
“The townhome style we are proposing certainly fits in with what is adjacent, which we think is fantastic,” added Duncan. “There is clearly a market need for smaller, starter home-like housing in the neighborhood, and really the whole region.”
The development is to be designed by San Jose, Calif.-based VTBS Architects. The development’s five buildings will have their garages situated on the inside of the development, with unit entrances along Monte Diablo Ave. and Kingston St. to add to the residential feel and walkability of the neighborhood.
For Sares Regis, the goal was to appeal to young professionals or families looking to buy their first home in the Bay Area.
“[The site] is in a residential neighborhood in San Mateo, and it is in a number of good school districts, so we think young families will be interested,” Duncan said. “We’re hopeful that the project will continue to improve the neighborhood… I think the area will love it.”
The site is within several school districts in the area, and surrounding development is primary composed of single and multi-family residential. North Shoreview Elementary School, North Shoreview Montessori, San Mateo High School and the San Mateo Union High School District offices are located nearby.
“It’s an opportunity for young families to find a place to really put down some roots,” said Duncan. “We want to make this an attractive opportunity for the community to buy into.”
The project underwent its first community meeting this past week, and support for the development was fairly positive, stated Duncan. The next step is the first Planning Commission Study Session, which will take place on August 13th. Sares Regis hopes to have entitlements secured by the end of the year, although Duncan noted that it was still fairly early in the planning process.
“It is always a little challenging to project how the planning process will work,” said Duncan. “But we’d love to be entitled by the end of this year.”