By Meghan Hall
Stanford University is wasting no time as it continues to build out its Stanford Redwood City campus, a project that has been in the works for well over a decade. The university finished Phase I of the project, which marked its first major expansion from the original campus in more than 25 years, in the spring of last year. Now, Stanford has begun submitting plans for Phase II, including those for Block C, which will consist of two, five-story buildings totaling about 125,000 square feet apiece.
“The Block C development just continues the momentum that Phase I Blocks A and B started,” explained Steve Elliott, Stanford’s managing director for development, land, buildings and real estate. “…We bought the property in 2005, so it has been a long time of working with the City and the community. We’re just executing on that vision and so far with our 2,200-plus employees here, it seems to be going really well. We’re excited.”
According to project documents, Block C will also include a 4,000 square foot amenity building, 1,086 parking spaces located in an above-ground garage, and 63 bike slots.
Much of Block C, like the previous phases, will focus on infrastructure improvements. Burlingame Avenue will be extended and the final street segments across the campus will be put in place, completing the urban grid. The university will also be building upon its “Green Way” concept, which places an emphasis on a natural landscape and pedestrian walkway that weaves throughout the campus.
“It is continuing to focus on landscape and natural cover as opposed to the sea of asphalt that was there before we started,” Elliott added.
Stanford and City officials passed the Stanford Precise Plan for the 35-acre site back in 2013, and the university has a 20-year development agreement with the City. The project site was originally developed with the Mid-Point Technology Park, home to Excite@Home and Ampex. Stanford acquired the sites after Stanford Health purchased four buildings on Broadway that are now used as outpatient clinics.
While specific uses for Block C’s two office buildings have not officially been determined, Elliott stated that the university has identified that the first building will contain some medical-related uses, the School of Medicine, supportive faculty offices and other clinical operations.
Elliott did emphasize that the buildings will likely support the university’s operations over on Block E. In the fall of 2019, Stanford Health Care submitted its plans for Block E, which will construct a 227,000 square foot medical office building at 400, 500 and 510 Broadway. A variety of outpatient services will be provided at Block E, according to previous reporting by The Registry, including radiology, imaging, labs and women’s health and primary care.
“In an ideal situation, it is a similar timeline as the Block E project across Broadway, because that project is a medical office building and Block C will support some of those operations,” said Elliott.
Stanford hopes to get City approval and permits by the end of 2020 and deliver one office building and the parking structure by mid-2023. The timing of the second building, as well as the final cost of buildout, will be determined by which departments will move in, a decision that Stanford has yet to make. Those decisions will be based on the university’s needs.
Thus far, Redwood City officials have yet to deem the application complete. Before securing approvals, Stanford will need to go through the environmental and design review processes, as well as a public hearing, before approval can be granted.
However, Elliott seemed optimistic about the planning process, stating that many concerns were more operational, and that the Stanford Precise Plan laid the groundwork for the project well in advance. Additionally, Elliott continued, employee reactions to the campus have provided staff with the confidence that they have done something right.
“One of the biggest things we’ve learned so far is the reaction from our employees has been very positive,” said Elliott. “I think it just gives us a lot of confidence going into Phase II and extending the campus concept.”
With the expansion to the new campus, Stanford quickly became one of Redwood City’s largest employers, a designation that requires a great deal of corporate responsibility, noted Elliott.
“[We are] continuing to build upon the community that we have out here,” he said. “Literally overnight we became Redwood City’s second largest employer, and so we want to continue our commitment to the city, to the neighbors.”
In its years of working with the City and community, Stanford has worked to host a number of speaker series, including an entrepreneurial business partnership with Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and other educational contributions. In all, Stanford has also built a 2.4-acre park which just opened and is going to provide more than $15 million in community benefits.
Elliott continued, “We’re part of the fabric of the Redwood City Community [now].”