In a potential game changer for San Mateo, the Bay Area city has been presented with a plan to demolish an 11-acre, 1970s-era office park on Waters Park Drive and replace it with a new housing development.
Project applicant AG-Strada Waters Park Owner, L.P. and Manager Nik Krukowski filed a Planning Pre-Application with the city on Oct. 11 for the proposed development.
The project applicant is affiliated with San Francisco-based Strada Investment Group, which acquired Waters Technology Park I, II and III in San Mateo in May 2017 for $45.7 million, or roughly $277 per square foot for the 165,000 square feet that make up the buildings.
Dahlin Group of Pleasanton is the proposed residential project’s architect.
In San Mateo, pre-applications are required for any proposed project comprising 10,000 or more square feet or 20 or more new residential units, said Darcy Forsell, the city’s principal planner and zoning administrator.
Strada is requesting a general plan amendment and a zoning classification change, Forsell said.
The office park is bounded by Borel Creek and the J. Arthur Younger Freeway to the north, Adrian Avenue to the south, Highway 101 to the east and South Norfolk Street to the west.
The 11.1-acre property is currently zoned for Executive Office use and is occupied by an executive business park that was built in 1979. A mixture of technology and traditional companies are now located there, including major tenant Adap.tv, the tech advertising firm that AOL acquired in 2013. Verizon purchased AOL in 2015. Adap.tv’s lease of 38,000 square feet extends through February 2019.
The proposed redevelopment would replace the existing office park with 190 for-sale residences, including two-story detached single-family houses and three or four-story attached townhomes, block homes or row homes.
The homes would range in size from four story, 1,375-square-foot row houses to two story, 1,800-square-foot detached homes, according to plans Strada filed with the city. The complex will contain a total of 418 parking spaces, including 374 garages.
The complex would have 100,000 square feet of common open space, 5,400 square feet of ground floor open space and 22,000 square feet of private open space.
The Strada project also would bring community amenities including a new 1,000-foot trail along Borel Creek that’s slated to contain native plants, seating and a new dog park. The Waters Park property is located nearby many existing residential communities.
A representative for Dahlin referred The Registry’s requests for comment to Strada, which did not return phone calls or emails.
Studies on how the proposed development would impact traffic and parking must be conducted as part of the pre-application process, said Forsell. Replacing offices with residential units will alter traffic patterns, with residents leaving the complex in the morning to go to work and returning to the complex in the evening, an opposite commute cycle to what now exists.
Forsell said the proposal is not a Transit Oriented Development, a type of community development that includes a mixture of housing, office, retail and other amenities that are integrated into a walkable neighborhood placed within a half-mile of public transportation.
However, the current office park is served by San Mateo Caltrain Connector, a free service which is funded by San Mateo County Transit, Caltrain and the City of San Mateo. Two Caltrain stations, Hillsdale and Hayward Park, are located nearby.
“That’s a positive,” said Forsell.
An informational neighborhood meeting and Planning Commission Study Session will be held at a future date, as is required under the Pre-Application Planning Process. After that’s completed, a formal planning application submittal will be required.
“The goal of it … is to provide an opportunity for both the neighborhood and the Planning Commission to give input at the earliest stage of the planning process,” said Forsell. “This is the first step.”
Forsell added that the city must determine “what is the highest and best use of the land.”