By Meghan Hall
After almost 10 years in planning and development, the long-awaited Bay Meadows Phase II development in the City of San Mateo continues its progress with a revised proposal for two new structures that would double the square footage of the buildings since their initial proposal. The Bay Meadows project, which was originally approved by the San Mateo City Council in April 2008, is proposing to add nearly 170,000 square feet to two new buildings in the budding new mixed-use neighborhood built on the former site of the Bay Meadows horse track.
Located at the intersection of South Delaware Street and East 28th Avenue, Phase II of the Bay Meadows is a massive undertaking and includes the construction of two additional buildings: Station 1 and Station 5. The project sponsor is Wilson Meany, a mixed-use development firm that specializes in urban development in both Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area. HOK, a global design and engineering firm, is the architect for the buildings.
The plans, which are well underway, aim to create an urban village with easy access to office space, retailers and public transportation. Restaurants like Fieldwork’s and Tin Pot Creamery are within the development, while 18 acres of public park space spread across three new parks provide ample outdoor space.
“Bay Meadows demonstrates that it is possible to have a higher-density, amenity-rich development combined with parks and open space near transit,” said Wilson Meany partner and master developer Janice Thacher.
The Bay Meadows development is also adjacent to the Caltrain Hillsdale Station and close to Highway 101. According to Darcy Forsell, the principal planner and zoning administrator for the City of San Mateo, many of current Bay Meadows residents use alternative modes of transportation on a regular basis: more than half of residents use Caltrain or bike on a weekly basis.
The plans for Station 1 and Station 5 would continue to add residential, commercial and office space, although the plans have changed slightly since their initial approval. A new planning application was submitted to the city in November 2017 and is currently under review.
Currently, there is no timeline for the approval process, but the review is underway. “The approval process is iterative and difficult to predict,” offered Forsell. “The City always envisioned a very long timeline for this project.” However, once all approvals are in place, construction could be completed within 18 to 24 months.
The original plans to redevelop the single-use race track included a single 98,061 square foot office building and a six-story parking garage for Station 1, while proposed plans for Station 5 included one 105,048 square foot office building and 285 parking stalls. Station 5 plans also included a location for Caltrain to build a parking structure.
In the new plans, the office building for Station 1 would be increased to 184,205 square feet spread across three stories while the six-story parking garage will be replaced by 448 parking spaces underground. Previous plans called for an above-ground garage, which now allows for expanded design and activation possibilities. All of the 5,794 square feet of the ground-floor commercial space included in the original plans would be eliminated.
The new plans for Station 5 also include an increase in square footage; Station 5’s office space would increase to 185,661 square feet. The number of office parking spaces has also increased significantly from 285 spaces to 749 spaces. However, plans for the Caltrain parking structure have been eliminated, and the amount of ground-floor commercial space has been decreased from 4,098 square feet to 2,377 square feet.
“The proposed improvements in design create more space for people above-ground, including enhanced streetscapes and plazas instead of a stacked parking garage,” said Thacher. “Bay Meadows is authorized to include 1.25 million square feet of office space under the base development program established by the Specific Plan. The proposed SPAR modifications would bring the total office space sited within Bay Meadows to 942,000 square feet, which is 308,000 square feet below that entitled under the Specific Plan’s base office program,” Thacher added.
Station 1 will have two levels of below-grade parking while Station 5 will have three. Despite increases in the number of parking stalls, on-site parking has been reduced overall; instead of 2.75 spaces per 1,000 square feet of office space, there will be 2.6 spaces per 1,000 square feet of office space.
Thacher added, “The previously-approved stand-alone parking structure would be integrated into the buildings and placed partially below ground, creating an improved aesthetic that will better integrate into the high-quality design of other completed office buildings at Bay Meadows.”
Thacher did not confirm whether or not tenants had been found for the buildings. “We have strong interest from large, high-quality users attracted to Bay Meadows because of its transit adjacent location and amenities,” said Thacher. “The mixed-use environment with housing and retail within walking distance is also a benefit.”
Station 4, also located at Bay Meadows and developed by Wilson Meany, is currently the headquarters for tech giant SurveyMonkey. Survey Monkey began leasing the 210,000 square foot building in January 2017 along with subtenants Ten-X, an online real estate transaction marketplace, and Zuora, a software company that now uses Bay Meadows as its headquarters.
“I think Bay Meadows is a model for sustainable growth in the Bay Area,” said Forsell. “If you invest in very intelligent, very forward-thinking urban planning, it does provide benefits. Ultimately, we at the city are just very proud Bay Meadows has been so successful.”