Foster City forges bond with builder 

One San Mateo company has completed a hat trick of high-density Foster City projects after it was awarded a project to develop the 15-acre site near the Civic Center.

Sares Regis Group of Northern California — picked as the developer of the 15-acre lot Monday — is a partner in developments on that site, the Pilgrim-Triton commercial, residential and industrial project and the Chess and Hatch drives commercial-industrial area.

The third project had its preliminary study session with the Foster City Planning Commission last night.

The Chess and Hatch project is the second — behind Pilgrim-Triton — in the city’s plan to turn under-used areas near the heart of Foster City into high-density complexes to attract major clients and revenue.

"We’ve been looking at a number of different options for that site to improve it," said John Igoe, Senior Vice President of Sares Regis. "It does have the potential for housing a major corporate user if the city were looking at that."

Though the projects have been keeping his office busy, Igoe said the ventures — and close to a dozen years of working with Foster City — have helped them build up a strong working relationship.

"Over a period of time, we’ve built a relationship of trust with city staff," said John Igoe, senior vice president of Sares Regis. "The city knows the level of quality we have produced in the past."

Planning Manager Leslie Carmichael said Pilgrim-Triton and Chess-Hatch were identified by the City Council in February 2006 as sites where they would be responsive to high-density developments.

At the February meeting, the City Council decided that unlike the 15-acre site and Pilgrim-Triton, the focus of the Chess-Hatch complexes was not conducive to housing. City Council members decided the site would better serve commercial or industrial uses.

The project — multiple buildings of high-density commercial space — will join the approximately 31,000 square feet of retail space and nearly 400 housing units proposed for 11 of the 15 acres, approximately 300,000 square feet of commercial, industrial and office space and more than 700 housing units at Pilgrim-Triton.

While Pilgrim-Triton and the 15-acre site may have some relationship in terms of use or architecture, Igoe said, the Chess-Hatch project will be independent of the other major developments, but will still make a "strong architectural statement."

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