Plans for former Bay Meadows site gallop toward finish line 

The development at the former Bay Meadows racetrack could take a turn toward the home stretch as early as next summer.

The plan to build at the former horse racetrack comes after developers announced in May they would indefinitely postpone building until the housing market firmed up.

An estimated 88 condominiums and 256 townhomes could begin appearing on 12 acres of the northern section of the 83.5-acre project, said Genelle Ball, project manager with Wilson Meany Sullivan, a development firm in San Francisco.

A final subdivision map will go before the San Mateo City Council by March. If approved, the residential blocks could be set up to bid for construction later this year.

"Our goal is the first quarter of 2011," Ball said. "That means homes could start popping up by the summer."

The 74-year-old racetrack was demolished in 2008 to make way for the development. The project includes 1,171 residential units, 715,000 square feet of office space and 93,000 square feet of retail space.

The demolition came after years of debate at the city level, planning on behalf of the development and objection from local neighborhood groups.

According to San Mateo senior planner Darcy Forsell, a 12-acre community park will also be developed in this phase of the project.

"The whole site is one-fifth of the entire project," Forsell said. "The three residential blocks will be ready for sale later this year."

In addition to the home construction, Forsell said, the Bay Meadows sign that stands at U.S. Highway 101 near the Hillsdale exit will come down. The developer has a deadline of April 1 to remove the sign, Forsell said.

"It’s not historic," she said. "It’s more of an eyesore."

Donna Bischoff, member of the board of directors for the Beresford Hillsdale Neighborhood Association, which fought the development, said residents thought the sign would stay to advertise the new development and commemorate the former racetrack’s history.

"We’re very upset about the loss of a historic track to San Mateo," she said. "Certainly, the least they could’ve done was to memorialize it. The council has said there is no money for a memorial."

Ball said any kind of memorial for the racetrack would be up to the City Council.


Off to the races

Bay Meadows project by the numbers:

83.5 Acres to develop

1,171 Residential units planned

715,000 Square feet of office space planned

93,000 Square feet of retail planned

Source: Bay Meadows representatives

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