Redwood City housing complex in works 

click to enlarge Lennar's 601 Main St. development will bring 196 new housing units and retail space to Redwood City. - COURTESY RENDERING
  • Courtesy Rendering
  • Lennar's 601 Main St. development will bring 196 new housing units and retail space to Redwood City.

A new apartment complex featuring 196 family residences is headed to Main Street in Redwood City following Planning Commission approval of the project.

The commission approved the Lennar Corp.'s 50,468-square-foot multifamily development on Tuesday, finding that the plans were in compliance with the city's Downtown Precise Plan and should go forward, said Dan Zack, a city planner.

The project, anchored at 601 Main St., will include residences, leisure spaces, a parking garage and other amenities, according to documents submitted to the Planning Commission. The new building will replace four adjoining parcels that currently have several smaller structures housing residents and four local businesses.

"We're really trying to do our part in terms of creating housing," Zack said. "We believe this development will help revitalize our downtown."

According to regional planners at the Association of Bay Area Government, Redwood City should build 2,789 additional housing units for all levels of income by 2022. Redwood City's current environmental impact report for downtown includes a total of 2,500 new units.

Lennar's Peter Schellinger told the commission that retail is important to the company's development plan. Lennar plans to target local "concept-driven retailers" as well as regional shops to populate the new development, he said.

But the proposed development will disrupt existing small businesses. All four have been given notice to vacate the block, city officials said — although Lennar is currently in talks with a cupcake shop in hopes that it will remain once construction is complete.

"We've spoken to Sweet Cakes and we hope we can bring them on board," Schellinger said. Regardless of the results of the talks, the shop will have to find another location at least during construction.

At least two of the other four affected businesses already have relocated. An auto repair shop moved to San Carlos and a deli moved a couple of blocks away to 2074 Broadway. The deli's owner said the move wasn't cheap, and it will take many years to recoup the loss.

"There are only so many sandwiches you can sell," owner Jerry Rukab said.

One business owner who did not wish to be identified said it's typical of big business to push around the mom and pop stores of the world.

"But it's just business," the owner said.

Schellinger and Lennar did not return email messages or calls requesting comment. But at the commission meeting, Schellinger said Lennar also plans to include a bicycle repair shop in the new development.

Since the city amended its plan and environmental impact report — as required by a successful lawsuit by downtown property owner Joe Carcione, claiming that the city did not adequately analyze the shadows cast on his law offices — there have been seven development proposals approved for downtown, totaling 1172 new units, Zack said.

Those units are either approved or already under construction in the city, Zack said.

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