Redwood City’s most prolific residential developer of late, Greystar Development, has been given the green light to move forward on another 350 unit apartment complex. City council voted 4-2 last week to approve the 8-story project at 1409 El Camino, which will also include 6,000 S/F of ground floor retail, 440 parking spots, and 35 affordable units (10% of the total offering). As a condition of the project’s approval, Greystar will also be contributing $250,000 towards Habitat for Humanity’s 20-unit affordable condo development at 612 Jefferson.
Greystar Development has been the largest beneficiary of Redwood City’s 2011 Downtown Precise Plan, which pre-emptively completed environmental work for the construction of 2,500 new residential units. With the approval of their most recent 350 unit complex, Greystar has now accounted for just under 1,000 of the 2,500 new residential units allowed under the Precise Plan. These 1,000 units are spread across 4 separate developments – all within a block of each other. See below for a map showing Greystar’s development activity in downtown Redwood City.
Despite all of Greystar’s development falling under the residential cap set by the Downtown Precise Plan, many residents feel the city has not adequately taken into account the environmental impact of green lighting so much development in such a short period of time. The Precise Plan was initially supposed to guide development for a period of 15 – 20 years, but just 6 years since its passing the city has already almost hit the 2,500 unit residential cap (between was has been built or approved). Further exacerbating environmental concerns is the fact that Greystar’s 1,000 units are all packed into a 4 square block area, adjacent to the already congested intersection at El Camino and Jefferson. Citing these concerns, an organization called Redwood City Residents for Responsible Development has filed an appeal against the approval of Greystar’s new project at 1409 El Camino.
It’s possible that Greystar – in an attempt to avoid litigation – will compromise with residents by reducing the size of their project. If not, it could be quite some time before any shovels hit ground at 1409 El Camino.
Redwood City Residents for Responsible Development have not yet indicated whether they will file an environmental lawsuit against Greystar’s project should their appeal be denied.