On Monday, the Redwood City Council voted 5-2 in favor of approving Jay Paul’s Harbor View proposal. The mixed-use campus will replace the defunct Malibu Grand Prix amusement park. The vote closes a nine-year approval process for a project that has undergone multiple iterations.
Council members considered five recommendations from city staff, all of which resulted in a 5-2 vote with Vice Mayor Diana Reddy and Councilmember Diane Howard dissenting. Supporters of the project argued that the project’s $65M community benefit package outweighed the potential impacts. The dissenting councilmembers cited concerns about traffic and potential strains on the city’s jobs-to-housing ratio.
Sister Christina Heltsley, executive director of the St. Francis Center called the project “awesome” and “historic” during public comment, stating that “this is the time to process with our heads and finally hear the cry of the economically poor.”
Staff argued if another project were to meet city zoning, it would likely carry the same impacts as Harbor View without the addition of added community benefits, many of which the city is in critical need of.
“We still have a lot of community benefits in this package so I’m thinking it’s something worth voting for because otherwise we’d have something with much less community benefits potentially,” Councilmember Lissette Espinoza-Garnica said. “Any other project would be probably just as impactful, if not just a little less, so that’s why I think it’s good enough for Redwood City.”
Several attendees and councilmembers echoed her sentiment.
The total Community Benefits package amounts to over $65.6 million in addition to $20 million in required city fees, making it the largest in Redwood City history. These funds will go towards various community projects, including construction of 64 units of extremely low income housing in partnership with the St. Francis Center, maintaining and improving parks and fields, and investing in transportation infrastructure.
“We’ve finally gotten to a place where we can move forward,” Councilmember Jeff Gee said during Monday’s City Council meeting. “Redwood City has earned the right to ask for community benefits in exchange for development and that’s what is before us tonight, a pretty damn good robust set of community benefits that we can look at that will help many parts of our Redwood City community.”
Plans for Harbor View have gone through various iterations since its initial submittal in 2011. The most recent proposal made extensive revisions based off feedback from previous meetings, resulting in reduction of project size by a third and expanding open space. Since the previous July study session, Jay Paul added an additional $9M in community benefits, including an additional $2.5M to the City’s affordable housing fund, and $6.2M for the construction of the Blomquist Bridge.
The tech office campus in its current rendition encompasses 765,150 square feet of commercial office, 35,000 square feet of amenities, and 2,591 private parking spaces. The campus will include four 7-story office buildings, one 4-story and one 6-story parking structure, and a two-story employee amenities building.
Disclaimer: Adam Alberti, the publisher of Climate Magazine, is Managing Director at Singer Associates, Inc. Jay Paul is represented by Singer Associates.