Broadway Plaza, one of the Greenbelt Alliance endorsed projects recently approved in San Mateo County.
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Adam Garcia

Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: Five Smart Projects in San Mateo County

San Mateo County is in a creative flurry of infill development along the Caltrain corridor, with two fantastic Greenbelt Alliance-endorsed projects approved for Belmont and Redwood City.

Greenbelt Alliance also endorsed three projects that are still under municipal review. A common theme emerging from these residential and mixed-use projects is a strong commitment to more open space for the public and residents. There’s also a clear focus on architectural and site design that reduces the impact of cars and trucks on the building facades and local congestion. Read on to learn more about what these developments will bring to San Mateo County.

Approved Projects

Broadway Plaza in Redwood City

Redwood City wants its Gateway Broadway Mixed-Use corridor to become a thriving, affordable, and walkable neighborhood. The Broadway Plaza project is a huge step in that direction, adding 520 homes to Redwood City’s Gateway Broadway Mixed-Use Corridor, nearly a quarter of which (120) will be affordable to families making less than the area median income.

The project also includes 420,000 square feet of office space, 11,000 square feet of retail space, 10,000 square feet for childcare facilities, a 1.6-acre public thoroughfare and park space, and shared underground parking. Even the landscape itself is designed for people-powered transport, with widened sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes, and elements of green infrastructure that will treat 50% of city street runoff. We’re thrilled to endorse Broadway Plaza and excited to see it moving forward.

Artisan Crossing, Belmont

Artisan Crossing will be one of the first projects to move forward after the adoption of the Belmont Village Specific Plan. This plan provides a smart growth vision for the community and will hopefully catalyze additional infill development along El Camino Real.

Artisan Crossing will create 250 homes, 26 of which will be reserved for low-income households. These homes, both affordable and market rate, are desperately needed on the Peninsula. True to its name, Artisan Crossing will also provide community amenities to encourage the arts. These include public art in the development’s large public plaza and a nonprofit arts center that will have both studios and a performance/exhibition space. If you’d like to know more, check out this post on the many reasons we’re excited to have endorsed Artisan Crossing.

Broadway Plaza and Artisan Crossing are inspiring examples of smart infill development. When completed, they’ll support the local economy, relieve development pressure on the region’s open spaces, and provide many other environmental and quality of life benefits.

Endorsed Projects

Firehouse Square, Belmont

The Firehouse Square residential project in Belmont will bring 81 homes to the Peninsula. Thanks to public financing from the County of San Mateo, the City of Belmont, and potential State funding, a full 80% of which will be affordable for low- and extremely low-income households.

In a nod to its historical location, the project intends to incorporate the façade of the old vacant fire station into the design of the affordable apartment building. Firehouse Square is also being designed to meet the rigorous environmental standards of Build It Green’s gold program with a focus on walkability and  community amenities

Passage at San Mateo

Thanks to its close proximity to the Hayward Park Caltrain Station, Passage at San Mateo will include more homes than the City’s General Plan would have otherwise allowed. That means a whopping 961 new residences, of which 109 will be affordable for low- and moderate-income households.

This mixed-use project also includes 40,000 s.f. of retail space and more than four acres of urban style parks and pedestrian passageways, all within a five-minute walk of 5,000 jobs. This all fits with Passage at San Mateo’s aspirations towards alternative Urban (alt-Urban) design, which led them to de-emphasize cars and instead asserting a pedestrian-focused grid of public pathways throughout the project.

A privately operated on-site mobility hub further boosts the project’s transportation options. Branded as “The Depot,” this hub will host public/private shuttle stops, car share, electric vehicle charging, bike share, 1,100 bike storage spaces, package delivery, and integrated information services.

Endorsed: South San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Site (SSF PUC)

SSF PUC is a mixed-use project featuring three buildings on a 5.9-acre site. Located just half a mile from the South San Francisco BART station, the plan includes 836 homes—161 of which will be affordable— and over 13,000 s.f. of community retail space. To provide further benefits to the broader community, SSF PUC will create three new sites where the public can access nearby Centennial Trail. By making it easier for people to use this popular walking and bike path, the SSF PUC will make it significantly simpler to move throughout the neighborhood.

As job growth continues in San Mateo County and sprawl pressures mount throughout the Bay Area, having examples of smart infill development becomes ever more valuable. Projects like these show that regional momentum toward achieving Greenbelt Alliance’s “Grow Smart Bay Area” goals is growing. Together, we can fully protect the Bay Area’s greenbelt while directing growth into our existing communities, and accomplish both in a way that equitably benefits all Bay Area residents.

Read more about our Endorsement Program and see more Greenbelt Alliance endorsed developments here.

Image: Courtesy of MidPen Housing

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