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Malek Jelassi

Greenbelt Alliance Endorsed: San Mateo’s Block 21

Updated on June 22, 2022, to reflect new information. Originally published on May 19, 2022.

Greenbelt Alliance is excited to officially endorse Windy Hill Property Ventures’ Block 21 development project in San Mateo. The project was unanimously approved by the San Mateo City Council on June 20, 2022, after dozens of advocates took action and sent emails to the Planning Commission and City Council expressing their support.

This new proposal would replace what’s currently an area for commercial, restaurant, residential and auto-related uses with a six-story mixed-use building for office and residential use, of which 15% of the units are devoted to the very low-income level. The benefits of this project include increased density and vibrancy in downtown San Mateo, as well as much-needed affordable housing options.

This project plans to incorporate 180,950 square feet of office space in addition to 111 homes which represent a mix of studios and one-bedroom apartments. Its transportation strategy includes unbundling parking from housing units, decreasing the number of parking spots required, and as a result, encouraging people to carpool, take public transportation, or ride their bikes instead of driving. The development’s 89 bicycle spaces and incentives for Caltrain commuters given its location near transit hubs, will encourage more people to leave their cars at home and take advantage of public transit options. This, in turn, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, helping to meet climate goals. The project also includes plans for open spaces that can be enjoyed by Block21 residents and the full San Mateo community. This type of shared space is important because it helps create connections between people from different walks of life.  

According to GreenTRIP—a free online tool created by Transform that models traffic and greenhouse gas impacts of residential projects in California—Block 21 project will result in:

43 fewer miles driven every day compared to the San Mateo County average. 

28% fewer GHG emissions impact every day compared to the San Mateo County average. 

67% less parking use every day compared to the San Mateo County average.

Block 21 is a much-needed addition to San Mateo’s housing stock. It will not only provide much-needed affordable homes but its walkability and commitment to sustainability make it a perfect fit for the City’s planning and environmental goals. Greenbelt Alliance believes Block 21 represents an important achievement when it comes to sustainable growth, creating much-needed housing while preserving natural benefits and the community’s character. So, we are proud to give this project our endorsement and that it got the green light to move forward!

Greenbelt Alliance’s Climate SMART—Sustainable, Mixed, Affordable, Resilient, Transit-Oriented— Development Endorsement Program goals call for fully protecting the Bay Area’s greenbelt, directing growth within existing communities, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and accomplishing both in a way that equitably benefits all Bay Area residents. Our Endorsement Program provides support for projects that advance the right kind of development in the right places. By promoting climate SMART development, we can create thriving, resilient neighborhoods with ready access to transit and housing choices for all of the Bay Area’s people. Find out more about our Endorsement Program here. Feel free to contact our team for more information and support.

Photo: Windy Hill Property Ventures

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