Hunter/Storm or Lowe Enterprises to develop Block 2 in Redwood City?

The Redwood City City Council is expected to make a decision on Monday night as to who will redevelop Block 2, a city parking lot on 950 Middlefield Road.

Five developers were interested in the site but the short list came down to Cupertino-based Hunter/Storm LLC and Lowe Enterprises out of Los Angeles. The two developers have submitted final proposals at the end of March and have been eagerly waiting to hear who will be tapped to develop the 2.3-acre plot.

Hunter/Storm’s proposal involves a $100 million project that will be mainly office on the lot that is adjacent to the Redwood City Caltrain station. Ed Storm, chairman of Hunter Properties – the umbrella company of Hunter/Storm – said his firm’s proposal is to build a pair of multistory office buildings totaling about 261,000 square feet. The developer also is proposing a 120-room hotel to be constructed in conjunction with Palo Alto-based BPR Properties.

Meanwhile, Lowe Enterprises is proposing 262,000 square feet of office, 145,0000 square feet of apartments and a 140-room hotel. It has tapped Redwood City’s DES Architects to design
the project and would work with DPR Construction (also of Redwood City) to build it out if it is tapped to develop it.

Both developers expect to have construction completed in the first half of 2015.

Hunter Properties President Deke Hunter told the Business Journal in March that given his
firm’s track record and success in Redwood City (it has developed seven projects there over the last 12 years), that Hunter/Storm was “confident in choosing Redwood City over other cities for such an investment.”

Hanns Lee, senior vice president of Lowe Enterprises, described the project as “big.”

“This is going to set the stage for the next wave of downtown development,” he said. “From our perspective this is the right way to really set a precedent.”

Redwood City’s new Downtown Precise Plan allows for the private development of up to 2,500 new residential units, 221,000 square feet of retail space, 275,000 square feet of office space and 200 hotel rooms in the three-block radius surrounding the county courthouse.

The city’s plan allows for 12story buildings but does not dictate specific uses.

The Block 2 project has also been dubbed the “Depot Circle” development by city officials. Depot Circle is proposed to be a unifying urban landmark, including a traffic circle centered with a monument at the where the realigned Winslow and Hamilton streets will meet.

Officials envision Depot Circle as serving as a dramatic focal point for what will become the western gateway into downtown Redwood City.

As for whether or not city officials will make a decision tonight, Dan Zack – downtown development coordinator for the city said:

“We are recommending that they select a preferred developer tonight, and we have tried to provide them all of the information that they would need to make such a decision. Whether or not they make that selection is their prerogative, however. It seems likely that they will make a selection tonight, but they might want more information or more time to think about it before they act.”

Click here to see a summary of the proposals on Depot Circle, including renderings.

Mary Ann Azevedo covers real estate for the Business Journal. Her phone number is 408.299.1820.