‘15-acre project’ could get bigger

The developer of a major downtown building project may be allowed to expand the proposal by more than 25 percent — much to the consternation of residents who say the city has expanded enough in their suburban town.

The Parkview Plaza — which has been known as the Village Square or “the 15-acre project” — is a senior housing project designed for 11 of the last 15 remaining acres of undeveloped land in the city.

On Dec. 17, the city came to an agreement with developer Sares Regis to build 331 senior units — including 65 affordable units — as well as a large public plaza and 31,000 to 50,000 square feet of retail stores.

But since then, according to Sares Regis project manager Zach Wilson, the economic outlook has turned for the worse and the company must use turn to expensive financing sources. Due to the more expensive loans, he said, a 331-unit development would be financially unfeasible, so the company has approached the city to ask for an expansion of the project to 420 units — a 28 percent increase.

The expansion is not likely to be a popular option for residents who are already worried about the impact of the city’s blooming developments on traffic, parking and lifestyle. In addition to Parkview Plaza, a large redevelopment project of the Pilgrim-Triton area is slated for an area just north of Highway 92 and a proposed redevelopment of Charter Square at Beach Park Boulevard.

In response to the developments, some residents have formed a grassroots organization, Foster City Friends, to protest rapid growth in the town that has long been an enclave of single-family homes in the Bay Area. They have begun circulating a petition asking the City Council to set limits on size and density in the town and plan better for impacts on infrastructure.

Group leader Linda Haskins said she was disappointed to hear of the proposed expansion.

“The buildings are 14 stories tall now — how much taller do they want them to be?” she said.

The City Council already has held two closed-door meetings about the proposal, and will hold a public hearing on the matter July 7.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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