Precise plan may be bearing fruit

A new eight-story condominium project could replace the offices that once housed Summit Preparatory Charter High School at201 Marshall St. — the first new residential plan since new downtown guidelines were adopted this year.

Developer John Baer, of Matteson Realty, is close to submitting plans for the site, which would include 100 to 105 condominiums, two floors of underground parking, and penthouses on the seventh and eighth floors, offering stunning views of the city. Baer will also approve a 1-acre site at 1000-1100 Marshall St., if the city approves his plans to build a 130-unit condominium project there, he said.

The Renaissance, a condominium project slated for the site at 439 Fuller St., seemed like it would be downtown’s first new residential site following the adoption of the downtown precise plan. However, The Renaissance’s neighbor, lawyer Joe Carcione, is suing over the city’s adoption of the precise plan — and a Superior Court judge has until early January to reach a decision in the case, attorney Greg Ryken said.

“It’s important for us to pay attention to the suit, but we are definitely going to process applications [for projects],” said Jill Ekas, planning manager for Redwood City.

So far, developers are showing interest in downtown and its new guidelines, which allow taller buildings and encourage creation of new mixed-use and dense-residential construction. Downtown includes a little more than 650 units; the new plan allows up to 2,500 — more with City Council approval, Ekas said.

City leaders want plenty of people living — as well as working — downtown, in part to provide a more urban neighborhood, and in part to provide a captive audience for downtown shops, restaurant and entertainment venues.

“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback about the plan,” Ekas said. “Developers are studying it, learning how to use it and excited about bringing projects forward.”

Because the precise plan spells out how tall and how dense downtown buildings can be — as well as how much parking they require and the rudiments of what they should look like — projects can be approved more quickly, Ekas said.

Baer is still polishing the look and feel of his 201 Marshall site, though it will take its inspiration from mid-rise residential structures in San Francisco and Portland, Ore., he said.

“By its nature it will be more contemporary” because it’s downtown, Baer said. “That’s the challenge — to blend the form and soften it so it reads as residential and historic, but also contemporary.”

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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