Movie theater on the vanguard of downtown revitalization

Residents have chance to add to future designs

REDWOOD CITY — The new 20-screen movie theater may be open, but the city’s motto may be “pardon our dust” for some years to come.

Residents will get the chance to help design downtown’s future tomorrow night in the first of several meetings devoted to a draft of new design guidelines. Meanwhile, more than two months after the opening of Century Theatres’ movie complex, crews are working on finishing touches including replacing dying palm trees and working overtime to lay stones for the new courthouse plaza’s mid-October grand opening.

The precise plan, created by consultant Michael Freedman in a series of workshops with the Redwood City Planning Commission and City Council last fall, is ready for public input, according to Redevelopment Agency Manager Susan Moeller. However, the environmental review of those plans — initially scheduled for completion by Oct. 10 — will be overdue.

So far, reaction to the precise plan and its sometimes ornate, always urban vision for downtown has been positive, officials said. “People are saying, ‘Wow, if that’swhat you’re talking about, I’m all for it,” Moeller said.

However, others who participated in last fall’s workshops are concerned, particularly about the new proposed heights — up to 12 stories in some downtown zones, stepping down to four stories near adjacent neighborhoods and along El Camino Real.

“Numerous people said it’s too tall,” said Planning Commissioner Hilary Paulson. “Even so, [the consultant] said, ‘Let’s run with it.’ I don’t see what the point was of setting a plan out there that everybody thought was too tall.”

For now, crews are still putting the finishing touches on the retail-cinema complex that opened more than two months ago and the adjacent projects, such as the courthouse plaza.

Workers began laying the colored tile for the plaza’s center medallion last week, and are taking extra shifts on the weekends to make sure that the site is “substantially complete” by the Oct. 15 opening, according to Community Development Director Peter Ingram.

That overtime will not cost the city extra money, Ingram said.

Nor will it cost the city to replace a handful of dying palm trees, installed in July at $15,000 a pop, according to city engineer Brian Lee. Fearing disease, Redwood City hired an arborist who said they aren’t contagious.

“They look like they were all overwatered, and up to three probably won’t survive,” Lee said. The trees are under a one-year warranty.

The Redwood City Planning Commission will host a workshop on the downtown precise plan Tuesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 1017 Middlefield Road.

bwinegarner@examiner.comartsLocalMovies

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Officer Nicholas Buckley, pictured here in 2014, is now working out of Bayview Station. <ins>(Department of Police Accountability records)</ins>
SF police return officer to patrol despite false testimony

A San Francisco police officer accused of fabricating a reason for arresting… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton announced that funding would be diverted from the police budget toward the black community in June 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City directs $60 million toward Black community services and housing support

San Francisco released new details Thursday for how it plans to spend… Continue reading

Riordan Crusaders versus St. Ignatius Wildcats at JB Murphy Field on the St. Ignatius Prepatory High School Campus on September 14, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner)
State allows high school sports to resume, but fight is far from over

For the first time since mid-March 2020, there is hope for high… Continue reading

The California Supreme Court upheld a 2018 state law that bans most offenders under 16 from being tried as adults. (Bethany Mollenkof/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Most 14- and 15-year-olds cannot be tried as adults, California high court rules

Maura Dolan Los Angeles Times A law that barred most offenders under… Continue reading

Most Read