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

District Attorney Chesa Boudin announces charges against former SFPD Officer Christopher Samoyoa in the 2017 fatal shooting of Keita O’Neill at a press conference outside the Hall of Justice on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
DA Boudin charges fired SFPD officer with manslaughter over fatal shooting

Ex-Officer Christopher Samayoa to face criminal charges in killing of Keita O’Neil

The area near the Castro Muni Metro Station is expected to be affected by construction work on the Twin Peaks Tunnel, with lane closures on Market Street and some loss of parking. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Construction on Twin Peaks Tunnel to begin November 30

Area around Castro Muni Station will see greatest impacts including lane closures on Market Street

(Genaro Molina/Pool/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Newsom calls latest surge of COVID-19 cases ‘unprecendented’

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation California’s latest surge of COVID-19… Continue reading

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, during a news conference on March 10, 2020. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
LA County suspends outdoor dining at restaurants as coronavirus surges

By Alex Wigglesworth Los Angeles Times Los Angeles County public health officials… Continue reading

Renderings of the main entrance to upcoming Mission Bay elementary school on Owens Street. (Courtesy photo)
SFUSD offers first look at planned Mission Bay elementary school

San Francisco school officials this month unveiled the design of a planned… Continue reading

Most Read