The South San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously voted in favor of a massive new residential development at 100 Produce Avenue and 124 Airport Boulevard. If approved by the city council, the project could build 480 new rental homes by the city center and Caltrain station. Hanover Company is responsible for the development.
The two 85 foot tall structures will yield 743,700 square feet in total, with 406,890 square feet for residential use,16,670 square feet for shared amenities, and 227,000 square feet primarily for the 560-car garage, as well as parking for 480 bicycles, and loading bays. Building One, at 124 Airport Boulevard, will yield 455,860 square feet with 294 homes. Building Two, at 100 Produce Avenue, will yield 287,230 square feet with 186 homes. The project will include a high-tech below-ground tunnel connecting pedestrians with the Caltrain station through the Airport Boulevard railroad underpass.
TCA Architects is responsible for the design. Facade materials will include plaster, metal panels, cementitious lap siding, and either stone veneer or porcelain tiles. Perforated metal grills and screens will provide a more decorative cover for the project’s garage, with a mix of metal or glass railing protecting residential balconies.
A brief description provided in the planning application gives a good insight into the developer’s vision, and the architectural vision. “The buildings’ architecture treats the pair of buildings as an ensemble bracketing San Mateo Avenue, forming a southern anchor to downtown South San Francisco. The building massing is broken into several large forms of complimentary language. The focal point is at the intersection of San Mateo and Airport, where flanking facades of metal panel and cementitious siding over a base of stone and storefront hold the corner.”
GWH Landscape Architecture will be the landscape architect, and BKF Engineers will be the civil engineer. Residential amenities will include a fitness room, four courtyards, one with a pool, and a lounge.
South San Francisco, or South City, is located in San Mateo County with a population of 67,410 people as of 2019. The city refers to itself as the birthplace of biotechnology, given its important role in the field. Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche as of 2009, is the city’s largest single employee by tenfold with over 8,600 employees in the city. New development in the city, such as Hanover’s proposal, is hoped to turn the town’s car-oriented urban landscape to become more transit and pedestrian-oriented.
December 1st Update: New reporting by the San Mateo Daily Journal shared that the South San Francisco City Council has now stalled the development, requesting the developer use union labor and install electric water heaters instead of gas-powered water heaters.
December 11th Update: The South San Francisco City Council has granted initial approval for the project, according to the San Mateo Daily Journal. Hanover refused the hire union carpenters, but did agree to install electric water heaters. Speaking ahead of approval, Councilmember Eddie Flores said, “This is not a perfect project by any means, this is not a good project, this is not a stellar project…I want other folks, other projects to learn from the mistakes from Hanover, and to do better.”