City seeks developers for prime downtown lots


The dissolution of redevelopment agencies in California left many cities grasping at straws to hold on to properties that could be used to help squelch the affordable housing crisis. Now, San Mateo is inching closer to leveraging its own land as it considers a range of ideas submitted by 10 interested developers.

The City Council meets in closed session Monday to discuss preliminary proposals for two parcels well-situated near downtown and the Caltrain line that were purchased with former redevelopment agency funds nearly two decades ago. 

Affordable housing and parking are top priorities for the growing city, but balancing demands while working within a limited budget is a challenge officials must ultimately face. With that in mind, the council appealed to the development community for ideas as well as how to finance them.

OP-ED: New downtown plan — why now?


San Mateo is in the midst of a three-year community engagement process that will result in a revised Downtown Specific Plan. Why now? The current Downtown Plan, adopted in 2009, addresses all the desires repeatedly expressed by the community and charts a long-term course for managed growth, housing and office development, protection of the historic core and provision of pedestrian enhancements. Yet, there are forces at play that wish to remake the downtown.