By Will Reisman, @WillReisman
As the president of Hunter Properties, a company currently managing 17 different real estate sites in the region, Derek “Deke” Hunter knows which attributes make a development project attractive to prospective clients and tenants.
For his latest undertaking, a commercial and retail development project in Redwood City called Crossing 900, Hunter’s team has been clear about its main benefit: proximity to transit, namely Caltrain and SamTrans.
The project will be built adjacent to Caltrain’s Redwood City Station and only a few blocks away from bus stops serving SamTrans’ 79, 296, 297 and 397 lines. As part of its campaign to market Crossing 900, Hunter Properties has consistently highlighted how quick and easy access to transit is with this project. For example, Caltrain plays a prominent role in this powerful video on the Crossing 900 project.
The Crossing 900 project is an ideal example of the transit-oriented development plans that are part of the Grand Boulevard Initiative (GBI), a long-range effort to transform El Camino Real and its surrounding corridors in the Peninsula. The GBI, a coalition of groups that includes the San Mateo County Transit District, aims to help El Camino Real realize its full potential as a place for residents to work, live, shop and play by creating links that promote walking and transit.
“From our standpoint, transportation is something that is very precious, and if your company is located next to multimodal transit options then it becomes a huge commodity,” said Hunter, who has worked on three other transit-oriented developments projects aside from Crossing 900. “Being next to a rail line allows our tenants to have a different real estate strategy, access more human capital and save some of the tension that comes along with having shuttle buses. It’s what makes the difference from being just a building and being the most important building.”
Construction on the site broke ground last October and is expected to take about 24 – 30 months to complete. By the time its finished in late summer/early fall 2015, the development site will house 300,000 square feet of office space as well as some retail units.
Redwood City has fashioned its downtown development plan to capitalize on the services of Caltrain and SamTrans as a way to attract business.
“Crossing 900 – the biggest development to come to Downtown Redwood City since the Theater Way Project – will boast 300,000 square feet of office space, 5,000 square feet of ground floor mixed use, and will attract 1,000 new employees,” said Sheri Costa-Batis, spokeswoman for Redwood City. “These new downtown employees will be a block away from a Caltrain station, a SamTrans bus depot, and other transportation options such as Zip Car, Bike Share – all of which are captured in Connect! Redwood City, a program that ties all of our transportation together. Our City’s location as a transportation “hub” has made our City attractive to developers, employers, visitors, and residents alike.”