Plans for a new life sciences building nestled between San Carlos’ Industrial Arts and Eastside Innovation Districts received Planning Commission approval on Monday after acclaim for blending the building’s design with the aesthetics of the two areas.
“I love this project and the quality of the materials. The quality of the design is simply amazing. It is a beautiful building and it is well thought out,” said planning commissioner Ellen Garvey.
Premia Capital, a Redwood City-based development company founded by Mike Helo, plans to build a three-story, 190,000-square-foot life science development at 1021 Howard Avenue, where it currently houses three single-story office buildings.
Once completed, the building will form a U-shape around an entrance plaza facing Bayport Avenue. A publicly accessible cafe and 3,436 square feet of retail space will be on the ground floor with two levels of parking underground.
Looking at the 1021 Howard Avenue site, Helo and Rob Zirkel, founding principals of the architecture firm BRIC, said they aimed to create a project that would feel warm and inviting to passersby while acting as a bridge between industrial art and Eastside innovation. Had been. districts.
“It is a very interesting architectural opportunity and an urban opportunity where it is between the East Side Innovation Zone and the Industrial Arts District, two different grains, two different typologies, so we want to create an architectural proposal that connects with both of them. Related,” Zirkel said.
After meeting with nearby business owners, many of the shrinking automotive and repair-based industries on the peninsula, Halo said Parmia wanted to support the trades by investing $1.5 million in Redwood High School. Helo said that the institution largely serves the socio-economically disadvantaged students and provides them programming in various crafts. With the funding, Halo said the school could expand its programming.
Halo and Zirkel are also behind the 96,000-square-foot research site for MBC Biolabs. That project, called Britton West, was approved by the commission last July and will sit at the intersection of Industrial Road and Britton Avenue.
“For us, we obviously take these projects very seriously and they have to be as perfect as we can make them before they go into the community,” Halo told the commissioners. “We want that experience to be good for people.”
The commissioners offered high praise for the massive 1021 Howard Avenue project. Garvey commended the drought-resistant landscaping included in the plans and Commissioner Kristen Clements said the future building would be a better use of the site than existing office buildings.
While most comments were positive, Commissioner David Roof expressed some concern about the new structure – which takes up a lot of space after accounting for inevitable setbacks – an extra tight one along Howard Avenue, similar to a lanky grocery store across the street. Will build a wall
But Roof also said the impact wasn’t a deal breaker for him, given the project’s other positive qualities. Commission chairman Jim Icaponi acknowledged Roof’s concerns but said he felt comfortable with the design as much of the building included large windows that could create a more open feeling.
With nearly 2 million square feet of development coming to San Carlos, much of it concentrated in the city’s Eastside Innovation District, the commissioners praised Helo and Zirkel for a proposal they said could be a model for future projects. serves as.
“It’s a really good first time,” Icaponi said. “And if we get to meet future developers and have a go at that, I think we’re off to a good start.”