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Foster City development could bring in millions for city

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Foster City
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  • A proposed new development is part of a larger plan to redevelop the core of Foster City. It could also bring in millions for the city and create thousands of jobs.
A high-tech development would likely generate thousands of jobs and millions in cash over several years for Foster City, according to officials.

The 11.89-acre Chess-Hatch development being built on Chess Drive is expected to generate an annual cash windfall of $450,000 to the city. That’s after taking into account the cost to deliver city services such as police, fire and road maintenance are taken into account, officials said.

The site’s current tenants net the city about $43,000 in annual revenue — primarily derived from taxes, permits and other fees.

In addition to the revenue, city projections indicate the development would create about 1,900 new jobs — for a total of about 2,300 jobs. The current businesses occupying the site employ 380 people, Community Development Director Curtis Banks said.

Of the new employees, the city is projecting that 10 percent — about 230 people — would opt to reside within Foster City, likely generating further economic benefits, officials said.

The city’s job numbers may be conservative. Jeff Birdwell of Sares Regis — the development manager responsible for 600,000 of the 800,000 square feet of commercial space — said that internal estimates based on industry standards indicated their portion would generate at least 2,400 new jobs.

The Chess-Hatch site is shared between two owners, Northwestern Mutual and Sea Cliff Properties. Nortwestern owns the majority of the real estate and hired Sares Regis to manage the development.

According to the approved general development plan, developers would replace the existing buildings, with three buildings between nine and 12 stories each.

Banks said that the city also anticipates significant economic benefits for local businesses that would serve the new workforce’s needs. But, officials did not make concrete projections because the city prefers to take a conservative approach, Banks said.

The amount of traffic generated by the project generated concerns earlier in the process, but Banks said that significant traffic mitigation measures are included in the plan — $8 million of which will be funded by developers.

The site also has a shuttle running through the area that travels to and from BART and Caltrain, Banks said.

The development is part of an ongoing revitalization effort near Foster City’s center, Banks said. The longterm vision for the vicinity includes several high-density residential developments, as well as commercial space including a new hotel, recently approved by the City Council.

The Planning Commission has the second of two study sessions about the project scheduled for next week. Once the study sessions are complete, the commission will seek community feedback during a series of public hearings.

Sares Regis is applying for use permits for its portion of the development — a process that could take six months, Birdwell said.

Banks said the project is about halfway to completion.