Former Vacant Land in Foster City Transforms into Community Cornerstone
Across the street from Foster City government offices, a 15-acre parcel of formerly vacant, City-owned land, has now been dubbed, Foster Square, a mixed-use neighborhood featuring housing geared towards seniors, neighborhood retail and community services. Bounded by Civic Center Drive, Foster City Boulevard, Balclutha Drive and Shell Boulevard the development was envisioned as a central gathering place for the greater community.
The residential aspect of the development consists of 200 for-sale condominiums by Lennar Homes, 155 units of Atria senior housing including 24 units with Memory Care services, and 65 affordable rental apartments by MidPen Housing. In Q4 2014, Lennar purchased the property slated for condos from The New Home Company, the original master planning entity for the site. Two of the residential buildings contain nearly 30,000 square feet of retail space acquired by Blake|Griggs Properties last year, as well as a detached 1,200 square foot pad building. The development is tied together by a town square area open to the public for events and gatherings, several paseos and a central street bisecting the community called Foster Square Lane.
About 40-percent of retail spaces have been leased with tenants to start opening in June through the end of the year. Dining venues will occupy the majority of the spaces, along with a salon, national brand coffee user and fitness center. So far retail spaces in the MidPen building have been leased by Pastries N Chaat, Falafel Tazah and Happy Lemon. The Atria building will feature Boiling Hot Pot & Bar and a fine-dining restaurant that has yet to be determined.
“We’re thrilled with the strong retail leasing to date and are taking a close eye to the right fit for the last spaces, including finding the right restaurant dining options,” said Ryan McNamara, project manager, Blake|Griggs Properties. “Foster City has long been considered an underserved market for restaurants with many residents and employees going out of town to find it. Our research with local residents says they want a restaurant with a cool atmosphere where they can also sit outside after work and enjoy a cocktail. With employers nearby including Visa, Franklin, Gilead and dozens more, we think dining at Foster Square will be a great option for the huge day-time population and local residents alike.”
Foster Square itself is surrounded by residential communities totaling 240,000 people with an average household income of $138,050, making the location highly desirable for retailers. The town square outdoor space is designed to complement the retail offerings by attracting pedestrian traffic to farmers markets and scheduled entertainment. An additional open space area located next to Shell Boulevard offers 21,500 square feet for a variety of outdoor recreational activities available to the public.
All the housing options in the development serve older adults, which was the intention of the City given that Foster Square is uniquely situated in the center of town close to transit, shopping and services via pedestrian-friendly streets. Lennar’s 200 market-rate homes spread over 16 buildings will be suited for adults over 55 once construction is complete. The two and three bedroom units will have access to amenities like basketball and tennis courts, a pond with trail, and picnic area. MidPen’s affordable housing building opened last year for seniors over 62 years and features common areas, conference rooms, a balance studio and terraced landscaping. Atria’s assisted and independent living building is also for those over 62 and opened last month.
“It’s complete and we’re accepting new residents,” said Elliot Bowman, community and sales director, Atria Living. “Our community is equipped with fine dining, casual bistro and a cocktail lounge to provide residents with different eating options. Being located in the beautiful Foster Square area gives access to retail, a salon, fitness center, yoga studio and event center.”