After months of consideration, the Foster City Council on Monday in a 4-0 vote selected Foster City Community Partners to head the development of a 15-acre vacant lot to function as a senior living center. Councilmember Rick Wykoff was absent from the meeting.
The development team, a new consortium comprised of Urban Community Partners, Campus Properties and The New Home Co., was chosen over the competing bid of commercial real estate development firm Sares Regis Group of Northern California.
“We have studied this for a very long time,” Mayor Linda Koelling said. “I coined this the crown jewel piece of Foster City.”
The two developers have been vying for the lot - which lies just south of City Hall on the corner of East Hillsdale and Foster City Boulevards - since August, and presented distinct proposals to the council.
“This wasn’t an easy decision to make,” Vice Mayor Art Kiesel said.
Though tensions may have run high, each developer acted with notable professionalism throughout the council’s research, Councilmember Charlie Bronitsky said.
“We’re not going to let this land go for cheap,” he said.
The council expressed the view that the affordability and flexibility of Foster City Community Partner’s plan had much more appeal than that of its competitor.
“It sounds more like senior living than senior housing,” Councilmember Pam Frisella said as she cast her vote for FCCP.
The Sares Regis Group’s plans included 250 independent-living units and 60 assisted-living units, whereas FCCP proposed 55 townhomes and 142 condominiums with choice of ownership.
The proposed townhomes are priced between $600,000-$750,000 and condominiums between $375,000-$500,00.
Kiesel said his primary concern is that Foster City residents have the first shot at the new units.
Bronitsky expressed concern over the number of affordable units, and Frisella said her decision was based on what she believes Foster City residents would be able to afford.
While each member of the council had priorities in the decision-making process, the council members agreed that the plan still needs work.
One of the concerns, voiced by council member Bronitsky, is the lack of on-site care available.
Mayor Koelling said the area should begin devising theme ideas for the area, which will become a “destination area.”
Community Development Director Richard Marks said the proposed plan is not set in stone, but rather a foundation to develop the most beneficial plan to Foster City residents.
“We are not asking the development teams to come in with final plans,” Marks said.
What begins as a plan concept, Marks said, will end much differently.
The process of approving a final plan with the Planning Commission, which will include the approval of an Environmental Impact Report, will take as much as two years, Marks said.
“This is only one part of the process,” Koelling said. “There are many other steps.”
FCCP will now begin a 60-day negotiation period with the city in order to solidify business terms. Those terms have an anticipated public release date of Jan. 3, 2012.