Redwood City approves Stanford satellite campus proposal

Sept. 26, 2013, 12:32 a.m.

The Redwood City Council recently approved Stanford’s proposal to build a 35-acre satellite campus in the city, west of Highway 101 and next to the Stanford Medicine Outpatient Center.

The property will cater to both academic and non-academic uses, though it will mainly be used by Stanford departments that don’t necessarily have to be located on campus, such as Land Building and Real Estate, Human Resources and other administrative functions.

The main undergraduate college experience will remain focused on Stanford’s main campus.

According to Steve Elliott, the University’s managing director of Development, Land, Buildings and Real Estate and vice chairman of Redwood City San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce, the prime location of the satellite campus is ideal for such an expansion.

“It’s only seven miles from campus,” Elliott said. “[I]t’s close to transit and it’s a big enough property that allows us to grow in the future.”

Redwood City is already home to about eight percent of Stanford’s employees, and provides no dearth of entertainment.

“Our downtown area has been thriving,” said Alicia Aguirre, mayor of Redwood City. “Redwood City is now the cultural center of the peninsula.”

While the Stanford investment rakes in about $15.1 million worth of public benefits to the city, Aguirre and Elliott emphasized that the benefits are more than monetary, for this marks a new partner interested in investing in and serving the city’s residents.

“We’ve spent the last seven years getting to know the Redwood City community [and] learning what’s important to them,” Elliott said, “[which] helped shape our plans and I think created a really strong relationship with the community.”

While the general response to Stanford’s proposal has been overwhelmingly positive, the one issue that has been brought up is that of traffic.

However, the University has committed to bringing a Marguerite shuttle to link the satellite campus to the Caltrain station, as well as support existing environmentally friendly alternatives such as carpooling and biking.

The buildings at the new property, for their part, will use recycled water and natural light, energy-efficient water air-conditioning and heating systems.

“[There’s a lack of] open space in that part of Redwood City and Stanford is providing a park that the neighborhood can use,” said Jeff Gee, vice mayor of Redwood City. “They’re helping us address a number of our infrastructure problems. We have occasional flooding in that area…and Stanford will help us address that.”

Indeed, a key feature of the enterprise is the integration of the Stanford campus into the community.

“It’s going to be Stanford in Redwood City, and not the other way round.” Aguirre said.

According to Elliott, the long-term agreement stretches over 30 years, and therefore Stanford does not have any immediate plans to begin construction.

The next step will be to go through the design of the buildings themselves. They hope to break ground within the next few years.

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