The day we’ve all been dreading is now upon us, and I’m not talking about tax day. If you thought parking in downtown San Carlos was challenging, sit tight because it’s about to get a bit worse…
Yes, today one of the largest public parking lots in all of downtown San Carlos is scheduled to close as construction on the long-anticipated Wheeler Plaza Development Project moves into the next phase. For those of you not familiar with this project, it’s an ambitious redevelopment of the 2.65 acre property that was formerly owned by the City of San Carlos bordering Laurel Street, Walnut Street, and San Carlos Avenue. What was once a large parking lot bordered by a string of dilapidated buildings will soon be transformed into a modern, multi-use facility that will consist of 109 condo units and 10,000 square feet of brand new retail space. Here is the location of the project:
The old buildings along San Carlos Avenue and the vacant building that used to be the home of Foodville have all been demolished, and the next phase of the project is to build the structure that will provide 196 parking spaces. The problem that lies ahead for downtown San Carlos is that the current Wheeler Plaza parking lot that provides well over 100 public parking places will disappear as excavation and construction begin on the new parking structure, and that means it’s going to be a whole lot more challenging to just pop into downtown and find a place to park while you’re doing your errands or going to dinner.
The developer is providing free valet parking at the site of the old Foodville building, and there is also ample free parking just a few blocks away at the public parking garage on Laurel Street. While these solutions do not provide a 1:1 replacement for the spots that will be temporarily lost due to the redevelopment, they will provide shoppers and business owners some relief from what will likely be a difficult transition period. Parking will definitely be available for people who wish to go to the shops and restaurants along the northern stretch of Laurel Street — you’ll just have to get a little creative to find parking, and you should also plan on walking a little further than you are accustomed to doing when you visit the downtown area.
Residents should expect that it will take about a full year before the new structure is built and opened to the public. Until then, take a deep breath and remember that we’re neighbors — and we’re all in this together!
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