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SAN MATEO — After finally finding its home several years ago, the Peninsula Ballet Theatre is pleading to stay put and be included in a developer’s proposal to construct a mixed-use project all around it. “We have been a member of the creative community in San Mateo for 50 years, 10 at this location alone, and if not for us, where else can residents find cultural experiences?” Christine Leslie, executive director and CEO of the Peninsula Ballet Theatre, told the San Mateo Planning Commission during a March 27 study session attended by dozens of supporters of the 50-year-old arts hub. The theater has been operating out of the defunct Circuit City building since 2010.
Newport-based California Coastal Properties wants to build a 14.5-acre, gamba 93 pointe shoes multi-use development at the junction of Concar, South Delaware and Grant streets, near the Highway 92 overpass, At the mostly vacant site is the only Trader Joe’s for miles, a T.J, Maxx, Ross, 7-Eleven and Rite-Aid, The Hayward Park Caltrain station is a few blocks away, Dubbed the Passages at San Mateo, the project would feature 935 residential units including 73 affordable ones, 10 live-work units along Concar Drive, 35,000 square feet of retail and 3.5 acres of publicly accessible park and open space..
Although Trader Joe’s and 7-Eleven already are part of the applicant’s plans and other retailers have had a say in the development, theater officials say they’ve been left out of the discussions. Theater representatives say the nonprofit is more than just a dance studio, and excluding it from the planning process means a vital part of the city’s art scene will be lost. The theater’s lease expires in 2020. Leslie said that for 10 years the theater has “gypsied” around until it found the current location and doesn’t want to launch another long search.
San Mateo project planner Lily Lim told the 100-plus people who registered to speak that no decision would be made until a later date, Leslie said there are multiple dance studios near the Peninsula Ballet Theatre, as well as ongoing exhibits from Burlingame Arts Society and San Mateo City Arts, and a massive warehouse that “holds 50 years of local ballet history.”, The company, with an annual operating budget of $750,000, spent $200,000 on renovations when it moved there in 2010 after having to relocate gamba 93 pointe shoes from its longtime downtown location above Thrifty Drug Store in 2000, And it continues to pay for upgrades including a recent $11,000 investment in its floors..
“We’re a really good tenant, we always pay our rent,” Leslie said. “We rent to others, and even sometimes let other nonprofits who don’t have operating budgets use some of our rooms for free.”. In city documents summarizing the March 7 neighborhood meeting, planner Dan Young states, “The journey to get to this point with the Passage at San Mateo has been one and a half years … during this time, planners had already held more (than) 30 meetings and presentations related to the project with members of the community.”.
The city documents also quote project partner Brian Myers saying, “The planning process initially started 20 years ago.”, Leslie disputed that. “When have they reached out to us in this process?” she said, In an email, gamba 93 pointe shoes Lim explained that the city issued a Feb, 23 notice advising owners and tenants about the March 7 meeting and added, “The city cannot legally require the (developer) to retain the studio.”, The applicant has already confirmed that “Trader Joe’s will remain on-site and will not close during construction of their new store within the project,” according to minutes from the March 7 meeting, And “7-Eleven is also being relocated to the corner of Concar and Grant Street.”..
“We just haven’t been included in the plans like the retail outlets have,” said Greg Amato, the theater’s artistic director. “And we are a community center to many in San Mateo, and we think this is an oversight to not wrap us into the conversation.”. The proposed development includes “a food incubator and life-hall called the SEED that has 5,000 square feet of food hall and a 2,500-square-foot quick-serve restaurant … a central park feature called the Hub.”.
“We want to stay where we are,” Leslie said of the $12,000-a-month location, gamba 93 pointe shoes “We don’t know where else we can go; it took so long to find this place, and we hope to extend our lease once it’s up in two years.”, The development proposal is expected to be finalized sometime at the end of summer; technical studies and an environmental review by summer 2019, According to a presentation at the meeting, the first residential building is expected to open by 2021, The Peninsula Ballet Theatre will announce its 2018-2019 season this week, but Amato confirmed the return of the popular “Hip Hop Cinderella” and “Hip Hop Nutcracker” to the season line-up, Find them at peninsulaballet.org..