The initial project at 520 S. El Camino Real was a tenant improvement for a single floor within the building. The extent of the planned project scope was enough to require a structural evaluation, which led to the discovery of seismic vulnerabilities. Additionally, due to a zoning change in 2000, this 9-story building sat in a 5-story height limit zone, restricting opportunities for new development. Our client, who is also the building’s owner and developer, chose to see these obstacles as an opportunity to upgrade the entire structure from the inside out, making it one of the most stunning architectural transformations ever seen in San Mateo.

Replacing the heavy concrete exterior is an airy new glass façade made of inset, self-tinting, energy-efficient thermochromic glass. The high-tech, floor-to-ceiling windows deliver the benefits of natural light and sweeping views that tenants seek while maintaining the building’s operational efficiency.   

The renovation also enabled the addition of highly sought-after amenities, including a 3,355-square-foot tenant accessible terrace on the second floor, and a 3,340-square-foot private terrace on the fourth floor. A fully refinished lower level with bike storage, locker rooms, meeting space, and a common area lounge is openly connected to the main lobby above, conferring a grandiosity not typically associated with below-ground spaces.   

The improvements have transformed the building into a beacon of modern architecture that is a celebrated enhancement to the urban landscape of San Mateo.