Date: 22 August 2019
Before innovative glass products like Suntuitive® Dynamic Glass, developers were often leery about the use of wide window spans that could flow natural light into their buildings. In the case of 520 South El Camino in San Mateo, California, the windows were slim and the use of concrete on the facade was vast.
The ability for tenants to enjoy the massive benefits of the California daylighting simply was not there. When the team from Westlake Urban, Inc. began renovations on this marquee asset, they made a key decision to address this longstanding dilemma.
No substantial remodel happens overnight. In this case, there was a lot to consider before the building could transform from a heavy concrete exterior to a stunning, all-glass façade featuring Suntuitive® Dynamic Glass.
According to Kelly Chang Levine, Principal at Westlake Urban, Inc., “Back in 2014 and 2015, the team explored the option of just renovating the 9th floor. When they began performing exploratory work, it came to light that the building as a whole required a seismic retrofit.”
In 1991, Measure H, an ordinance in the City of San Mateo was passed, which established a height limit for commercial and multi-family residential structures for new development. This height limit is what weighed into Westlake’s decision not to level the entire building and instead proceed with a full remodel into a structurally sound Class-A office building. With that in mind, Westlake worked with several consultants to devise a plan to increase the structural integrity of the existing building, while maintaining the grandfathered height of 110 feet tall.
“We knew we wanted to highlight the beautiful views from the top floors and create a more open structure, providing a plethora of natural light. Since we were performing a seismic upgrade, we were able to remove the heavy exterior concrete walls and install a curtain wall glazing system, as long as we met the Title 24 energy requirements. After some research, we came across Suntuitive® Dynamic Glass, the perfect solution to creating a gorgeous glass exterior while also meeting Title 24 requirements,” said Kristina Chang, President of Westlake Urban, Inc.
Suntuitive® Dynamic Glass is the most adopted technology in its class and has projects all over the world. As Chang noted above, the Title 24 regulations were a significant factor as was the incorporation of natural light, but Suntuitive® also brought a lot more to the table.
“We were thrilled to get this opportunity to work with a great team at Westlake and such a monumental project like 520 South El Camino,” said Tom Donovan President of Suntuitive. “For this project we knew that energy and optimized daylighting were essential, but with Suntuitive we also offered additional benefits such as glare mitigation, solar control, safety properties, and acoustic advantages. This is a perfect project to show off the wide range of benefits that Suntuitive delivers.”
Construction commenced in the Fall of 2018 and according to Chang Levine, the project is running smoothly, with completion slated for Spring of 2020.
“We are on track and the various teams led by our General Contractor, Pankow Builders, are doing a fantastic job at working efficiently to ensure that each and every single day we are making the necessary progress to finish the project on time.”
Aside from the inclusion of Suntuitive® Dynamic Glass, there will be several other innovative touches to the newly remodeled property. The Westlake team has spent significant time and resources ensuring that this property continues to be a prominent asset in the Westlake portfolio.
“Every detail of this retrofit and renovation has been meticulously planned. We are completely repositioning this building to bring it up to modern standards. By opening up the lobby and creating rentable space on the lower level, we are able to not only increase square footage, but also create a unique feel to the overall building. Moreover, the addition of 2nd and 4th floor terraces, which required intense engineering and design work, will be fantastic amenities for the building. When it came to amenities overall, the team was fastidious in analyzing exactly what offerings would make the renovated building shine. The way that the team went about leveraging the existing structure, while completely redesigning it was extremely innovative and will make for a beautiful end product that will be a gem in the downtown San Mateo landscape,” Chang Levine concluded.
About Westlake Urban Inc.
Westlake Urban is a full-service real estate development company established to reposition specifically selected assets in Westlake Realty Group’s portfolio. The company’s goal is to meet the demands of today’s commercial and residential users who want to work and live in flexible, efficient, transit-oriented, environmentally friendly facilities.
Over the last 46 years, the tremendous growth of the San Francisco Bay Area has contributed to the value of Westlake’s portfolio of investments. Our founder, T.M. Chang, had the foresight to buy and hold parcels of land in viable areas throughout the Bay Area and western region, many of which have become anchors in their respective communities.
Today, Westlake Realty Group has grown into a multi-faceted real estate platform led by the third generation of the Chang family. Similar to Westlake’s prior generations, the focus remains on the long term, and we aspire to retain the family business values we live and breathe every day.
Westlake Urban is the key to revitalizing carefully selected properties to ensure that the assets in our portfolio remain integral parts of the urban, transit-rich communities where they reside.
For more on this property please visit: https://westlakeurban.com/projects/520ecr/
Suntuitive Dynamic Glass is the leading innovator in self-tinting dynamic glass with 500+ installations in more than 30 countries in all building segments like office, retail, residential, education and healthcare. It meets the various needs of the building community including more natural light, occupant comfort, energy efficiency and sustainability. It offers a large variety of options to fit the needs of any project. Suntuitive self-tinting glass is easy to install, doesn’t require wires, sensors, or controls, and starts working right away.
Learn more at www.suntuitiveglass.com