In the early 1960s, the company designated 1,400 acres of marshland for development. Following the lead of its northern neighbor, Foster City, the new community would be master-planned. It would also be ambitious; original plans called for an eventual population of 60,000.
Redwood Shores hasn't quite gotten there. Even with some big future development in the works, it's unlikely Redwood Shores will ever approach 60,000 residents. Right now, it has something over 10,000 residents, which suits the locals just fine. It also suits the national media; in 2009, Forbes Magazine named Redwood Shores one of "America's Top-Selling Luxury Neighborhoods," thanks to the community's large homes, beautiful setting and top-rate public schools, part of the Redwood Shores-Belmont district.
"Quality of life" in Redwood Shores is based on a few things that set this waterfront community apart from the rest of the Peninsula, beginning with its setting. Like Foster City, Redwood Shores was created on land reclaimed from San Francisco Bay. Development was made possible when Leslie Salt filled in its ponds and marshes, creating solid land but leaving the lagoons and canals that make Redwood Shores so unique.
Living in Redwood Shores means water views for almost everyone and backyard docks for many. It means taking the boat to the grocery store and lounging on the deck, watching the egrets and great blue herons skim across the water.
It can even mean swimming the lagoon. Redwood Shores' central lagoon offers three calm-water swim courses, ranging in length from a half-mile to two miles. Wear a wetsuit, though; the average water temp is less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
For those who prefer to get their exercise on dry land, Redwood Shores offers a seven-mile loop segment of the 500-mile Bay Trail. It passes parks, open spaces, shoreline, housing developments and even meanders past the most prominent features of the Redwood Shores' skyline: the signature cylindrical glass buildings that housed Oracle Corporation until their announced move to Texas at the end of 2020.
Though it was originally conceived as a residential community and has very little in the way of restaurants and stores, Redwood Shores has recently made a name for itself as a hub for the high tech industry. It began in 1994, when Oracle built its headquarters on what was once the site of Marine World, the aquatic-themed amusement park that opened in 1968, just as Redwood Shores' first neighborhood was completed, and then moved to Vallejo 18 years later.
When Oracle came, others followed, including gaming giant Electronic Arts, whose headquarters sits across Redwood Shores Parkway from The Marketplace, Redwood Shores' only major shopping center.
Restaurant choices at The Marketplace run toward fast food and Starbucks, but that's okay with Redwood Shores residents. Laurel Street, the shopping and dining center of downtown San Carlos, is only 3.5 miles from the Redwood Shores lagoon, and the Hillsdale Shopping Center, in San Mateo, is a 10-minute drive away. Redwood Shores gets the best of both worlds: convenience and quiet.
Why is Redwood Shores part of Redwood City if you can't get from one to the other without passing through another town? Because in 1959, when Leslie Salt was proposing its 60,000-person planned community, both San Carlos and Belmont spurned the then-virtual city's advances. Neither wanted to annex something so potentially large, so Redwood City stepped in. Ironically, today Oracle's gleaming towers can be seen from anywhere in downtown Belmont.
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