San Mateo - Laurelwood / Sugarloaf

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“Laurelwood/Sugarloaf is one of San Mateo’s “newest” neighborhoods”

One of San Mateo’s “newest” communities lies in its westernmost quadrant, near Highway 280 and north of the large, protected 225-acre open space after which it was named. Laurelwood is distinctly different from other San Mateo districts, resembling neighborhoods in the western hills of San Carlos and Redwood City more than it does traditional pre-war districts like Baywood or post-war gridded suburbs like Hillsdale.

Laurelwood is large – three-fourths of a mile in total area – and about 30% less densely-populated than the city as a whole. The real estate in Laurelwood was constructed during the 1960s and 1970s, with smaller homes (three bedrooms, under 2,000 square feet) built first, followed by larger homes toward the middle and late 1970s. The latter properties can have four or five bedrooms and two stories, multiple-car garages and up to 3,000 square feet of living space. They resemble houses built all over California during that era, with prominent garages, stucco exteriors and cedar shake or terra cotta tile roofs.

Laurelwood’s location makes it an oddity in San Mateo. It is completely removed from downtown, El Camino Real, Highway 101 and Hillsdale. Even Alameda de las Pulgas seems a distant rumor from Laurelwood’s peaceful cul-de-sacs. The neighborhood is defined by its relationship with Laurelwood Park and Sugarloaf Mountain, whose unspoiled hillsides and canyons almost guarantee a serene view for most district residents. The neighborhood is a favorite for power walkers, but woe to the Laurelwood locals who favor a stroll to their favorite restaurant or coffee shop. The Laurelwood Shopping Center, a traditional strip center built around a central parking lot, is the neighborhood’s commercial district. It has a Rite Aid, a Piazza’s Fine Foods, a Bank of America, a number of service-oriented businesses and a few restaurants.

Its smaller properties – Laurelwood counts among its housing inventory a number of attached homes, some, like those in the Sugarloaf subdivision, built during the 1980s – sell for around $800,000 to $900,000, while its larger, single-family homes for sale fetch prices well north of $1 million, ranging up to $1.2 or $1.3 million. It’s worth mentioning that the open floor plans of the Sugarloaf tract style homes are quite popular, and many have gorgeous views.

To view a detailed google map of the Laurelwood/Sugarloaf neighborhood, click here. The MLS area is 430.

The Laurelwood/Sugarloaf neighborhood is surrounded by San Mateo Terrace/BeresfordSan Mateo Knolls, San Mateo Woods/Baybridge and bordered on one side by Belmont.


Whatever Laurelwood and Sugarloaf are now, they could have been much more. If not for the efforts of local preservation groups, 40% of what is now Laurelwood Park would have become homes (enough for 5,800 residents) and office space in 1972. 7000 local citizens signed a petition to halt development. Ultimately, the city moved forward with a minimized plan. Laurelwood Park was created in 1978.