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Big Wave Commercial Center

Approved by Board of Supervisors and Coastal Commission in 2015

Huge commercial compound and wellness center

Big Wave is a large-scale commercial project between Princeton-by-the-Sea and Moss Beach which was approved in May 2015, though not yet built. The project consists of Big Wave Office Park (PLN2005-00481) on the 14-acre north parcel next to the Pillar Ridge Manufactured Home Community and Big Wave Wellness Center (PLN2005-00482), on the 5-acre south parcel next to Princeton. Construction was proposed over 15 years per a development agreement with the County. Since 2017, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has approved amendments as requested in support of helping the wellness center project move forward. 

Status and remaining construction challenges

The Big Wave Office Park has been unsuccessful in attracting commercial interest as of the start of the pandemic in 2020. The Big Wave Wellness Center, however, is attempting to move forward with a new push and ground-breaking activities as of August of 2020.


The Big Wave Commercial Center was approved after more than a decade of major opposition due to its environmental impact, location and out-sized scale. Opposition has been focused primarily on the large commercial portion of the project and not on the Wellness Center or housing for developmentally-disabled adults. However, the Wellness Center and housing have been coupled with the commercial project. 

The community remains concerned about the impact of an estimated 1,500 daily car trips* in and out of Big Wave through narrow neighborhood roads, the potential impact on an already stressed sewer system, the impact on water resources, and the sensibility of locating a housing / wellness center in a high-risk tsunami zone. 

Several financial challenges remain for Big Wave. In particular, the project faces up-front costs associated with the water main extension to the site as well as unpaid fees to the County and other costs of mitigations agreed to but not yet completed.


* Hexagon Traffic Study, August 28, 2014

Key Features of Big Wave
  • 8 total buildings, including 5 large office buildings (The office buildings alone are equivalent to the size of approximately 1.5 Walmarts)

  • Parking lots for 554 cars

  • Wellness Center and affordable housing for up to 50 developmentally-disabled adults and 20 caretakers - a maximum of 57 bedrooms

  • Large boat storage facility with 92 coastal access parking spaces

High-Risk Tsunami Zone

Scientists consider Half Moon Bay one of the top five most vulnerable points in CA for a tsunami.*


A devastating earthquake off the south coast of Alaska would send a shockwave of water toward the San Francisco Bay Area that drives the ocean up about 30 feet on San Mateo County shores. Pillar Point Harbor, Princeton and the southern reaches of the airport would be under water.


* Rick Wilson, California Geological Survey Senior Engineering Geologist

- New tsunami maps reflect impact to Coastside, HMB Review, 1/6/2010

- Tsunami inundation map, updated 2021

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