Millbrae TOD project near BART cancelled
- Published Saturday, July 26, 2003, in the San Mateo County Times
Development near BART falls through
By Erin Sherbert
MILLBRAE -- Plans for a housing and retail development near the BART
station fell through Friday morning when the developer told the city
he doesn't have the money.
The project, which was still in the planning stages and had not yet
gone before the Planning Commission, included 120 condominiums along
El Camino Real near the BART station and about 5,000 square feet of
retail, said Ralph Petty, community development director.
Fifteen percent of the housing, or 18 units, would have been
affordable housing set aside for low- and very low-income families,
But the developer, US Dataport, couldn't get the financing needed to
build the project, and now the city is left with no immediate
alternatives for the two-acre site, Petty said.
"Ultimately another developer will come along and purchase the site
and build, but not this time," he said.
The site, which is located along El Camino Real between Chadbourne
and Victoria Avenues, west of the BART station, currently is being
used as a private parking lot. It once housed the Millbrae theater,
which was knocked down in the early 1990s after the Loma Prieta
earthquake, said Mayor Linda Larson.
She said the city was looking forward to the project, which was
expected to bolster the city's population and sales tax dollars
substantially. City finance leaders said the completed project would
have increased city's property tax base by about $50 million, which
would have contributed close to $500,000 to city coffers. "Losing
that many residential units, where you figure 240 people could live
and benefit our downtown businesses and restaurants, is certainly a
loss," Larson said.
City leaders said it's been hard to get developers into the area
around BART, because the office market is in the tank and BART's
opening date kept getting pushed back.
But city officials say the El Camino parcel is a hot spot for
residential development -- being located between BART and downtown --
and won't sit idle for long.
"The housing market remains hot in Millbrae," Hershman said. "Housing
values are going up so I am optimistic this parcel remains desirable.