Transit-based redevelopment gets going in Millbrae
- Published Saturday, October 28, 2006, by the San Mateo Daily Journal
Transit-based redevelopment in full swing
By Heather Murtagh
Creating a transit-oriented and lively downtown was a long-term goal
for Millbrae, which is finally starting to come true.
The work, however, is far from over. Construction just off El Camino
Real seems common in Millbrae, and the changes are just beginning.
Soon the frontage road along the state highway will continue until
the Burlingame border, more condominums will be in place and
activities will take place during all hours of the day. Even with
plans in place, city officials would still like to hear more
inviting music and services along Broadway.
"Millbrae began planning for growth and development in the transit
station area and redevelopment area, more than 10 years ago. The
delay in the opening of the transit station and the weak post-9/11
economy slowed things down, but Millbrae's vision for this area is
now becoming a reality. As each new project takes shape it becomes
more likely that others will follow," said Vice Mayor Marc Hershman.
Construction of condominiums on 88 South Broadway, the former home
of King's Bowl, is nearly done. The construction was delayed by
various litigation, said Project Manager Dave Cross. The project is
getting close to opening and will feature 105 two-bedroom homes
ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 square feet.
A condominium project was approved for Chadbourne Avenue and El
Camino Real two years ago, said City Planner David Petrovich. The
owner has yet to submit plans or ask for permits. Next spring would
be the earliest construction could begin.
"The city has, some time ago, set out to have transportation-
oriented development around El Camino and downtown. The plans have
been in place, it's rewarding to see those happen five, 10, 15 years
down the road," said City Manager Ralph Jaeck.
Both additions will also feature retail space along El Camino Real.
Work began just south of the King's Bowl condominiums on Friendship
Plaza, the future home of Walgreens and more stores along El Camino
Real. No word on which companies will be moving into this new space,
however it will offer a uniform look throughout the southern end of
At the northern side, a 75,866-square-foot commercial building is
planned for 979 Broadway. The old BART building will include a 24
Hour Fitness, a spa and a number of other businesses. The plans are
approved, however details of maintaining the safety of late-night
patrons is still being worked out. 24 Hour Fitness, once it opens,
will be one of the only businesses downtown open between 10 p.m. and
6 a.m., said Petrovich.
"It's going to be a nice change to the area both visually and
economically," he said.
These projects mark the far north and south ends of the downtown
area. The progress is inspiring but the heart of downtown --
Broadway between Victoria Avenue and Taylor Boulevard -- still
The true downtown is still evolving. There are numerous requests for
hair and nail salons, which are not called for in the area plan,
Rather than add a number of service salons, Petrovich would like to
see music added to the area.
"We need to extend the senses. There's something to see and smell.
You can touch anything, but we need to add sound," he said.
Not just random noise, but music and ambiance that comes from within
restaurants or a late night jazz club. The Planning Commission began
getting sound onto the sidewalk by requiring expanding restaurants
to play music outside. This option won't work in every location,
however, since some apartments are located above local businesses.
Heather Murtagh can be reached by e-mail: heather@...
or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105. What do you think of this
story? Send a letter to the editor: letters@...