Bringing the Burlingame Downtown Specific Plan to life requires input from residents — which city officials are seeking during a second community meeting Wednesday, May 22.
In 2010, the Burlingame City Council adopted the Burlingame Downtown Specific Plan, which provides the framework for the business area. Later this month, the city will sponsor the second in a series of workshops for stakeholders to explore and identify opportunities and options for particular aspects of downtown Burlingame. The workshops represent a continuation of the city’s efforts to implement the policies of the Burlingame Downtown Specific Plan, with a specific focus on the central sites, particularly parking lot E, between Lorton Avenue and Park Road, and the downtown post office on Park Road.
During the first meeting held in March, participants went over information about the Downtown Specific Plan along with issues and opportunities. During the meeting, participants expressed that the most important aspects of a development is that it include flexible space that can accommodate activities for people of all ages and considering pedestrian-only use of Park Road, according to the meeting summary. Also, there was a desire to keep the post office in operation or at the very least to maintain the facade and lobby of the building possibly for a use similar to the San Francisco Ferry Building.
On May 22, the group will discuss issues and case studies before having an interactive discussion about plan concepts.
The sale of the Burlingame Main Post Office, located at 220 Park Road, was approved by postal officials in February 2012. Since then, the U.S. Postal Service has been researching the property before putting it on the market. City officials were told the post office could go on the market in three months.
James T. Wigdel, U.S. Postal Service spokesman, said there was no update on the property as of Tuesday.
Developing downtown parking lots has been a focus for the city for quite some time.
As an initial work effort, the subcommittee, currently consisting of Mayor Ann Keighran and Vice Mayor Michael Brownrigg, worked with staff to prepare a request for qualifications seeking qualified companies interested in development of one or more of the downtown parking lots. The selected developers, Grosvenor and Equity Residential, are currently in negotiations with the city regarding their parking lots of interest — parking lot E, and parking lots F and N, respectively.
Grosvenor, an international property development, investment and fund management group, put forward a mixed-use project using lot E. The concept, which encompasses the post office land, includes an “urban village” with 100 residential units, 35,000 square feet of retail and/or restaurant space and 125 residential parking spaces, according to a staff report. The firm also expressed a willingness to discuss ideas for helping the city construct a parking structure on lot J, across Park Road from lot E.
Equity Residential, a real estate investment trust based in Chicago, has a proposal that doesn’t include the post office space.
In March, the City Council voted 4-1, with Councilwoman Cathy Baylock dissenting, to send a letter to the U.S. Postal Service that the sale of the downtown post office to be free of federal historical preservation requirements. Doing so, the majority said, would tie local control and the historical considerations would be covered under the California Environmental Quality Act. Baylock, on the other hand, said the practice is customary and could act as an extra form of protection for a historical aspect of Burlingame’s downtown.
The workshop will be held from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 in the Lane Room at the Burlingame Public Library, 480 Primrose Road.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105