Burlingame is keeping its options open when it comes to developing its downtown.
Last year, the Burlingame City Council decided to continue working with Grosvenor Americas and Equity Residential to create ideas for developing city-owned parking lots. Since then, staff has been periodically approached by developers who are interested in exploring other options. On Monday, the City Council told staff it was OK to have such conversations but only if the developer is offering something, like a parking structure, that fulfills a downtown need, said City Manger Lisa Goldman.
“They also recognize that staff already has a number of high-priority projects in the pipeline, so they cautioned against stretching resources so thin that we can’t make progress on current projects,” Goldman wrote in an email.
The Burlingame Downtown Specific Plan, which provides the framework for updating the business area, was approved in 2010. More recently, the city has held community workshops to discuss options.
Developing downtown parking lots has been a focus for the city for quite some time.
As an initial work effort, a 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 right next to the city’s main post office. 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.