A long-awaited major redevelopment around the Millbrae BART/Caltrain station took a significant step Tuesday night with the City Council’s unanimous approval of an agreement to potentially make way for two developers’ projects.
The two proposed mixed-use plans would modify the 1998 Millbrae Station Area Specific Plan and related Environmental Impact Report, building on Sites One, Five and Six of 13 sub areas in the plan. The city will charge the developers $899,686 for work on amendments to the plan, according to a staff report, which Economic Development Consultant Bill Kelly presented at a meeting last night. Kelly called it probably one of the biggest projects the city has worked on thus far.
“This is very exciting for our city and the community of Millbrae,” Councilwoman Marge Colapietro previously said. “It’s been many years in the making and, unless we take this step, we cannot move Millbrae forward. Both developments have goals of mixed-use, transit-oriented development with great potential for increasing tax revenues for our city operations.”
Higher density housing, retail, restaurant, office, hotel and entertainment uses in a mixed-use development have yet to materialize for the area which is the largest multi-agency transportation center west of the Mississippi River. Site One hasn’t been actively worked on since 2006.
Republic Urban Properties hopes to develop Sites Five and Six of the current plan, which are owned by BART. The BART-selected developer has proposed a mixed-use project containing offices, multi-family residential units, an extended stay hotel and retail on 10 acres. It calls for 263 dwelling units, 136,600 square feet of commercial space, 84,880 square feet of retail space and 110 hotel rooms. The project would displace several hundred of BART’s existing surface parking spaces and would affect existing SamTrans bus parking and service. However, the details regarding the amount of parking that will be replaced and the potential relocation of the bus intermodal facility to the west side are to be determined, according to the report.
“At this point it’s really just beginning the process,” said Michael Van Every, president and managing partner for Republic Urban. “We really would like the opportunity to get going with this. There are some fantastic opportunities to attract new businesses to Millbrae. We intend to prove economically this works for the city.”
The second application is coming from Serra Station Properties and is on a portion of Site One comprising the old Millbrae lumberyard and Serra Convalescent Home. The proposal is for a mixed-use project containing office, multi-family residential units and commercial space on 3.5 acres. The proposal offers a variety of building options, including one that follows the current area specific plan and would build 271,868 square feet of office space and 24,220 square feet of retail space. Other options include modifying the plan and including 500 dwelling units, 916,000 square feet of office space, 75,000 square feet of retail space and 134 hotel rooms, according to the report.
The amendments requested relate to allowing building heights to be raised to the maximum permitted by the Federal Aviation Administration, increasing land use density or the floor area ratio, allowing for a form-based code based on physical form to be applied and other changes. The city is using the Planning Center | Design Community and Environment, the city’s consultant on the project site, in charge of project management based on the company’s work on similar projects along the Peninsula.
“Due to the significance of these projects regarding the land use, traffic/circulation, fiscal/financial and public impacts, significant emphasis in the analysis of these projects will be devoted to: market area trends and fiscal impact, circulation system modeling, a master EIR and public outreach,” the report states.
Both projects received Notices of Determination of Completeness Jan. 3 for having complete applications, including all required application forms, drawings, notations and fees. TPC | DC&E will be in charge of guiding a technically sound and time-sensitive amendment and environmental review process, working with all parties to define a locally beneficial and regionally valuable district, providing technical information and unbiased recommendations, providing solutions to potential conflicts, organizing research and preparing documents, facilitating community outreach and assessing public input, along with educating and presenting to the public, Planning Commission and the City Council.
Former mayor Gina Papan said developing the land is very important to the city and Millbrae is not sustainable at this point.
“Development in this area is vital to our future,” she said. “We need to try to maximum any revenue ... in this area.”
There will also be two public meetings to identify community issues, but more could be added if the city deems it necessary. The tentative deadline for finalizing the amendments to the area specific plan and EIR is December 2014. The $899,686 costs will be split between the two applicants, 55 percent for Republic Union and 45 percent for Serra Station on the basis of the maximum development square footage requested and a costs share for the BART Access Plan.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105