Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Construction workers are currently digging up the 1400 block of Burlingame Avenue as part of the city’s beautification project downtown.
With work on the Burlingame Streetscape underway on the 1400 block of Burlingame Avenue, store owners have mixed feelings about the effects of the construction on their businesses.
When construction for the downtown beautification project first began in April 2013, reduced parking, fewer patrons and a torn-up street were among the complaints from business owners. Currently, construction workers are digging up the 1400 block between Primrose Road and El Camino Real as part of the project to widen the sidewalks and update landscaping. The 1200 block has already been completed and the construction is expected to be completed on time.
At 1406 Burlingame Ave., Fiori flower shop’s manager Lindsey Ainsworth said sales have definitely been down since construction began on the store’s block.
“I worked a nine-hour day on Wednesday and not one person walked in the door,” she said.
The owner of Le Croissant Café at 1407 Burlingame Ave., Calvin Wang, said he’s seen the effects of the construction and may have to sell the shop if business does not improve.
“Rent is going up,” Wang said. “There’s no way I can suffer more.”
Others like Craig Stoll, owner of the recently opened Pizzeria Delfina at 1444 Burlingame Ave., said it’s hard to tell the effects of the construction on his business.
“The answer is I don’t know,” he said. “We had a week or two of history before the streetscape. I do think we’d be a hell of a lot busier for lunch and dinner if the street were open. We will have better business overall [when it’s finished]. I’m not complaining.”
Sam Malouf, owner of Sam Malouf’s luxury menswear store at 1460 Burlingame Ave., actually presented the idea for the revamp of Burlingame Avenue to the Burlingame City Council after he moved to the Bay Area about 18 years ago, noticing the street seemed outdated.
“I thought it would affect us more, but there more people cut through the store for the two new restaurants next door,” he said. “It’s not detrimental.”
On the other end of the street, Julio Salinas, manager at Copenhagen Bakery & Café at 1216 Burlingame Ave., said business has picked up since his part of the block was completed. Business has improved by 50 percent, he said.
“It’s much better,” he said. “Before it was terrible. It will be better when the whole thing is done because a lot of people see the mess over there [on the other end of the street] and don’t want to come.”
Mingalaba, a Burmese restaurant located at 1213 Burlingame Ave., saw a drop in business during construction on its block as well.
“During construction, business was down,” said Manager Sandra Tung. “But right now, it’s picking up.”
Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Terry Nagel said the project is going really well.
“We’re getting there,” she said. “I’m hearing more and more people say complimentary things about it.”
The 14- to 16-month beautification of Burlingame Avenue includes more pedestrian-friendly features, with sidewalks widened from 10 to 16 feet, more landscaping and outside dining space. Parking is moving from slanted to parallel and the street’s two lanes will be thinned to a total of 20 feet. The $16.5 million project is expected to be completed by the end of summer.
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