Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Suzy Marshall, left, and Suzy Bowen, right, shop together on Broadway in Burlingame.
Aiming to bring more business to Burlingame’s Broadway is the goal of a summit the city plans to host in September.
The Future Broadway Summit will bring merchants, property owners and business owners from the business district together to air concerns and come up with a plan for giving Broadway a shot in the arm.
“For a long time, we’ve asked merchants over and over again what they’d like to see,” said Councilman Jerry Deal. “They weren’t sure for a long time. There were a lot of changing ideas about how to revitalize Broadway and it will be good to give the community an idea of what they want.”
With the Downtown Burlingame Streetscape project, many people are wondering if Broadway will get its own revamp, but about a decade ago the city did upgrade the streets on Broadway and also created more parking lots. Businesses need to adapt to what is in demand today, Deal said.
“Something has got to change,” he said. “You change for the times or you lose out. The problem is it’s a small block and it doesn’t attract a lot of activity during the day. I know that a lot of people say they’d like to have a bakery, but if you have a bakery, you’d have to go to the bakery and buy things.”
The Broadway Business Improvement District sent a letter to the City Council April 25 asking the city to lift a moratorium on bringing food establishments and educational services to Broadway to bring new businesses to the street.
“For 20 years, Broadway has endeavored to encourage retail to locate on the street by restricting the types of businesses allowed to locate there,” the letter states. “In recent years, the nature of retail has changed and the demands of our community have changes.”
Broadway business owners like John Kevranian, owner of Nuts for Candy on Broadway and member of the Broadway Business Improvement District, look forward to the summit.
“We want to see what the community wants for Broadway and what we can do to improve it,” Kevranian said. “We still don’t want offices to open on the first floor since those type of businesses don’t bring in customers.”
The district is asking the city to not allow financial institutions under 3,000 square feet or any medical/dental or office use on the first floors of Broadway.
Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Brownrigg said during his most recent campaign for council he walked around and heard from constituents who expressed a great deal of interest in Broadway. The summit will give Broadway landlords the chance to hear from residents.
“There’s concern from residents — we all want Broadway to succeed,” he said. “There’s a lot of love for, and interest in, Broadway.”
Councilman Ricardo Ortiz, a frequent visitor of Broadway, noted there are quite a few vacant spaces on the street.
“I think it will be good to share ideas and come up with a way to spruce it up and make it more attractive,” he said. “One vacancy that has a ripped red awning has a pigeon living in it.”
A date has yet to be set for the summit, but it will likely be in the early half of September, Brownrigg said.
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