Rico Medina

Rico Medina

A central piece of San Bruno land that has suffered through a series of fits and starts in the path toward redevelopment is again before officials who will determine whether it should be sold.

The San Bruno City Council will decide Tuesday, April 27, whether The Crossing land near the intersection at Interstate 380 and El Camino Real may be acquired by a car dealership.

Cardinale Auto Group is offering $5 million to purchase the 1.5-acre piece of property owned by the city and build a Hyundai and Genesis sales lot on the site where officials have tried for years to build a new hotel.

Mayor Rico Medina lauded the proposal granting city officials an opportunity to capitalize on an asset they have long struggled to redevelop with the added bonus of collecting tax revenue from car sales.

“This could be an exciting use for the land and for the future of San Bruno,” said Medina.

The sale, if approved by councilmembers, would generate about $3.6 million in profit for the city which originally acquired the site for $1.4 million. Additionally, a city staff report projects about $1 million in annual tax revenue could be generated from car sales at the site.

Redeveloping the land in a fashion that will be an ongoing source of tax income has been a central focus of officials who for years have struggled to bring their vision to fruition.

In 2018, OTO Development backed out of a previous deal worth $3.9 million that would have allowed the South Carolina company to acquire the land and build a Marriott hotel.

The decision came on the heels of a lawsuit brought by organized labor groups opposed to the company’s acquisition of the site due to an unwillingness to hire union workers.

The sale was also criticized by residents who felt officials offered a sweetheart deal to the developer and ultimately did not get the return on investment that should have been expected for a prime piece of property.

Residents attempted to launch a ballot initiative blocking the development, which ultimately failed. And courts had sided with the city when considering the union lawsuit, until the potential buyer backed out.

Holding out hope that another hotel builder would take on the site, officials had agreed in 2019 to enter exclusive negotiating with Blackridge LLC for development of an Element Hotel, with 180 rooms, up to 140 surface parking spaces and a community room as big as 1,500 square feet.

Shortly after acquisition talks started though, the developer backed out of the discussion and the agreement was terminated, according to a city report.

The site has been fallow since, but last year the Cardinale Auto Group approached city officials and expressed interest in purchasing it.

As a condition of the proposed sale, officials would need to agree to general and specific plan amendments as well as a zoning change to allow for construction of a car dealership, according to the report.

Cardinale Automotive Group is headquartered in Marina, outside of Salinas, and has two dealerships located nearby, as well as in Arizona and Nevada, according to its website.

For his part, Medina shared his enthusiasm over the chance to revitalize the property while also taking in more tax revenue annually.

“We see it as a revenue generator for years to come,” said Medina.


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