Construction for new condominiums in a five-story, 44-unit live/work development at 619-625 California Drive was approved unanimously by the Burlingame Planning Commission.

The owner and architect, Ian Burchall, proposed several changes to a project that was previously approved in 2018 originally for a four-story, 26-unit live/work building with 2,100 square feet of retail space.

“I think the architecture here has vastly improved from what it was before,” Planning Commissioner Richard Terrones said. “I think it’s remarkable the manner in which you achieved the additional unit with approximately only 1 foot additional height in the building.”

The proposed project includes changing the overall design and exterior materials, increasing the number of live/work units from 26 to 44, eliminating the 2,100 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, and instead incorporating a lobby, workshare/coworking space and conference room on ground floor, and increasing the number of stories from four to five.

The ground floor will consist of an entrance lobby providing pedestrian access to the live/work units on the upper floors, a workshare/coworking space, and conference room. Behind the building amenities is a parking garage for 44 vehicles with 42 spaces in vehicle lifts, one electric vehicle space, and one disabled-accessible space. The live/work units on the second, third and fourth floors range from 741 square feet to 1,234 square feet in area. Each live/work unit will contain a living area, kitchen, bathroom, laundry closet, sleeping area, either a studio or one-bedroom, and a work area.

In going over the landscape plans, a few trees were shown on the sidewalks and Burchall said a gas line that runs about 2 feet off the curb along California Drive would make adding additional trees difficult and would require relocation of the gas line.

Vice Chair Will Loftis suggested having smaller potted trees to accompany the planted trees. Burchall agreed with the idea and said he would look into it and see if they can get approval from the city.

Burchall also has another project across the street that is expected to begin construction next year and said this proposed project would follow after the first one is completed.

When asked by Chair John Schmid if there’s been any work planned with Public Works for the sidewalks, street lighting, gutters, delivery zones and parking, Burchall said it’s something they still need to look at and would want to make sure the city is comfortable with how they are proposing to develop the block.

In the environmental review, it has been determined that the proposed project, with the incorporation of mitigation measures, will not have a significant impact on the environment. The impacts of the proposed project remain within the impacts previously analyzed in the Final IS/MND.

The traffic analysis found that while there will be additional cars, the level of service will not drop below what was previously planned in the first proposed project.

The site’s history includes the house where Marie Hatch lived for 66 years, and the last 30 of those years with her friend Georgia Rothrock, when they were evicted by the man who inherited the home and said he had to sell it to satisfy the terms of a trust agreement. Hatch, who was 97 at the time of the eviction in 2016, died a few months later. Her estate sued over the action. It was the subject of significant attention in the county, and later nationally, as a symbol of the rising cost of living with some calling for further rent protections. A lawsuit was later settled with Hatch’s son, and Rothrock had her living arrangements at an assisted living center paid for by motivational speaker Tony Robbins. Rothrock died in 2018.

(650) 344-5200, ext. 105

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(1) comment


The Burlingame Historical Society, if interested in preserving the true stories of the city, should perhaps erect a monument or plaque explaining who lived at the site and the circumstances of their departure.

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