Renowned local developer and real estate tycoon Stanley Lo has proposed a new tower comprised of 120 condominiums in a segment of northern Burlingame intended be a hub of residential growth.
Lo, of Green Banker, intends to construct a six-story project at 1868 Ogden Drive, with five floors of for-sale units above a ground floor reserved for community gathering space.
The development, proposed in an area selected by officials to accommodate an uptick of residential growth, will add a unique resource and hopefully help make Burlingame a more affordable place to live, Lo said.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the community because of the housing shortage,” said Lo, who is widely recognized locally as a successful Realtor with properties and projects throughout Burlingame and Hillsborough. He is also seeking to redevelop the city’s historic, downtown post office.
The Ogden Drive project is a short distance from the Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, as well as the border to Millbrae and the city’s joint BART and Caltrain station.
The area at the northern tip of Burlingame was picked by officials during a recent general plan update as a zone where more housing development should occur, primarily due to its proximity to public transit.
“This is very much along the lines with what the city had in mind when it went through the general plan update,” said Community Development Director Kevin Gardiner, referring to the recent amendment of Burlingame’s master planning document which loosened development regulations in certain portions of the city to accommodate more residential construction.
Lo said he was not aware the site would be rezoned when he purchased it, but noted its proximity to local landmarks in building his case for the redevelopment.
“This location is close to transportation, the hospital and Burlingame Plaza, so it’s great,” he said of the site, which is currently occupied by an office building.
Of the 120 units, 35 will be studios, 30 will be one-bedroom units and 55 will be two-bedroom units, according to project plans. Six of the units will be set aside at an affordable rate, and 156 parking spaces will be provided, a majority of which will be in a two-story subterranean garage. The ground floor will be 1,600 square feet of space reserved for community gatherings which Lo said could host events such as art exhibits or meetings.
Gardiner said such gathering space is a rarity in Burlingame, while lauding the opportunity to establish such a valuable amenity. There will also be a public plaza built in the front of the project serving the neighborhood, and a private interior courtyard for residents.
The project is only a short distance from the planned wellness community proposed by the Peninsula Health Care District, comprised a proposed 375 senior housing units, 250,000 square feet of professional office and medical research space, plus additional amenities across 8 acres near Trousdale Drive.
The medical project has raised the eyebrows of neighbors who fear an influx of traffic and parking problems, as well as a variety of other concerns. Recognizing those sensitivities could be compounded with additional residential development nearby, Gardiner said he is optimistic the proximity to public transportation will offer some potential congestion relief.
“The hope is that in terms of reducing project impacts from increased development, this area is about as well situated as any,” he said.
He noted though, considering the recent zoning amendments combined with the existing antiquated infrastructure nearby, it is likely more redevelopment could soon target the surrounding commercial properties.
“My guess is we will see more turnover,” said Gardiner.
For his part, Lo suggested the increased development would be a boon for the community by offering more places to live in an area starved for such options, which could also breathe new life into the local economy.
“We need more people moving to Burlingame and all the merchants will be happy,” he said. “It’s all related.”
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