Burlingame officials are hoping to breathe new life into a historic site with a new development deal to rebuild the former post office, following years of the downtown site sitting vacant and ignored.
According to an arrangement announced Friday, Oct. 11, to the Daily Journal, the 1.3-acre site 220 Park Road will be redeveloped by Sares Regis, a home builder with projects rising throughout the Peninsula.
The decision marks a new chapter for the post office, which for the past few years was under the care of the Wang-Lu Revocable Trust and their representative, real estate magnate Stanely Lo.
But following the expiration of an exclusive negotiating rights agreement at the end of September, Sares Regis stepped in with fresh plans to build condominiums above commercial space and underground parking in a high-end, mixed-use project.
Mayor Donna Colson expressed enthusiasm over the opportunity to rejuvenate the site, which for years has been tucked behind fences since it was sold by the U.S. Postal Service in 2014.
“We’re very excited to see the momentum growing behind this important downtown property and are confident that it’s in good hands,” she said in a prepared statement. She also illustrated plans for the city to develop a plaza, or town square, adjacent to the site which will provide open, community gathering space.
The former post office is proximate to parking lot F, where officials are planning to build 132 units of workforce and senior housing, which is also adjacent to parking lot N, where ground should soon break on a new 384-space parking garage.
Previous plans for the post office were for a housing project with 128 condominiums sitting above nearly 23,000 square feet of retail space and a courtyard tied to a public paseo with about 13,000 square feet of open space for community activities. Officials had envisioned a community amenity similar to Courthouse Square in Redwood City, before the development plans lost momentum.
The post office building has been eligible to be listed on a state or national historic register and the city agreed to oversee a preservation covenant to ensure character-defining elements of the building are maintained.
Sares Regis COO David Hopkins expressed enthusiasm over the chance to rebuild the site.
“The Burlingame post office site is a fantastic, centrally located development opportunity,” he said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with the community to meet its needs and begin work on an architecturally significant project that will activate a section of downtown Burlingame that has been ready for redevelopment for many years.”
Sares Regis, of San Mateo, has recently opened residential projects in South San Francisco, Belmont and Redwood City. The company will work with BAR Architects, of San Francisco, to design the project, according to the press release.
For her part, Colson said she is excited to work alongside the accomplished developer to construct the central site into an asset officials and community can appreciate.
“Sares Regis is a fantastic choice to advance the development of this crucial project — their many successful developments in San Mateo County have proven that they have the vision, expertise and capability to move this project forward and provide much-needed housing for our community,” she said in the statement.
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