Burlingame officials praised the initial designs of a 265-unit, mixed-use project expected to the first sizable development constructed in a newly-planned neighborhood.

Burlingame planning commissioners shared their support for the residential and commercial proposal by Summerhill Apartment Communities on the corner of Adrian Court and Adrian Road, according to video of the meeting Monday, May 13.

The project comprised of two, seven-story towers is likely to be the first housing development in the area around Rollins Road, where officials are seeking to build a new residential hub a short distance from the Millbrae train station.

For his part, Commissioner Richard Terrones said he believes the initial project plans are appropriate for a development which officials hope will make a good first impression.

“I think this is a good project to start as that pioneer,” said Terrones, noting the lack of other similar developments nearby.

Officials only completed design review of the project and made no decision, as plans must first undergo environmental impact analysis before moving ahead to more thorough criticism.

The project is proposed on a 2.8-acre site currently occupied by a Sprint building and a vacant office. Plans include about 3,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor of one building, the upper floors of both buildings will be used for housing. Plans make room for three studios; 194 one-bedroom units; and 68 two-bedroom units which will be rented.

Thirty-eight of the units will be set aside at an affordable rate for those making 80% of the county’s area median income, which amounts to $82,900 for a single-person household, $94,700 for a two-person household, $106,550 for a three-person household and $118,400 for a four-person household, according to a city report.

There will also be 315 parking spaces for residents, visitors and the commercial component in a garage built at the site.

Other amenities will include a gym and pool for residents as well as a lounge and co-working space, plus a paseo leading to a public park and dog park which will be available to the community.

The privately-maintained nearly half-acre park at the south end of the property will offer segregated, fenced runs for large and small dogs, a bocce ball court, a turf field, seating area and other amenities. Another portion of the site will offer a public plaza with a fountain, outdoor seating and additional features.

Officials shared their appreciation for the community benefits offered, noting such details will be required to improve the quality of life for residents of the development, and others which will soon be built nearby.

As part of the recent general plan update, Burlingame officials agreed the area around Rollins Road should be transitioned from primarily industrial uses to a new residential neighborhood. Seeking to seize on proximity to the joint Caltrain and BART station in Millbrae, officials agreed the area abutting Burlingame’s northern border can appropriately accommodate an uptick in transit-oriented development.

As the project is the first of its kind nearby, Commissioner Will Loftis said he appreciated Summerhill’s ambition to break ground, as well as the development’s design.

“I like the project and I’m really, really excited that you jumped in over there immediately,” he said.

Most of the feedback was similarly positive, but some maintained reservations. One nearby property owner said he feared the traffic and congestion likely invited by the development, while representatives from the local construction trades community suggested officials should instruct Summerhill to hire union labor to build the project.

Not all officials admired the designs either, as Chair Sandy Comaroto said she was hopeful the project would include unique features that distinguish it from other standard apartment developments nearby.

“We do need variation and I’m afraid it will look cookie-cutter and I would really hate to see that,” she said.

More broadly though, considering the project’s apparent conformity with the vision for the area, Terrones synthesized the perspective of most like-minded officials.

“To see the evolution of the general plan and creation of the specific plan for this area start to come to fruition, I think it is exciting,” he said.

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