Massive Millbrae expansion metamorphosis moves forward
Inexorably, a sea change is heading for southern Millbrae. Three huge high-rises, proposed for properties adjacent to a key Peninsula transportation hub, are on target to alter the town’s skyline in a very big way.
Two of those planned buildings, located just north of Millbrae Avenue on the east side of El Camino Real, would be 10-stories tall, the other would be nine floors in height. At least one of the towers would actually be a bit higher than 10 stories.
Once completed (approvals have been slow in coming but there seems to be little concerted opposition within the community at large), the project would dramatically transform the character of the city of 22,000 residents.
In some ways, it would mirror what is occurring in downtown Redwood City, where a number of high-rises are under construction.
The Millbrae plan, which has been discussed, analyzed and critiqued for almost five years (it has already gone through six different city planners, according to the developer, Millbrae Serra Station, LLC), would bring stark urbanization to a small suburban town.
Millbrae’s five-member planning commission gave the project its OK, with certain provisions, last week. The City Council will take up the matter in the near future.
There are five-story apartment/ condo complexes along El Camino Real already. The new project would double that height in the same general locale.
Interestingly, the proposed triple towers would rest directly beneath a San Francisco International Airport flight path utilized by jetliners during some heavy weather days. So far, though, any outcry from SFO or federal aviation officials has been muted or nonexistent.
According to planning documents provided by the city, the two 10-story towers would include 444 apartment units and 4,255 square feet of retail space. The nine-floor building would house 8,960 square feet of retail space and 290,140 square feet of office space. A threelevel underground parking garage is also planned.
Separately, more square footage, lots of it, is being planned for two other plots of land near the transit hub, which is utilized by Caltrain, BART and SamTrans and, one day perhaps, high-speed rail.
All in all, Millbrae’s populace is staring at a transformation of its community, for good or ill.
Once again, a Peninsula community has soundly rejected a local rent control measure.
The voters of Pacifica gave the latest effort to put stiff restrictions on rental fees and policies very short shrift in the Nov. 7 election. According to the San Mateo County Elections Office, Measure C was crushed, 5,302 to 3,291.
That one-sided defeat follows routs of similar proposals in Burlingame and San Mateo.
The denizens of San Mateo County may lean left on a lot of important matters, but, when it comes to their own properties, a much more conservative view comes into play.
For more than a generation, students at San Mateo High School have operated an award-winning holiday food drive. Since its inception, hundreds of thousands of pounds of food have been provided for the Peninsula’s needy.
The effort, which has been copied by a number of other local schools over the years, benefits Samaritan House and the Second Harvest Food Bank.
This year’s San Mateo goal is at least 100,000 pounds of food and donations used to purchase food. The drive will last through Nov. 27.
Students are collecting food and cash equivalents at supermarkets throughout the mid-Peninsula.