By Meghan Hall
The transformation of Milbrae’s BART Station has begun: at a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, city officials, BART executives and the Republic Family of Companies gathered to break ground on Gateway at Millbrae, a highly-anticipated mixed-use development believed to be one of the largest transit-oriented development projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. Upon completion, the project will deliver 157,000 square feet of office space, 400 apartments and 44,000 square feet of retail to market.
‘We are proud to kick-off the Gateway at Millbrae Station development, one of the Bay Area’s largest transit-oriented developments that will be transformative for the surrounding community,” said Kelly Erardi, senior vice president at Republic. “It is a model for integrating housing with vital access to public transportation, and will provide housing opportunities for local veterans to come back home. To Republic, and our partners, there is no greater honor than to be able to thank those that served our nation with much needed housing.”
Construction for Gateway and Milbrae Station is expected to occur in several phases and end in the summer of 2022. Of the project’s rental homes, 100 will be classified as affordable, and 80 of those units will be Veteran-preferred. The development is expected to bring about 1,100 new jobs to the area. According to the Republic Family of Companies’ website, estimated development costs for the 9.6-acre site will come in at about $401 million.
The first building will be a seven-story, 320-unit apartment building with just under 14,000 square feet of retail space. A second, 151,538 square foot office building with 22,500 square feet of retail, as well as an 80-unit affordable housing building are also part of the plans. The affordable housing will be available to residents earning between 30 to 60 percent of area median income. In June of this year, the California Strategic Growth Council (CSGC) unanimously approved a funding award of more than $18 million to the Republic Family of Companies and Core Companies to develop the affordable housing portion of the project. The grant also benefits BART and the City of Milbrae’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program through the auction of pollution permits.
“BART has been working in partnership with Republic Urban and The Core Companies to advance this development at Millbrae Station for many years, and is delighted to play a role in delivering this critically-needed affordable housing as part of our transit-oriented development program,” said BART’s TOD Program Manager Abby Thorne-Lyman. “This grant is a joint resource for housing and transportation, and brings benefits for the entire region by delivering gap funding needed to more easily run additional 10-car trains from Millbrae Station.”
The site is also slated for a 163-room hotel with 7,840 square feet of retail space. The entries of the office and apartment components will feed onto Garden Lane, a pedestrian-only paseo with boutiques, restaurants and outdoor dining.
In recent years, BART has been pushing for development around its train stations, although many such projects have often been bogged down by various delays and approvals issues. The Walnut Creek Transit Center, which finally broke ground in 2017, more than a decade after initial plans were proposed, will include 600 residential units and 15,000 square feet with retail. In the fall of 2018, EBALDC and Strada were selected nearly six years after BART had originally chosen TRG Pacific Development to redevelop the property surrounding the Lake Merritt BART Station in Oakland.
The West Oakland BART Transit Oriented Development Project, proposed by Strategic Urban Development Alliance (SUDA) and China Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd., made a leap forward at the beginning of this year when designs and a preliminary Environmental Impact Report (EIR) were issued and the City of Oakland Planning Commission voted 6-0 to move the project forward. The development has been in the works for nearly 16 years, with SUDA and China Harbour coming on board in December 2014.
“The process has seemed really slow, because the developers have been working with community members, almost brick by brick, to design a schema that implements everything that BART wants but also what community members deserve,” noted Lateefa Simon, District 7 BART Director, in a February interview with The Registry. According to Simon, the West Oakland BART project, as well as many others, have been largely delayed as city officials, public entities and private businesses hash out how to best proceed with redevelopment.
With so many BART TOD projects in the works, the groundbreaking of Gateway at Millbrae continues to usher in a new era of development around some of the region’s most important development hubs.