By Jacob Bourne
The site of a former Hyatt Cinema at 1300 Old Bayshore Highway in Burlingame, just south of the San Francisco International Airport, has a proposal for a SFO Tech Center Development project, which could add 258,612 square feet of office, restaurant and retail space to the underutilized site that some residents describe as an “eyesore.” The property is owned by Fox Bayshore Investments, LLC that’s working with developer Aramax International and a design team led by Norberto Nardi at Nardi Associates, LLP. Landscape architect Silver Bar Studio and civil engineer Triad-Holmes Associates are also involved.[contextly_sidebar id=”jeRT9d0U6EQkUH2fzNLBWyYYboXuPVYh”]“They’re going through the CEQA process now and it’s still yet to be determined if an EIR will have to be done as the project is still in the very early stages,” explained Catherine Keylon, senior planner. “We’re still trying to put a project description together. The applicant has held a number of community meetings independent of the City. The project has been pretty well received so far.”
“We had a chance to have an incredible number of community meetings,” offered Nardi. “We met with a lot of people, we visited the neighbors. We tried to understand their reactions. We understand that it’s a project that implies a major impact for the area — hopefully a positive impact — it’s part of the challenge of the project.”
Preliminary plans illustrate a bold, contemporary two-building complex connected at the east and west facades as well as by a pedestrian bridge over adjacent Easton Creek. The eight-story southern building reaches 85 feet while the larger nine-story building has a 97 foot height. Though the buildings are mostly separate, visually, the development will appear as one large structure along the Bay shoreline.
Geared towards one large and several minor tech tenants, both buildings offer 238,162 square feet of office space with 11,840 square feet of ground floor restaurant and 8,610 square feet of ground floor retail uses. Both the restaurant and retail are expected to be available to the public. Extensive indoor and outdoor landscaping are envisioned to complement the nature of Easton Creek and will incorporate 21 outdoor conference areas screened by plant installations. Above the restaurant and retail level, the current plans call for 948 parking spaces to occupy the second through fourth floors, above which, will be office space.
“There are some discussions with possible tenants for the future but nothing solid,” said Orhan Tolu, property co-owner. “We haven’t signed any future leases yet, but there’s a huge interest from possible future tenants. There’s also a lot of interest on the retail side.”
A Planning Commission study session and environmental scoping meeting was held on September 12 where commissioners sought clarification about plan details and expressed concerns regarding traffic and impacts of sea level rise. All commissioners had visited the site for a presentation prior to the study session. According to Nardi, the project has the space and potential to address sea level rise, but stressed that any solution would have to be comprehensive involving all Bayfront properties in the vicinity. Several community members present spoke in support of the project.
Given the current proposal, in addition to review and approval of the design, the project requires a conditional use permit for the height above 65 feet, a conditional use permit for the width over 50-percent of the lot and another conditional use permit for the retail use. A parking variance has been requested by the applicant to change the geometry of the parking area to allow for tandem spaces, and the Planning Commission has provided feedback that more information is needed to justify the variance.