SummerHill Spearheads New Era of Development in North Burlingame with Proposed 265-Unit Apartment Complex

Burlingame, San Ramon, SummerHill, Caltrain, BART, San Francisco, Sidel Architects, Sprint Communications, Public Storage, Goodwill, Flying Food, Milbrae Transit Center
Rendering Courtesy of SummerHill Apartment Communities

By Meghan Hall

In January, the City of Burlingame adopted a new General Plan which seeks to promote a creative mix of residential buildings and workspaces north of the Rollins Road Corridor, currently a more industrial — and underutilized — neighborhood in Burlingame. Now, the first project has been proposed under the new zoning rules by San Ramon, Calif.-based SummerHill Apartment Communities: a 265-unit mixed-use development at 1 and 45 Adrian Court. The plans were submitted at the beginning of May and are currently working their way through the entitlement and environmental review processes.

“We have been working in Burlingame for several years now, and Burlingame in general is a great city,” explained Elaine Breeze, vice president of development for SummerHill. “It has access to Caltrain and BART and jobs, and it has some great walking districts.”

14.3 percent — or 38 units — would be designated for low income households, and the development will include a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats, as well as one- and two-bedroom lofts. The studios and one-bedroom flats will range from 632 square feet to 861 square feet in size, while the two-bedroom flats will come in between 977 and 1,216 square feet. The one and two bedroom lofts, of which there are just seven in the development, will be between 852 and 1,470 square feet.

The project also includes 3,730 square feet of commercial or office space on the ground floor and a publicly accessible park. An at-grade parking garage, containing two levels of parking, would include 315 parking spaces. The two-building complex will also feature a variety of Class A amenities for residents, including a bocce ball court, an off-leash dog park, flat tur play areas, a BBQ and seating areas. A new 3,700 square foot public plaza will be located mid-block on Adrian Court and will feature a fountain, Corten steel focal wall, benches and landscaping. Roof terraces will provide additional outdoor space, as well as outdoor cooking and dining areas that connect to the third level swimming pool and clubroom.

In an effort to keep with the current character of the neighborhood, the buildings will be designed using a variety of materials that are both modern and industrial in character, said Breeze. Composite wood siding, an enhanced tile base, plaster and metal panels were chosen by SummerHill and San Francisco-based Sidel Architects and will work to elevate the existing neighborhood character and blend with the surrounding commercial and industrial developments.

“The new zoning calls for a contemporary, industrial look,” said Breeze. “We wanted to be complimentary to the existing context. Looking forward we see this as a really exciting transition building because it is mixed-use, but it has a really industrial and commercial feel along the front and then it transitions into a more residential and pedestrian quality as it heads down Adrian Court.”

The 2.83-acre project site was created by merging two parcels; 1 Adrian Court is currently occupied by Sprint Communications and the building currently part of the 45 Adrian Court site is vacant. Surrounding uses include a Public Storage and Goodwill to the south, Flying Foods to the West as well as multi-tenant commercial buildings to the north. U.S. Highway 101 also sits to the east. However, at just a half-mile from the Milbrae Transit Center, a major transportation hub served by Caltrain, BART, SamTrans and last mile shuttles, the project site is easily accessible and ideal for future transit-oriented development.

According to Breeze, SummerHill was closely following progress on the Burlingame General Plan, and once the new zoning for the area was approved, the firm was ready to submit plans to pursue development at the site. Other factors, such as the site’s proximity to major employers, made the property an attractive redevelopment opportunity.

“We were following that process, which is what attracted us to the site,” said Breeze. “However, we were already really excited to be working in Burlingame.”

The project underwent a Planning Commission Design Review Study Meeting on May 13th; as a study meeting, there was no action taken on the application. However, the next step in the entitlement process is the creation and review of the project’s CEQA documents, which are expected to be published later this year.

A part of SummerHill Housing Group and together with SummerHill Homes, SummerHill Apartment Communities has been working to create both rental and for-sale housing around the Bay Area since 1976. The Adrian Court project is not SummerHill’s first foray into Burlingame; currently, the developer is working to develop the Anson project on Carolan Ave., which includes 268 apartments and 22 townhomes. The Adrian Court project will add to SummerHill’s portfolio in the city and as one of the first projects working its way through the entitlement process after the General Plan rezoning, and will set a precedent for the Rollins Road Corridor as additional mixed-use and multifamily projects are proposed for the area.

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