A fourth delay given for developer

Maybe the fourth time is the charm.

The Millbrae City Council on Tuesday again extended the deadline for a developer to acquire land for a $310 million project near the city’s BART/Caltrain station after the company said changing plans required more time.

“The project changed completely in the last 90 days,” said Chuck Fancher of the Irvine-based Fancher Partners. “We’re inches away from finishing this. I am certain we will get it done.”

The 5½-acre development, which would include new shops and a movie theater next to the transit hub, has been stalled because the developer has been unable to acquire the two-thirds of the businesses it needs to buy out in order to begin building on the 8 acres of land.

But the plan itself was recently changed to reflect investment needs. A recent version of the plan called for 231 condominiums and a

131-room hotel. The housing market has bottomed out while the office market has surged, so the city recently scrapped the residential aspects in favor of more retail and office space, Community Development Director Ralph Petty said.

Fancher Partners entered an agreement with the city in February 2006 but has been unable to satisfy the city’s land requirements.

The city had already given the group three 90-day deadline extensions to acquire enough land, each time delaying construction three months longer than the city had envisioned.

Fancher representatives would not discuss details of the negotiations Tuesday but said in October that they had 40 percent of the land acquired.

Millbrae officials see the more than 10-year-old plan called Site One as essential to creating new jobs, shopping destinations, and entertainment for residents and visitors.

The affected redevelopment area lies between El Camino Real to the west, an extended California Drive to the east, Millbrae Avenue to the south and an extended Victoria Avenue to the north. It includes restaurants such as Zack’s Bar & Grill and other larger businesses such as the Millbrae Lumber Co. and the Millbrae Serra Convalescent hospital.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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