San Bruno aims to dress up lot

As officials work on securing development for the long-empty downtown Wells Fargo site, the city is sprucing up the parcel to make it more aesthetically appealing in the meantime.

The city plans on beautifying the 7,500-square-foot parcel at 470 San Mateo Ave. at Jenevein Avenue with the addition of benches, temporary foliage and a fountain. The city bought the site more than a decade ago, hoping to turn it into an anchor for downtown, according to City Manager Connie Jackson.

A Wells Fargo building that used to sit on the property was torn down approximately seven years ago, but the site has remained empty ever since.

“It’s something to makeit more attractive to people walking by in downtown,” Public Works Director Jane Chambers said. “We’ve endeavored to keep it as clean and maintained as we can, but we still think this will be more appealing than just an empty lot.”

Chambers estimated the improvements, which would be funded with money from the city’s capital improvements budget, would cost no more than $20,000.

The site, which has had trouble for years in securing a project, suffered a setback last summer after a two-year agreement between the city and San Mateo-based CHS Development Group, which had plans to turn the site into a mixed-use building with condominiums and retail space, lapsed.

The former Wells Fargo parcel, along with a nearby parking lot that was to become part of the new development, is valued at $2.75 million — and growing.

Much of the environmental assessments and parking analyses for the site have been completed, and officials, including Councilman Jim Ruane, were confident the process didn’t have to start over completely.

Officials also said new development could spur more development down the line; the nearby El Camino Theater building is being called the first such project.

The city has recently secured a developer, who plans on turning the building into condominiums with ground-floor retail, for the now nearly vacant office site.

tramroop@examiner.com


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