San Carlos mixed-use plan is charging full steam ahead

A first-of-its-kind housing and retail proposal by the San Mateo County Transit District could serve as a model for mixed-use projects in Millbrae, Colma and other cities. SamTrans and its developer, Legacy Partners, aim to build 280 units of rental housing and 34,600 square feet of commercial space on seven acres of SamTrans-owned land just south of the train station in San Carlos, said Legacy project manager Jesse Couch.

San Carlos’ Economic Development Advisory Committee gets its first look at the plan today, said Mark Sawicky, economic development director for San Carlos. The meeting will be followed by a Chamber of Commerce hearing on Jan. 16 and a communitywide forum Jan. 23.

If approved, SamTrans’ project could serve as a kind of “model home” to show to other cities, said Ian McAvoy, chief development director with SamTrans.

“We’re on this path of bringing transportation and housing together, and one of our goals is to demonstrate [this project] to other cities to show them that they would want one, also,” McAvoy said.

SamTrans is also working with the city of Millbrae to assemble a mixed-use project called Site One next to the BART and Caltrain station. The project would include 231 condominiums, 145,000 square feet of commercial space, a 131-room hotel and a movie theater.

SamTrans also owns a park-and-ride lot in Colma that could be redeveloped, but the transit agency is hoping its San Carlos project will inspire cities to redevelop other properties near train stations, McAvoy said.

San Carlos’ economic commission will pay special attention to the retail plans during today’s meeting, Sawicki said.

“This seems like the right amount of retail [for the site],” he said.

Ground-floor shops could include a restaurant, a newsstand, a convenience store and a coffee shop, Sawicki said.

Once Legacy finishes gathering input this month, the company aims to resubmit its development plans to the city by the summer, Couch said. If it’s approved by the city’s planning commission and city council, construction would take 24 to 30 months.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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