San Mateo planners to study new 'gateway' project

With all the improvements and upgrades made to downtown San Mateo in recent years, city leaders have always lamented the fact that for those entering the area from El Camino Real, the sight that greets them is two abandoned lots, including what was once a Beacon gas station.

But on Tuesday, the San Mateo Planning Commission will begin to study a possible mixed-use development on the site at 221 S. El Camino Real, which planners say could become the city’s “gateway.”

“It is a very important property for the city of San Mateo, that and the property south combine to form a major entryway into the city’s downtown,” Associate Planner Julia Yeh said.

The 12,075-square-foot site — vacant for approximately 15 years — has long been considered one of the most important downtown development locations for the city, because it is such a visible space.

“When we get to the point where we knock that gas station down, I’ll be out there with my sledgehammer,” Councilman John Lee said. “That entrance is absolutely terrible and we need to fix it.”

The owner and developer, Third and El Camino Land Partners LP, has proposed a three-story project with 11,426 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 21,883 square feet of office space on the top two floors.

Yeh said the upper floors would be a “vanilla shell,” with just the exterior spaces developed, leaving the actual floor plan inside available for redesigning to fit future occupants.

There hasn’t been a project proposed on the property since the late 1990s.

“It’s not easy to develop the site,” Yeh said. “Because El Camino is a state route, there are additional levels of review in the process.”

Unlike many regular city developments, Caltrans must approve of the plans before they move forward.

Lee is hopeful that if this development gets off the ground, a sister project on the south side of Third Street won’t be far behind.

“Once this one gets moving, we need to get the one on the south corner going too,” Lee said. “These things can never happen fast enough.”

The Planning Commission study session will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, in City Council Chambers, 330 W. 20th Ave.

jgoldman@examiner.com


Would this plan be proper for the El Camino Real site?

Share your comments below.

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Man accused of killing 94-year-old Glen Park resident has troubled past

Neighbors had complained about ‘paranoid and aggressive behavior’

Newsom says rules for reopening California fitness centers coming ‘in a week or so’

By Phil Willon Los Angeles Times Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said… Continue reading

Fishermen, port struggling to recover from Pier 45 fire

Loss to fishing industry alone could be in the millions

Larry Kramer, ‘Normal Heart’ playwright and AIDS activist, dies at 84

By David Colker Los Angeles Times A frail man stood outside the… Continue reading

Most Read