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220 Park Road

(former Post Office)

BurlingamePostofficejpg

Current Status
The former Burlingame Main Post Office, located at 220 Park Road, was sold by the United States Postal Service (USPS) in 2014. The property is now privately held and an adaptive re-use project has been approved.  Entitlements for this project were approved in November of 2020, building permits have been submitted and are currently under review.  The construction of this project is anticipated to start in the beginning of  September. City Parking Lot E will close on Tuesday September 7, 2021, when the construction fencing will be installed. Parking Lot E will ultimately be developed into a Town Square.  See the Town Square project page for more information about the development of Parking Lot E, or contact the development team by emailing 220Park@dostart.com or by calling (650) 322-0779.  Please visit the  Downtown Construction Page for more information about the construction status for both of these projects.  

Project Description
The City of Burlingame has received an application for Environmental Review, Commercial Design Review, Historic Variance for Height (Title 21) and Parking, and Request for a Parking Easement (below grade under Lot E) for the redevelopment and restoration of portions of the existing Post Office building and construction of a New 6-story Office Project with Ground Floor Retail and two Levels of Underground Parking at 220 Park Road, including portions of the underground garage below City Parking Lot E. This project includes an application for consideration by the Historic Preservation Commission to include 220 Park Road on the City of Burlingame's local Historic Resource's Register as well as exterior modification to the historic resource (which would be approval of the changes proposed with this project). 

The project would include the restoration and reactivation of portions of the historic post office building, with the construction of 7,562 SF of new retail and/or restaurant uses on the ground floor and reuse of 4,840 SF of the existing Post Office building for a total of 12,402 SF of retail and/or restaurant space and 139,938 square feet of office on the floors above. The overall height would be approximately 98’-6” to the top of the roof screening and elevator penthouse. The project entitlement package includes a variance request for the proposed height, which is approximately 43’-6” taller than the maximum allowed height of 55’-0” set by the Downtown Specific Plan and Howard Mixed Use Zoning. Title 21, the Historic Preservation Ordinance, allows incentives to be made available for properties listed on the Register that undergo maintenance or alteration consistent with the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation. Code Section 21.04.120(a)(B) allows owners of historically designated properties to apply for variances from development standards applicable to the property in instances where the deviation from the standard is warranted in order to preserve the historic character of the property. The subject property at 220 Park Road consists of the former United States Post Office, which has been determined to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and has a historic covenant, and the application also include a request for inclusion on the City of Burlingame's local Historic Resources Register.

The entitlement application also includes a request for a variance under Title 21 to reduce the parking ratio for office use to 1 parking space per 500 square feet, where the existing zoning regulations require 1 parking space per 300 square feet of office. The project would provide a total of 280 on-site parking spaces located in two levels of below grade parking, where 467 spaces would be required under current parking requirements. The project proposes a shared parking agreement with the City of Burlingame whereby 275 of the 280 on-site parking spaces would be made available to the public in the evenings and on weekends, when the office uses on site are not in operation.

City Council Development Agreement Adoption (Final Action) - February 16, 2021
The City Council approved a Development Agreement between the applicant (220 Park -Burlingame LLC) and the City on February 16, 2021.  February 16, 2021 City Council Meeting at 7 p.m. - Agenda 

Staff Report
Ordinance
Development Agreement and Exhibits

CEQA - Notice of Determination (NOD) 


City Council Public Hearing (Development Agreement) - February 1, 2021

The Burlingame City Council held a virtual public hearing on the introduction and first reading of an Ordinance adopting a Development Agreement between the City of Burlingame and 220 Park - Burlingame LLC, related to the 220 Park Road (Historic Post Office Building) development project on Monday, February 1, 2021

Please find below the materials from the February 1, 2021 City Council review of the development agreement:


Planning Commission Action Hearing (Development Agreement) - January 11, 2021
The Planning Commission reviewed the terms of the development agreement for this project, including a request for a parking easement for encroachment onto City Parking Lot E (below grade) on Monday January 11, 2021 and recommended approval of the Development Agreement terms to City Council.

Please find below the materials from the January 11, 2021 Planning Commission's review of the development agreement:
The City Council will need to review an approve the development agreement for this project; this hearing has been set for Monday February 1, 2021. Please check back on this project page for updates or contact the project planner. 

Historic Preservation Commission Hearing  - November 23, 2020
On November 23, 2020 the Historic Preservation Commission (Planning Commission) approved an application to consider portions of Post Office Building at 220 Park Road for Inclusion in the Burlingame Historic Resources Register, and approved an application for exterior alterations to the building; in addition the proposed changes were determined to be consistent with the Secretary of Interior Standards for Historic Rehabilitation of a Historic Resource.

Planning Commission Action Hearing (Entitlements) - November 23, 2020
On November 23, 2020 the Planning Commission approved the entitlements for 220 Park Road, which included an application for Environmental Review, Commercial Design Review, Historic Variance for Height (Title 21) and Parking, and recommended approval to the City Council on a request for a Parking Easement (below grade under Lot E) for the redevelopment and restoration of portions of the existing Post Office building and construction of a New 6-story Office Project with Ground Floor Retail and two Levels of Underground Parking.

Planning Commission Staff Report 
Planning Commission Attachments - Part 1 
Planning Commission Attachments - Part 2
Project Plans

CEQA 15183 Environmental Checklist
- Appendix A - Air Quality
- Appendix B - Post Office Building Preservation Covenant
- Appendix C - Secretary of the Interior's Standards Analysis
- Appendix D - Transportation Impact Analysis
- Appendix E - Climate Action Plan Consistency Checklist
- MMRP (Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Plan) 


The above described project was approved by the Historic Preservation Commission and Planning Commission on November 23, 2020; the video of this meeting can be viewed here: November 23, 2020 Historic Preservation Commission and Planning Commission hearing

Special City Council Study Meeting - November 4, 2020
The City Council held a special meeting to discuss proposed development terms for the 220 Park Road project on November 4, 2020; the video can be viewed here: Nov 4, 2020 Council Special Study Meeting. The agenda, staff report and draft term sheet can be viewed here: November 4, 2020 City Council Study Session Agenda

Community Outreach Meeting - September 30, 2020 
On Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 PM, Sares Regis Group and Dostart Development hosted a Community Open House via Zoom to provide an overview and answer questions about their proposed adaptive reuse/redevelopment of the former US Post Office property at 220 Park Rd. The session provided a brief site history and project overview, and attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions.

Planning Commission Design Review Study Meeting - July 13, 2020 
A Design Review Study meeting  with the Planning Commission was held on Monday, July 13, 2020 via Zoom. The commission provided direction to the applicant, but since this was a study item no decision was made.
Presentation Slides
Staff Report - 220 Park Road - 7.13.20
Attachments - Part 1
Attachments - Part 2
Project plans - 220 Park Road 
Meeting Video (item starts at 2:06)

Joint City Council/Planning Commission Meeting - Saturday, May 2, 2020
The Annual Joint City Council/Planning Commission meeting included an update from the applicant proposing an adaptive re-use development project involving the former post office. 
Meeting Materials:

City Council Informational Item - Monday, March 2, 2020 
The City Council received an update from the applicant proposing an adaptive re-use development project involving the former post office, and provided direction on some of the issues involved in the development.

FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What is allowed on the site? The property is within the Howard Mixed Use (HMU) zoning district of the Downtown Specific Plan. The HMU zone allows a range of uses including retail, restaurants and services on the ground floor, and housing, offices and hotels on upper floors.

What is the historic status of the building? The Historic Resources Inventory prepared for the Downtown Specific Plan identified the building as being potentially eligible for listing on a state or national register. In anticipation of the disposition of the post office, the USPS commissioned a historic resource evaluation to identify potentially historic or character-defining elements of the property. Those elements include the lobby (both interior and exterior), the primary building facade facing Park Road, and the exterior artwork including the bronze relief over the entrance doors. As a condition of the sale, USPS placed a preservation covenant on the property to ensure preservation of those character defining elements of the property. The City of Burlingame has consented to serve as responsible agency for monitoring and enforcement of the preservation covenant. 

Can the building be torn down? As a historic resource with a preservation covenant, the significant portions of the building cannot be torn down. The entire lobby structure of the building (both interior and exterior) must remain, as must the primary building facade facing Park Road, and the exterior artwork including the bronze relief over the entrance doors. Any adaptive re-use of the building must retain and incorporate these elements.

Is there any truth to the suggestion that there are plans to tear down the building, but leave one wall standing for tax purposes? No. As described above, the significant portions of the building are protected by a preservation covenant and cannot be torn down. Furthermore, the perception that leaving one wall standing for tax purposes is a misperception sometimes attributed to development in general, but has no factual basis in San Mateo County. 

Will there be a town square, or some type of community open space? Concurrent with the proposal for the post office property, the City will pursuing the development of a town square/community open space on the adjacent city-owned parking lot. A "signature open space" was a key element of the Downtown Specific Plan, envisioned to be in the heart of Downtown in the vicinity of the former post office. Previous proposals had combined the city parking lot and the post office property into a single development site to be developed jointly; the direction going forward will be to coordinate the two efforts so they are complementary, but they will not be combined together into a single development project. The City has identified a highly-reputable design team to assist in the creation of a design for the town square. 

Will the community be able to provide input on the proposed project? Yes, the proposed development is subject to Planning Commission review, including public hearings. Review will also include study of potential environmental impacts, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The design of the town square will include a separate series of community meetings intended to determine the design and programming of the open space. The City remains committed to representing the community's interests to ensure that any development of the site reflects the vision for Downtown Burlingame that was expressed in the adopted Burlingame Downtown Specific Plan.

Why is the building currently surrounded by fences? Since the building was vacated, the owner has reported incidents of trespassing and dumping, and has expressed concerns with potential vandalism. The fencing is intended to secure the property and protect the building until it is occupied.

Could the building be used for a temporary use while a development application is under review? The City will consider any use allowed under the Howard Mixed Use (HMU) zoning district and Preservation incentives (C.S. 21.04.120), subject to it meeting applicable Building and Fire requirements for the respective use.

Contacts: 

P
roject Planner                                                        Project Applicant                          
Catherine Keylon, Senior Planner                      Sares | Regis    -  Andrew Turco, Assistant Vice President
650-558-7250                                                            (650) 377-5808 
ckeylon@burlingame.org                                      ATurco@srgnc.com