The Burlingame Safeway Site concept was developed as a response to a big-box proposal for the project. The big-box solution proposed to turn its back on the rest of the downtown, thus drawing all of its customers by cars without sharing those customers with the rest of the downtown businesses.
For the Safeway project to effectively fit into the existing fabric of Downtown Burlingame it must respect the patterns and architecture that already occur there.
The proposed concept for the Safeway site includes a mix of uses, building types and architectural character. The project includes independent retail shops, residential living opportunities and office spaces / suites available to small local businesses.
The project is intended to have active edges at all streets so that shops and business are visible form the street and so that the experience of using the street is comfortable. We do not want to create dead walls and blank facades that discourage use from pedestrians.
The concept includes the creation of as many as 24 shop spaces at street level with street frontage and traditional storefronts. Increase in retail space will give local businesses, which may be forced off the Avenue by increasing rents, the chance to remain in Burlingame.
The scale and character of the retail edge will be coded to insure that storefronts reflect the character of the other retail streets downtown.
The project is also proposed to include up to 80,000 sf of office and commercial space above the retail uses. We see this as a way to increase the supply of downtown office space at potentially more affordable rents in order to give local residents the ability to operate small businesses near where they live
The project concept includes the opportunity for a number of residential choices. We see the possibility for 40 – 70 residential units. The residential component of the project will be comprised of a mix of townhouses, residential flats, and live work-lofts.
A single use, big box retail store has the tendency to increase car trips into a community without offering any long term benefit to that community other than sales tax share. Big box grocery trips tend to draw cars into a neighborhood for a short period, yet those customers may not shop at any other locations or spend longer amounts of time in that neighborhood.
A mixed use project that offers a greater variety of choices for shopping alone will cause customers to linger and experience a greater sampling of what the downtown has to offer.
The most important component of mixed use however, is that it generates “permanent” customers. Housing and office space generate residents and workers who spend much more time in the neighborhood. This makes a neighborhood safer, more alive and entertaining, and better for local businesses that can customize their services to local needs.
Work performed as part of Dreiling Terrones Architecture, Inc.