Ingredients settling into place for a new Safeway 

Seven years and a seemingly endless stream of frustrated residents later, Burlingame leaders think they finally have the right plan for their new Safeway.

First introduced in 2001 to triple the size of the 24,000-square-foot store located at 1450 Howard Ave. and add nearby shops, the plan on how the store and its surrounding area could be completed perfectly has been disagreed upon by city officials.

After years of deadlocked discussions, the City Council created a special commission made up  of seven stakeholder groups designed to work on the store, which sits on the El Camino Real entryway from San Mateo.

The sticking point has been deciding between three options for the 150,000-square-foot site: expand the store, develop it and add retail, or enlarge the facility and adjoin homes and shops, group co-facilitator Candace Hathaway said.

After spending more than 1,000 hours since April 2007, the Safeway Working Group will present its recommendations to the City Council and Planning Commission on Tuesday.

The group will recommend expanding the store to roughly double its existing size and adding shops on nearby Primrose Road, with the storefront angled toward Howard Avenue.

The group will also recommend installing a public plaza at the corner of Howard and Primrose, and keeping the store’s main entrance on Howard and away from the busy El Camino Real.

The group, which includes representatives from Safeway, City Hall, local businesses and community groups, came to a consensus on all those decisions, said Hathaway, who serves along with co-facilitator and City Manager Jim Nantell as the only representatives for the committee.

Still, officials are expecting another heated meeting Tuesday.

“We do get a lot of feedback from people — why don’t we have a new Safeway?” Councilmember Terry Nagel said. She ran for her seat in 2003 partly on a platform to bring in a new Safeway. “Hopefully the process will work and we’ll get this project under way.”
Once the recommendations are approved, Safeway should submit a formal application for review.

mrosenberg@sfexaminer.com

By the numbers

24,000: Square feet of current store
40,000-55,000: Possible square feet of new store
150,000: Square feet of total site
2-3: Possible levels of offices and parking above nearby retail
7: Stakeholders in Safeway Working Group
2001: Safeway proposal introduced
2003: City Council denied first Safeway proposal

Source: City of Burlingame

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