Chain of chains hits Millbrae 

Chipotle Mexican Grill opens in Millbrae today, beginning a chain reaction of big stores such as Subway and 24 Hour Fitness that will be soon opening in the city.

24 Hour Fitness opens Dec. 14 at 979 Broadway, the former headquarters of the BART San Francisco Airport expansion project.

The 55,000-square-foot downtown location has been completely renovated during the last year and features two floors of office buildings and other chain stores.

Subway, RedBrick Pizza and a Verizon store should open at 979 Broadway within the first few months of 2008, said Susan Cronk, vice president of development for Simeon Commercial Properties in San Francisco, which renovated the property after BART vacated.

A Trans Pacific National Bank branch opened in the property earlier this month, Cronk said.

A Perfect Day Spas location will also open there in January.

The entire renovation to the Broadway building cost $6.5 million, said Pam Hamilton, spokeswoman for the project. The construction also included new facade, windows and other enhancements, Hamilton said. Parking was also increased from 90 to 150 spaces, Cronk said.

Chipotle, at 135 S. El Camino Real, starts serving up burritos and tacos today after holding a fundraising competition between Mills and Capuchino high schools to see which school could bring in more customers Thursday night.

All the proceeds from the "soft" opening, which typically raises about $800, will be donated to the schools’ athletic departments, spokeswoman Jamie Rosvall said. The winning school gets a free burrito day.

The Walgreens and HSBC bank just opened in the same area as Chipotle in what is called the Friendship Plaza. The plaza also hosts the recently renovated Lucky grocery store, said John Ford, President/CEO of the Millbrae Chamber of Commerce. There are still two open spaces there that can be used for retail or services, Ford said.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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