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February 19, 2010



I'm guessing that this is only going to get worse. Commercial real estate is on the verge of implosion.


I tend to agree, Wayne. I am afraid that soon we'll think that 9 or 12 vacancies downtown isn't all that bad....I hope I'm wrong.


The side streets look just as bad.
BlockBuster gone,that large appliance store on Howard gone, The old Shen Auto dearlership gone, the big night club on California gone, Maloofs,and who knows how much longer the always empty "Burger Joint" can stay open. Once the new Safeway starts to removed and replaced, the effect it will have on the business' on Primrose, and surrounding area may hamper other business in the downtown as well.
It is not a good time to be a lease/business owner in Downtown Burlingame.
I wonder what the Chamber of Commerce, and the new employee for the City of Burlingame-business counsultant is doing to help out?

Ron Fulderon

Off topic: As someone commuting out of Burlingame heading north to San Francisco weekdays I want to report that the Broadway entrance is majorly screwed up these days. It has been bad for a while and is getting worse based on the miserable caltrans work being done in the vicinity of the overpass. The city should get someone out there to figure out the traffic flow problem and get cars moving. It might take getting a traffic cop to work that area from 7:30am-9am or something.

I'd would be nice to see the city show some competence in addressing this. As it is right now it is obvious to everyone stuck in this huge traffic snarl up, that Burlingame city management is dropping the ball.


The SF Examiner has this in today's paper

In the 1300 block of Burlingame Avenue, the shadows of letters that once protruded to advertise high-end retailer Bebe can still be read on the stucco building.

It has been months since a tenant has occupied the 3,500-square-foot site and empty storefronts such as this one are increasing in downtown Burlingame.

Patricia Love, Burlingame’s economic development specialist, said the vacant stores are a result of the poor economy.

“Downtown Burlingame is expensive,” she said. “Lending is tight and it’s hard to start new ventures.”

Across the street from the former clothing store, glass panels reveal abandoned wooden floors and walls with a sign hung high in the window advertising space available for rent.

Earle Peterson is the manager of Books Inc. on Burlingame Avenue and his store sits next to an empty retailer and across the street from the former Bebe site.

He said he is concerned that the increased number of vacant storefronts could deter customers.

“Too many get to be a concern,” Peterson said. “People get in the mood [when] the whole section is vacant.”

Peterson said the bookstore is keeping its head above water, but neighboring tenants would help foot traffic on the west end of the avenue.

A total of four empty stores can be found on the 1300 block of the commercial stretch, another eight appear elsewhere on the four-block stretch. Some are covered with paper, others advertise leasing agents and some announce a permanent closure and point customers to nearby stores in San Mateo or Palo Alto.

Norman Goldau, consultant for real estate agent Switzer, Goldau and Associates, said interest to lease is there and real estate brokers are willing to negotiate.

Prices to lease in Burlingame are $5 a square foot, but at 3,500 square feet, it is an estimated $18,000 a month, Goldau said.

“Then you have workers’ comp, salaries and insurance,” he said. “You need to be a viable player, not just some entrepreneur that wants to open.”

Some spaces are lucky to find new tenants. For instance, the former Peet’s Coffee at 1241 Burlingame Ave. is being renovated by Teacake Bake Shop and is scheduled to open next month.

The former Talbots, a women’s clothing retailer, was recently renovated and opened as a Beverages and More discount liquor store.

Katheryn Moler said as a shopper, she has noticed the empty spaces in Burlingame as well as all over the Peninsula.

“It would be nice to have more stores,” she said. “But even on stretches of [U.S. Highway] 101 there are empty commercial property right along the freeway.”

Mr. Slate

How do we measure up to Millbrae and San Mateo? I don't remember seeing large amounts of vacant spaces in thier commercial areas.


The merchants are looking for input according to the city's email--

A group of downtown businesses is working on a plan to help make downtown Burlingame and its businesses more successful. They would like your input and involvement. Here are some ways to both have your opinions heard and get involved:

Click here to take this short survey concerning key priorities and other issues facing downtown businesses: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FQ5JWNZ

Send an email message to Dale Farrell of Paper Caper ([email protected]) or Frankie Meyer of Meyer-Bunje ([email protected]) and ask to be placed on the group’s email list. They send out weekly updates on their progress and requests for input.

Participate in the group’s Tuesday evening meetings. All downtown Burlingame businesses are encouraged to attend. The meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. at the Woman’s Club (241 Park Road).


Did anyone see the front page of the Examiner today?


Walgreems must be getting close to moving because the inventory in the old store is getting a little low. They must not want to move very much stuff.

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