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March 04, 2015


Bruce Dickinson

Speechless! is what Bruce Dickinson is after reading about that brouhaha that is surrounding the wetlands. Talking about wet lands, the other thing that is wet is the area behind the ears of every clown in the circus of city staff and council members. We cannot be considering a park that is a “seasonal wetland” for a bay that is rising!?! 7 million dollars? Who comes up with these ideas??? This could be of “value" to Burlingame? Are we building Burlingame Pier 39? multi-family housing on stilts, a waterpark, or do Brownrigg and Ortiz own a local canoe manufacturer? The only “hybrid approach” that makes sense in dealing with the wetlands “seasonal park" is an amphibious hovercraft, or is that part of the budget too? Talk about a puzzle where the pieces don’t even fit…wait, can that even be called a puzzle???

Peter Garrison

The wetlands are seasonal becuase there is a "rainy season."

Migratory ducks still land at Woodlake's ponds on Peninsula Avenue.

My old church on Burlingame Avenue used to be a stone's
throw from the bay waters. For years a couple of ducks would land in the middle of the street under the eucalyptus trees and stay there, puzzled and dry, for a few days before returning to the skies.

Old migratory havits are hard to break.
Don't mess with the seasonal puddles.

JVs: the good, the bad and the ugly.

So, I was tracking this land parcel for the last 4 years as a part of my real estate acquisition work for an independent school.

The State of California charges 6-8% of the gross revenue from hotels to lease the land to them. And, hotels benefit Burlingame massively. So, perhaps it should just get bidded out to hotels.

During the recession, hotels were the worst hit asset class. So, over the last several years one would think that there weren't any hotels that would be interested. However, from the tone of my State contact, someone higher up had clearly established that this land was going to go to the City of Burlingame.

Was it Jackie "We know you're not a Democrat, but that's OK...we need targets" Speier or Jerry "You should go after that guy...I mean really go after that guy" Hill or even Leland "Rocket Launcher" Yee - not sure.

Above the King Tides, it's a legitimate Park site.

My suggestion to one of my school clients was to JV with the City of Burlingame to get that $8M, and have the Park athletic fields swing in use between open to the Public and the independent school use.

Of course, the $ amount for the Park construction would be lower with less land used for that purpose, but it could get the job done, more quickly and perhaps offer other "swing" building facilities as well.

And, I would encourage citizens and city staff and councils to appreciate the value of great independent schools in a community. They still educate kids from the community, even if its not part of the "free stuff" that some people think the government should forcibly take from some citizens and redistribute to other residents.

Depending on how the ever changing Rubik's Cube of school funding works in a given year, independent schools can actually help public schools via off-loading marginal cost of serving a student that went to the independent school, without losing funding via average daily attendance funding (this was how basic aid funding worked, but now we're so-called local control formula). Flow chart please.

Ultimately, my client choose the original concept that they got from me (albeit from another broker who snagged my concept from a co-brokered pitch to another school that I had invited him into) - The Ralston / Davis campus above Water Dog Park in Belmont. Last I heard, this was still in the CUP process after having been turned down by the city.

But yeah, when is the rhetoric about potential sea level rise going to jive with new public funds being used to build on land that will be underwater according to some environmental agencies?

Voters like Parks from politicians. Voters like safety and lowered crime from politicians.

Unfortunately, Leland Yee was assigned to personal gun ownership control / banning until he got caught brokering military weapon deals for his buddies at Shrimp Boy & Co. So, I guess that was the epitome of hypocrisy and corruption, right?

Now, if we could just eliminate all of those contributions from [two words removed by author] to political campaigns in Burlingame - I bet we'd get politicians and police that were ACTUALLY looking out for the best interest of our citizens. Hmm, guess which campaigns got the funny money?

Is it a good thing or a bad thing for Burlingame politicians and policemen to hang out with Leland Yee types?

Vote accordingly.


And here is the rest of the story from today's DJ:

A major overhaul of the Bayfront in Burlingame will be coming online, as a sale of the former drive-in site on Airport Boulevard has been finalized, according to city officials.

H&Q Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of Hambrecht & Quist investment bank, purchased the site at 300 Airport Blvd., just north of Coyote Point, from San Francisco-based Millennium Partners, to develop upscale office space.

The Burlingame City Council has already approved the construction of four buildings, featuring 767,000 square feet of office and retail space, a restaurant, recreational facilities, food services and a multi-level parking structure on the 18.13-acre site, under a 2012 decision.

Officials praised the closure of the long-rumored sale to the private equity firm, as it is expected to revitalize the property that has sat vacant since the Burlingame Drive-In was demolished nearly a decade ago.


We will have to see if 3,000 new jobs is a good thing or not.

pat giorni

Just a "fun fact" that may have been "lost"...
When the millennium project was before PC, the Windsurfers (my heroes)threatened to hold up approval. At the VERY LAST MINUTE a deal was struck between developers and windsurfers to install windsurfing "infrastructure" (pier, parking, etc)on the property (Fisherman's Park) that is on the East property line of the State Bay property.

I thank Mr.BD for his watersports' park jibe that refreshed my memory on this; and would as well as point out that we have an entire pebbly beach front for aquatic enjoyment that is already developed and maintained by the County, just a spit away...Coyote Point.

$7M, indeed!

Bruce Dickinson

Joe, I think Bruce Dickinson will start nicknaming you "In the Know Joe", as you seem to be plugged into all the articles and news that deal with Burlingame. I guess those who have been "tracking" the property for four years either needed new eyeglasses or were following the wrong trail of crumbs (maybe the seagulls ate the crumbs?) as they seemed to have missed a 4 and an 8 followed by six zeroes, namely a $48 million dollar transaction price that seems to have gone under the so called real estate "experts" noses. That's what Bruce Dickinson loves about this dynamite site! Up to the minute, timely information provided by those in the know, who can both see and smell what's important to folks in Burlingame.

Speaking of what a nose knows or does not know, is that city council seems to have an inability to sniff out a potential way to unload wetland "park" development costs to the current or former buyer of this property. Why is council and city even debating $7 million dollars in development costs to Burlingame for this so-called park. It's called "hey, buyer, we'd like a seasonal, summer park with a winter canoe dock, so you want an approval, you make it work for everyone." Why is there even a debate about costs to Burlingame about this? Couldn't this have been foreseen in 2011? Surely in 2011, when we were having a lot more rain than today, you would think those "wetlands" may have been a little more apparent. Does a ball have to hit you in the nose before you can react?

Fellas, it's time for a new eyeglass prescription for those in charge in Burlingame, the myopia is so bad, that it cannot even see the big fat E at the top of the eye-chart!


You are an astute viewer of B'game affairs, Sir Bruce, but the 301 Airport property has an elongated history that only a few of us have a handle on. It was a different time, place, Planning Commission, City Council and city attorney when the stuff hit the fan over that piece of land. Let me dig into the archives (paper, I mean) to see if we can't provide a Voice1.0 view of the issue. The list of players is long and the list of the guilty is not short.

Google map it, Bruce.

Bruce, I've worked in commercial real estate for 10 years, and I've successfully closed over $70M in lease, purchase and development transactions. So, yes, I consider myself a real estate expert.

I was discussing the 8 acre state land that the city wants to develop into a park at 450 Airport, which was the original focus of this story.

Joe subsequently posted an update regarding 300 Airport, the drive in site.

So dispense with the condescension to everyone.

I also reported months ago how the Millenium development wasn't going to happen as I'm friends with their lead broker.

Pat, as a windsurfer, kitesurfer, yacht racer, I agree. I hope that the new developer remembers the windsurfing launch points. I really like the co-op model that Cal Sailing Club has in Berkeley. $30 per month unlimited use of windsurfing equipment, Pearson 27s, Bic dinghies. Free lessons to members. Periodic free rides to the public. Small recreational orgs are where co-op models can work well.

The Cal Sailing Club is interested to help me open a similar club on the peninsula side. I could easily raise the money for buildings and equipment to put on top of the right land site. It needs some shelter like on the right side of that other state land parcel to the right of 300 Airport.

Cathy Baylock

Here is the first article on the drive-in movie project from the printed version of the Burlingame Voice dating back to 1999: http://burlingamevoice.typepad.com/the_burlingame_voice/volume1number1.html

You can find all the original print versions of the "Voice" in the right side-bar with the hyperlink: "print archives" in teeny, tiny font size.

let the market and private property owner decide

Major office tenants want to be by the Caltrain, not by the Bay.

One of the most successful examples of this is the Kilroy/ Hunter-Storm development at the Caltrain station in downtown Redwood City. Not even done on construction and 100% leased up.

The Millennium / CBRE team couldn't get an anchor tenant at 300 Airport. It was supposed to be a biotech development, and when I spoke with the head of real estate from Genentech on a CORENET bay cruise last year, she had never heard about it.

Personally, I believe that a condo -hotel / yacht club / health club would work better there. You own your condo unit, but you can rent it out like Air BNB when you're not in town, etc. I have a major investor group from China who is looking for opportunities for this model.

I know that the city has specifically prohibited residential development on the Bay for a while. Cost of service delivery, focus on hotel TOT, lack of connection of residential to shopping.

Too bad cities can't entitle two or three options and let the market and private property owner decide.

Ultimately, the money comes from the market of individual and corporate investors and end-users.

J. Mir

I too have noticed the abundance of empty office space for lease along Bayshore. (I have occasionally leased in the area for short periods) Can't ever remember it being fully leased anywhere in any of those buildings. It's not a popular or "fun" place to work. Feels very industrial and disconnected. Tech doesn't want to have anything to do with the area. No access to trains, no shuttles, and Samtrans... well forget it. OTOH I can picture residential housing in the area being quite successful; housing is obviously in high demand and there are ALWAYS people using the bay trail in this area (!) A bay spot to input for Burlingame & Millbrae kitesurfers and jetskiers would be nice. Upscale health club, i don't know, Primetime has that pretty well locked up. But seriously, who doesn't want to live and play on the water? Oh wait, those people don't pay city taxes or have business licenses huh.

buyers from Asian who "just want to get their money out of China"

Mr. Mir,

Apartment building owners, their rents, condo buyers, all pay real estate taxes whether directly or indirectly. This is a big myth from people that don't understand real estate.

3rd Ave is the current big spot for kite/wind surfers and then Crissy, etc.

If CBRE and Millennium can't get an Office deal done, it will be interesting to see whether anyone else can. I've certainly taken over CBRE listings successfully, however, we have a lot of buyers from Asian who "just want to get their money out of China", as they've told me. Yep.

pat giorni

Housing on the Bay front...over my dead body. You don't understand the am't of wind out there after 2:00pm...almost gale force which makes this a primo wind surfing spot...only 1 of 3 on this side of the Bay. And lest we forget, it was the Coyote Point windsurfers who held up development for years and years by setting precedent with wind velocity and vector studies that continue to be benchmark in this city.

To build housing on the Bay front means we will have an East Burlingame and a West Burlingame divided by the US101 barrier. Along with residence comes added police, fire, and utilities infrastructure along with schools. The costs will far outweigh any revenue generation.

40 years ago thoughtful city planners and Council designated the Bay front as office and hotels and light industry, making this our 2nd golden egg with the TOT collected from out-of-towners who pay for our current amenities. 1st golden egg is the car business sales tax.

So take the long view and don't mess with the guaranteed revenue stream that in the long run saves residents money by using OPM.

Feinstein's world...


I've windsurfed in actual gale force winds. Someone must have co-oped those guys to speak for their own interest.

It's long vacant dirt that isn't happening as an office development even with Diane Feinstein's husband's company putting their best efforts into it (CBRE). Funny how they get most of the state and local government contracts...

That's the California way, I guess.

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