Centennial Transit Village at 180 El Camino Real before City Council again

South San Francisco, CA           February 25, 2014

UPDATE: The plans have been approved by City Council and the development will be moving forward. The Safeway will be closing for good on Saturday July 12th to make room for the new Safeway and development. – ed

Residents say this project is too large for the area

Residents say this project is too large for the area

On the city council agenda again tomorrow evening, February 26th, is the large proposed development slated for 180 El Camino, in the center which currently houses Safeway, CVS, Ballys, and Bedroom Express. Firestone closed their doors earlier this year when the landlord would not renew the lease at the last minute according to the Firestone Manager in Millbrae.

Locals believe the 14.5 acre site is in need of renovation yet agree the projected development is way too large for the community to absorb with traffic, noise and congestion. The fact that a new grocery store is long over due in this city is an understatement and most believe

This proposed project would sit on the 14.5 acres replacing Safeway, CVS, Ballys....

This proposed project would sit on the 14.5 acres replacing Safeway, CVS, Ballys….

there are other avenues to explore to have this need met without this massive project.  More photos of this proposed project can be found on ESC HERE as well as on the city website HERE

This project has come before our Planning Commission and was approved and put before our City Council who voted it down in the submission they received back in October 2013. They asked the developer to go back to the drawing board to reset some important issues which to date have not been revised.

City staff have made this recommendation for City Council for tomorrow’s public hearing of this project:


It is recommended that the City Council take one of the following actions:

1.      Adopt a resolution making findings and adopting a Mitigated Negative Declaration; adopt a resolution approving a use permit, design review and transportation demand management plan; and waive reading and introduce an Ordinance approving a Development Agreement; or,

2.      Adopt a resolution making findings and denying the Project.


The City Council has previously held public hearings on the application for the Centennial Village Project at 180 El Camino Real (“Project”) at their regularly scheduled meetings of September 11, 2013, September 25, 2013 and October 23, 2013. As background, the proposed Project consists of the demolition of the existing 145,000 square foot shopping center and replacing it with a mixed- use shopping center containing 220,000 square feet of commercial area, including 284 residential units on upper levels. The development would be constructed in up to three phases; following is a breakdown of each specific phase:

Phase 1

Construction of ground level retail for Major Tenants 1 (Safeway): 2 (to be determined), the health club, and both levels of Buildings A, B, C and D and Major Tenant 3 (CVS).

Construction of all surface parking and landscaping improvements.

Construction          of      184    parking        stalls       above       Safeway        and     Major       Tenant        2.

 Phase 2

Construction of all structured parking and Building E (including basement level parking). Construction of parking level above Building E and Health Club building.

Construction of a minimum of 141 residential units above the Health Club and Building E..


Phase 3

Construction of the remaining residential units (up to a total 284 units) above Safeway and Major Tenant 2.


Originally, at the September 11, 2013 City Council meeting, staff provided the City Council with documents in support of the Project based on the Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the Project. However, at these public hearings, Council noted various concerns including the lack of assurances regarding the construction of residential units and the term of the Development  Agreement.


Thereafter, at the October 23, 2013 meeting the City Council closed the public hearing and continued the matter to November 13, 2013, directing staff to prepare findings for denial. Subsequently, the applicant requested that the meeting of November 13, 2013 be continued off­ calendar in order to allow for further discussions regarding the inclusion of residential in the first phase of development and other issues. The Applicant has not formally presented the City Council with any modifications to the Project since the October 23, 2013 meeting. A subsequent public hearing was scheduled for the regular meeting of February 12, 2014 and was continued again to February 26, 2014.


Should the City Council support the Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the Project, findings of approval, including Zoning Ordinance and General Plan consistency are set forth in the attached Draft CEQA Resolution (Attachment la), Draft Entitlements  Resolution (Attachment lb) and Draft Ordinance adopting a Development Agreement (Attachment le).

Alternatively, should the City Council find that the proposed Project is inconsistent with the Zoning Ordinance and General Plan, a Resolution of Denial making findings and denying the Project is attached (Attachment 2a).


The City Council meeting begins at 7pm and is held at the Municipal Service Building (MSB) 33 Arroyo Drive off of El Camino Real. The meetings are open to the public and are live streamed on the city website HERE, and also on the community TV Channels Astound  CH 26 and Comcast CH 27. If you would like to speak at the meeting upon entering the Council Chambers behind the glass doors you will find speaker cards on the tables inside the doorway.  Complete the speaker card with your name and item you’d like to address and return the card to the City Clerk at the front desk, left side. Wait for your name to be called by Mayor Matsumoto and proceed to the podium. You will be asked your name and given3 minutes in which to share your concern.  You may speak on any subject that is relevant to our city during our public City Council Meetings.


10 comments for “Centennial Transit Village at 180 El Camino Real before City Council again

  1. Rel Campbell
    February 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    This is way too big for that area and will cause too much traffic. I am all for updating it especially the grocery store, because South City does need a good grocery store. You don’t need more housing. Look at those houses they built on chestnut. Like 8 houses in one small area and that was 3 years ago and no one has moved in yet. That land could of been used for a little park.

  2. jo ann
    February 26, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Why all this talk about not wanting this to be built. SSF is an old town with old buildings & businesses & never wants to get updated. I won’t shop at that Safeway but I will go to Millbrae.
    The city council makes excuses about labor issues, get over it & let things happen in our city.
    We missed the boat with Walmart because of the council said Grand Ave will lose business, that’s a crock because Grand Ave has lots of eating places that people visit at lunch time and Walmart does not specialize in restaurants! Let’s improve our city by letting in companies that want to come!!

    • Dianne Nowak
      February 27, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      I agree with you on Walmart!! They could use the area where that furniture store was right off 101 and Lowes tried to give their store for Walmart and they shot it down so we all have to drive to Mountain View!!

    • David
      July 13, 2014 at 12:15 am

      It’s true although there are a lot of eating establishments. However there are other business’ that sell merchandise and they can not compete with a Walmart’s selection and prices. Guaranteed if a Walmart did open up near the Lowes all the mom and pop family owned store will close and that is a fact.

      Example like Lowes and Home Depot, now most family owned neighborhood hardware stores that I and other neighborhood residents used to go to are all history.

      Even though the small neighborhood hardware stores had everything you needed for a home project and was convenient to go to they just couldn’t compete with the prices of Lowes/Home Depot. And small hardware store and fair prices and still could not compete.

      • Editor
        July 13, 2014 at 2:59 pm

        Hi David
        Just wanted to comment on our mom & pop stores since ESC is big on promoting our local small businesses. Should you ever have the need please do check out Grand Avenue Hardware. Nick just moved his store across the street (315 Grand Ave) from his old place and it now has nearly everything you could need. Plus some friendly great advice is always waiting. – ed

  3. Editor
    February 26, 2014 at 7:59 pm


    Some additional comments in response to this article from our neighbors via ESC FB pg;

    Anita; Yes, because what SSF needs is yet ANOTHER cookie cutter transit village to add to the population of our city.

    Anita; We should just go up on Sign Hill and remove South.

    Lucinda;Please let this pass. I want my store to be remodeled cuz I have been working there for 20 yrs

    Julie; And I have been shopping there for over 20 years and that store is soooo ready for a remodel. I love it!!! Please pass it!! It’s what we need at that corner!!

    Adele; At least it looks nicer than what is there now, even though I think the parking space allotted/parking entrances/exits has been underestimated. If the person doing the layout can argue why it fits the space perfectly, then okay. If this means more shops, then more jobs- and that’s good. But the people in the residences will be wanting jobs too if they move here. There’s a lot to think about.

    Troy; It got turned down last time. I guess people like seeing a run down sorry excuse for a shopping area. So much unused land there. Need some change people.

    Brandi; where’s all the necessary parking??? lol

    Rick; As a planning commissioner, we approved this months ago. Let you city council know it’s time to get it done.

    John; http://www.grandboulevard.net Looks like a beautiful and sustainable project.

    Anita; What ever happened to Brentwood Bowl????? Did they run out of money, or can they not get all the rats out of that bldg?

    Marlen;I heard, from someone who bowls there alot, that they are going to move to that old century theater location around the corner.

    Anita; yes, but that has going on for over A year.

    Rick; LOL Good one. Nothing is better than watching a movie with rats running over your feet.

    Danny; geez, Spruce & El Camino is a heavy intersection. Traffic gets stopped on spruce when a pedestrian is walking across El Camino already (Firestone > Smart Final, vice versa).

    Christina; Great idea! Plz plz move fwd & bring ssf up! That area has been run down for yrs! It’s a win win for all! Jobs, revenue, etc what’s NOT to like

    Maria ; It would be nice if we can get an update Safeway here in SSF

    John;Pedestrian bridge at El Camino and Spruce?

    Julie;One day I was at Bally’s and a rat was scratching on the window outside, trying to get in. We need a bulldozer down there, please!!!

    Danny; haha that reminds me of sanitary bakery a few years back on linden. watched a rat jump from a cake to a cake LOL

    Rose; Eww, that’s my gym!

    Rick; You are the best, Julie

    Rick; Rats are happening in SSF

    Joanna; About time! So sick of only pacific super opening up everywhere!

    Rick; Exactly

    Leslie; I think it’s a great Idea….Do IT

    Luis;Its to big of a project to be there. that location is not idea. they should do a project but smaller then the proposed plan

    Marie; It was voted down – leave it alone. We don’t need more congestion!

    Jeff; I think the building by SSFHS is absolutely horrid, we dont need another.

    Ryan; The two Safeways in South City are sooo outdated that I refuse to shop at them completely and instead shop at Lucky or drive to the nice new Safeway in Milbrae.

    Whitney; It’s very large but it will probably look very nice and update our hometown nicely ….I know the Safeways that are there need updating……it may just be time

    Leo; Definitely feel that the Safeway needs to be updated. Adding some more stores and restaurants sounds great. But adding housing in that area just seems to be a little to much.

    Melissa; This is just going to make the el camino / s spruce intersection 10xs worse.

    Christina; I agree with Leo ^^ Update The Safeway and add some better stores and restaurants, but leave out the housing, that is overkill! Especially with all of the housing they just added next to SSFHS.

    Lisa ; We need a new Safeway. Why is it there is 2 Costco stores in South San Francisco and we are surrounded by Target. But, we can’t get an up to date Safeway and a Walmart?? The old Levitz building on Dubuque Ave. would be great for Walmart!! What gives??? I hope to City Council members and the planning commission read this.

    Jasmin; I agree with the other comments, update the safeway, add some better stores next to it but that housing is a HORRIBLE idea. And it’ll turn El Camino @ Spruce into a nightmare. The housing next to SSFHS is enough we don’t need that on every corner.

    Lucinda; Ugh and people and their nasty comments on our survey at work because the store is not updated. We can’t help it. It’s the city delaying this. Why have nice places on the other side of town like Genentech ect when no one goes there just for work. Grand ave and this development needs to be done. Make a place nice to shop instead of a junk.

    Joyce; I think it would be so nice to have a super safeway, I have to go to so many different stores, one stop would really be nice!

    Jasmin; I’ll add that even though that safeway is rundown I still shop there. It’s close to home, easy and the workers are really nice. I personally feel south city needs to stop adding and just fix what we have. This city has a lot to offer but a lot is outdated. The money spent on building more and more housing could go to so much more.

    Christina; Yes quit adding and fix what we already have! Has anyone seen downtown Burlingame since they began updating it? Grand ave needs that same thing badly.

    • Kristina Anderson
      June 26, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      And what do you think is going to happen now that Albertsons has purchased Safeway? They now monopolize 3/4 of the grocery store

    • Kristina Anderson
      June 26, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      And what do you think is going to happen now that Albertsons has purchased Safeway? They now monopolize 3/4 of the grocery store market.They say the takeover hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve noticed some items I buy are ALREADY going WAY UP in price!!!

  4. David
    July 12, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    It will be nice to have a Safeway updated with bakery/deli like others, but whoever is wanting some kind of large development will be eating their words, you will see how congested that area is going to be with a Walmart or more apartments.

    It’s going to be crowded as H I double hockey sticks. Imagine that area busy like Westlake Shopping Mall. Or on the other hand what if they make these large developments and it doesn’t pay off.

    Just update/rebuild the current Safeway with a deli and bakery and whatever else the other new Safeway’s have and leave out the apartments. More people will flock to SSF Safeway if they had those departments.

    If there is apartments who can afford these new ones anyways. The apartments by Costco are like $2500 for a 1 freakin’ bedroom apartment, same with the new apartments at top of the hill DC. I know people who have decent paying jobs and no kids and can not come close to affording those prices.

    • Dianne Nowak
      July 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      I agree to many all over from South City all the way down the Peninsuls especially to Millbrae! We needUpdate Safeway and I heard sometime ago they were thinking of putting in a safeway gas station, Walmart, Some retail, Nice Bakery/Coffee shop and a nice bowling alley as I can’t stand Brentwood I refuse to go there so I go to Classic!

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