Biotech to Replace Tanforan Mall

South San Francisco, CA – November 9, 2022

ESC Correspondent – Allie Saults Artist Rendering by Gensler

As we reported in February, the closing of the shops at Tanforan in San Bruno paved the way for more biotech development right next to our little city. While it may not have a huge impact on our town, it still has reprecussions for the area as a whole.

In late October, a meeting was held regarding the redevelopment plans for the Tanforan Mall. The initiatory project application was reviewed by the San Bruno City Council then. The 44-acre plan has been spearheaded by Alexandria Real Estate Equities who hopes to, “reshape the existing BART-connected mall with new retails, homes and a life science campus.”

In February, the firm purchased the remaining parcel of land necessary to begin their new development. The reported cost of the area was a touch under $330 million. The plan encompasses 44 acres boasting the creation of 14 buildings and an expansive 3.3 million square feet. The reported height limit for these buildings is said to be 127 feet tall.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities is working along with Strada Investment Group and the non-profit company MidPen Housing to put together this project.

Here are the preliminary details:

  • 8 Story Parking Garage
  • 9 Offices
  • Apartments + Mixed-Use Areas
  • 3 Story Building That Includes A Target Store

The plan is divided into 2 sections:

  • A Life Sciences campus on the southern area of the property:
  • 9 buildings total – possibly rising to 120 feet tall [each building having 4 or 5 floors]
  • Apartments nearer to Sneath Lane
  • 3 buildings in total – 2 featuring 7 floors and another featuring 5 floors
  • These buildings are said to contain over 1,000 units and are projected to encompass affordable housing, although the number of units dedicated to this has not been announced.

Other Features:

  • Site maps included in the link show walkways and landscaping that surround the property including outdoor social and relaxation areas.
  • In between the buildings is a planned, 158,000 square foot Target store, playground, retail space and a boardwalk connecting with the San Bruno BART station and the 4 story Century at Tanforan Cineplex.
  • Bike lanes and stations
  • 5,746 parking spots – split between employees and retail

“The entitlement process is expected to last between 18 to 24 months long, which includes community engagement and collaboration with the city planning department. Once construction starts, work will be divided into four phases. The first phase will include a mix of all uses, focusing primarily on the northern half. Phase two will create three life science offices and most of the garage. Phase three will build up two life science buildings and the final residential component across Sneath, while phase four will finish off the last two life science buildings and the garage.

The development is expected to have company across the train tracks. South San Francisco has approved plans for Lane Partners to build Southline, a $1 billion life sciences campus, reshaping 28 acres with 2.8 million square feet of rentable floor area and nearly eight acres of open space.”

What are your thoughts on the latest development close to home?


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8 days ago

So, here again, just as with the ubiquitous and ugly multi-unit “affordable living” complexes in South San Francisco, another one is coming to Sneath Lane so more and more people can come in and use up the natural resources (water, energy, land, etc). Here existing residents have all been told to limit and refrain from using such limited resources or even face fines in some cases. And guess who’ll soon find themselves paying more to cover the costs for updating the infrastructure for these “affordable housing” projects. Follow the money folks.

18 days ago

Does anyone know what the bio tech businesses do? We see them building more campus but does anyone know what they actually do, what are they making?
Did anyone hear of the laboratroy in Wuhan? Did the people near them no what was going on in there, or here?
Just a question.

12 days ago
Reply to  Pete

The biotech companies are developing treatments for diseases such cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons Disease, etc.

Your neighbor
Your neighbor
18 days ago

Millbrae caught the bio-tech bug too and they will be building life-science, coming to a city near you.
If we got off our collective arses, we’d recall the city council, like San Francisco did of their school board during the pandemic.
So. City is being swallowed up by big-brother on the east side of 101 with the blessing of the city council.The fissures showed in the recent election: SSF governance is no longer by the citizenry. Isn’t there a RICO statute to apply here? It’s high time someone looked into this government’s operation.

19 days ago

NOW they’re waking up? Our city has been invaded by the biotech, and our City Council and City Manager cannot do enough for the biotech and the corporations. Residents do not matter in SSF any longer. And, you think if there’s a toxic leak we will even be alerted to it? Think again. Maybe we can see the lab research monkeys escaping from their torture throughout San Bruno and SSF now and maybe we’ll finally realize how dangerous these companies are.

19 days ago

And yet we didn’t pass Measure DD. What fools we all are.

Cory Alan David
Cory Alan David
19 days ago

Hope those pesky existing residents don’t get in the way of the developers. Remember when cities were made of people first, industry was a distant second? Ironically, with the advent of the biotech/life science industries and their profitable “mutations,” this is no longer the case. This is also what happens when you have “political hobbyists” in local governments that will sell out their communities when some special interest buys them lunch. Now we know that South San Francisco and San Bruno have something in common and it ain’t quality of life for the existing resident taxpayers.

steve m
steve m
18 days ago

well put. sellouts all of them. sickening. got to admit they sure know how to fool people.
not some of us. the silent majority. they don’t give a flip about the tax payer.
same old lip service . no use . can’t fight city hall as the old saying goes.
liars the whole bunch . 1k units of (affordable) housing? ya sure I believe that.
more traffic more people more congestion. that is just great. all in the name of (progress)
i don’t think so . if I wanted to live in San Francisco I would of moved there.