After years of community input and numerous permitting hurdles, the Gateway at Millbrae Station development has started construction. Located next to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) Millbrae Station, the 17-acre mixed-used development will feature a Marriott-branded hotel, office space, residential, and significant retail installments. The entire complex is slated for completion in 2025.

Republic Urban Properties and Principal Real Estate Investors, a global investment management firm, recently announced a partnership that will finance, construct, and own the residential and office components of the Gateway at Millbrae Station development.

The estimated $400-million Gateway project is considered one of the largest transit-oriented developments in the Bay Area. It will feature 157,000 sq-ft of office space, 320 market rate apartments, 80 veteran preferred affordable housing units, and 44,000 sq-ft of mixed use retail. And with its proximity to the Millbrae BART and Caltrain stations, it will be a model transit-oriented development (TOD).

“Gateway at Millbrae Station promises to be the new standard for revitalizing transit stations by increasing ridership while increasing revenues and creating much needed affordable housing and jobs for the City of Millbrae and San Mateo County,” said Michael R. Van Every, president/CEO, Republic Urban Properties in a recent press release. “This will be a destination where people can live, shop, work, and play, with walkable streets, public spaces, and amenities.” 

One of the biggest challenges the project faced was overcoming an entitlement process that took more than nine years to complete, says Van Every. He says they overcame entitlement challenges by trying to being the best public-private-partner possible. “We invested $16 million of our own money and were able to attract great investors like EB5 Capital and Principal Real Estate Group to be our partners,” he says.

Other members of the project team include Blach + Cahill Joint Venture – contractor; Form4 Architecture - office and retail architects; LPMD Architects – residential architects; ACRM Architects – hotel architects; HMH Landscape Architecture – landscape; HMH Engineers - civil engineer; Studio T SQ - urban design. Huntington Hotel Group (HHG) and EB5 Capital are also part of the team.

The land on which the Gateway at Millbrae Station is being developed is owned by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). This helped influence the project’s commitment to public transportation and the addition of the 80 affordable housing units prioritized for veterans.

“BART’s Transit-oriented development helps the Bay Area address two of its greatest challenges: worsening traffic congestion and the lack of affordable housing,” said BART Board President Bevan Dufty in a news release.

The core of the project will be anchored by a contemporary office building designed by Form4 Architecture of San Francisco. The 165,000-sq-ft structure, activated with retail at its base, is situated next to the BART station between an existing parking garage and a new apartment building. Steel-framed expanses of high-performance glass on the three upper levels of the five-story office/retail building illuminate workplaces with daylight. And planted roof terraces on the third floor provide serene outdoor spaces for tenants.

Above the retail storefronts, a combination of wood, metal mesh, and frosted glass delineate two levels of parking. Projecting bays, canted ends, and a cantilevered roof that appears to float, create dynamic architecture symbolizing a new vibrancy for the area.

“We conceived this building as the centerpiece of the new community,” said John Marx, AIA, co-founding design principal at Form4 Architecture in a recent news release.  “It is sited to engage the street where most activity will take place. The building is as transparent as possible with gridded planes of glass so people and movement inside will be visible to pedestrians as they pass by.”