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October 21, 2020
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SummerHill Apartment Communities Gets Green Light from South San Francisco City Council for New Project


A planned mixed-use community in South San Francisco developed by SummerHill Apartment Communities has received unanimous approval by the City Council. The new development is located on a 1.67-acre site at 988 El Camino Real, spread across four parcels at the intersection of El Camino Real and Chestnut Ave.

The new development, which will serve as the gateway to the City of South San Francisco’s El Camino Real/Chestnut Area, is situated on one of the most prominent intersections in the city, across from the future site of the Community Civic Campus, adjacent to the Centennial Way Trail, and near the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station. It was designed by KTGY Architecture + Planning.

The community will contain 172 apartment homes ranging in size from studios to two-bedroom units. The ground floor of the six-story building includes nearly 11k sf of retail space centered around a corner plaza, plus a variety of amenities such as a lounge, fitness studio, bike hub, dog park, and spur trail connecting to Centennial Way. On the first residential level above, there will be a Club Room for residents as well as two resort-style courtyards with spa, fire pits, outdoor kitchen and dining areas, and lounge areas.

“The architectural intent is to create an elegant building that blends references to the industrial past of South San Francisco with a more contemporary language,” said Sara Fernandez, director of planning for KTGY’s Los Angeles office, who presented the design plan to the City Council. “The design establishes a strong architectural presence that anchors the corner, with pedestrian-oriented retail lining the sidewalks and a large front plaza that will activate the corner. It is our hope that the new development, in conjunction with the new Community Civic Campus, will serve as a catalyst for future transit-oriented development in the area.”

“With the design, we wanted to enhance the vibrancy of this corner by thoughtfully arranging active spaces along street frontages and the trail and utilizing four-sided architecture to create a village-like, pedestrian-oriented environment,” said Fernandez. “Additionally, we wanted to optimize circulation and site access to minimize traffic disruptions in the area, which we know are critical to the surrounding residents.”

The design incorporates the use of brick streetwalls, which are designed to mimic a traditional commercial storefront in scale, materials, and detailing, while the residential levels above are stepped back and more understated, allowing the pedestrian-oriented spaces and the more elaborate corner tower to be the emphasis. The brick streetwall façade is a comfortable two to three stories in height and located 18 to 20 feet from the curb, providing plenty of space for streetscape improvements to make this an engaging, pedestrian-friendly environment.

Parking is carefully hidden behind storefronts, landscape screening, and in the basement. Commercial and visitor parking will be at the ground level, offering 47 spaces. Resident parking will be secured underground, offering 212 spaces. Additionally, 130 bike parking spaces, as well as electric vehicle charging stations, will be provided in convenient locations.

The site is located less than a mile from the South San Francisco BART station and is served by SamTrans, which connects to the station. Centennial Way has a Class I bike lane, which provides a safe, easy connection to the South San Francisco BART station to the north, less than a mile away.

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