Goal PE-5

Goal PE-5:

The city has vibrant and healthy commercial districts and shopping centers that include amenities serving residents and outside shoppers.


To ensure the long-term success of South San Francisco’s retail districts and shopping centers by facilitating reinvestment or redevelopment, enhancing the attractiveness of retail destinations, adapting to e-commerce, supporting the needs of small businesses, and ensuring businesses and districts reflect South San Francisco’s racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity.

Policy PE-5.1: Provide functional retail space.

Encourage property owners to provide storefront spaces that meet the functional needs of modern tenants.

  • Action 5.1.1: Create design and building standards for ground-floor space.

    Create design and building standards for ground-floor commercial space in new mixed-use development projects that promote spaces which are sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of multiple kinds of tenants, including consideration of restaurant needs.

  • Action 5.1.2: Identify reinvestment opportunities in retail properties.

    Work with retail property owners to identify and encourage opportunities for reinvestment in and modernization of their properties.

Policy PE-5.2: Encourage retail concentration.

Require or encourage retail concentrations in prime retail locations while allowing a greater diversity of ground-floor uses outside these areas.

  • Action 5.2.1: Create ground floor requirements.

    Create requirements to provide ground-floor retail in mixed-use development projects only in the strongest retail locations, including at street intersections, near existing high-performing shopping centers, and in areas with high visibility, vehicle or pedestrian traffic, and easy access.

Policy PE-5.3: Encourage redevelopment of underperforming centers.

Pursue the redevelopment of shopping centers and districts that experience disinvestment and are not well-positioned for future success.

  • Action 5.3.1: Ensure appropriate zoning.

    Ensure that appropriate zoning and land use regulations are in place to allow for the redevelopment of shopping centers as mixed-use centers.

  • Action 5.3.2: Monitor sales tax performance.

    Identify underperforming shopping centers and retail properties by monitoring reductions in sales tax revenue generated at each center.

  • Action 5.3.3: Conduct outreach and enforcement for underperforming shopping centers.

    Encourage redevelopment of antiquated and underperforming shopping centers and retail locations through a combination of ongoing owner outreach and appropriate code enforcement actions.

Policy PE-5.4: Enhance retail district environment.

Enhance the public environment in retail districts such as Downtown South San Francisco and retail nodes along El Camino Real.

  • Action 5.4.1: Provide public investment for streetscapes and façades.

    Enhance the public realm of retail districts through public investments in the streetscape and mobility, potential façade improvement loans or grants, and collaboration with merchants or business organizations to create wayfinding and branding signage.

Policy PE-5.5: Foster a vibrant Downtown South San Francisco.

Foster a vibrant Downtown with events, restaurants, retail, and arts amenities that serve the needs and reflect the culture of South San Francisco residents.

  • Action 5.5.1: Target growth of arts and culture uses to Downtown and Lindenville.

    Target growth of arts and culture uses in Downtown and Lindenville, with particular focus on attracting uses that are culturally relevant to city residents.

  • Action 5.5.2: Collaborate with Downtown community to support events.

    Collaborate with merchants and merchant organizations to support cultural festivals and events that draw customers to Downtown businesses.

  • Action 5.5.3: Ensure zoning accommodates arts and culture uses.

    Ensure zoning and other city regulations accommodate arts and culture uses such as artist studios, performance spaces, and offices of related non-profit organizations to support local artists and arts organizations.

  • Action 5.5.4: Support retention and attraction of resident-serving businesses.

    Provide services and outreach that support retention and attraction of businesses in Downtown that provide affordable goods and services and goods and services representing South San Francisco’s diverse population.

  • Action 5.5.5: Expand use of public properties.

    Explore expanded use of public properties in Downtown for arts and culture event programming that highlights the city’s existing cultural diversity.

Policy PE-5.6: Support development of complete neighborhoods.

Support the development of complete neighborhoods—with day-to-day goods and services located within a 20 minute walk of residents—throughout South San Francisco.

  • Action 5.6.1: Maintain goods and services inventory.

    Identify the goods and services missing in each city neighborhood that would contribute toward meeting a more complete set of needs in “20-minute neighborhoods.”

  • Action 5.6.2: Coordinate with real estate community on space needs of goods and services businesses.

    Coordinate with real estate brokers to develop an understanding of what types of spaces are required by businesses providing goods and services needed in 20-minute neighborhoods.

  • Action 5.6.3: Identify existing shopping destinations and services

    Identify existing shopping centers and retail nodes that are critical for supporting individual complete neighborhoods and prioritize retention of retail uses at these locations.

  • Action 5.6.4: Attract retail and services to emerging residential areas.

    Work with developers, brokers, and site locators to attract retail and services to areas targeted for significant residential growth where little housing previously existed—including near the Caltrain Station, portions of East of 101, and the northern portion of Lindenville.

Policy PE-5.7: Support retail businesses and restaurants in adapting to e-commerce needs.
  • Action 5.7.1: Provide resources and training in online marketing.

    Work with technical assistance partners to provide resources and training to assist retail and restaurant businesses in online marketing and integration of e-commerce operations.

Policy PE-5.8: Engage in business recruitment and retention.

Engage in retail business attraction targeted towards filling unmet needs and supporting small, local businesses.

  • Action 5.8.1: Develop a neighborhood retail business attraction and retention program.
  • Action 5.8.2: Prioritize recruitment and retention of anchor businesses.

    As needed, prioritize recruitment and retention of “anchor” businesses in retail districts and shopping centers; anchors should draw visitors either from a larger geographic area or on a regular basis, and can potentially include large retail stores, gyms, entertainment and games, and even medical offices.

Policy PE-5.9: Encourage housing and job growth near shopping districts.

Encourage housing and job growth in and near Downtown and other shopping districts to create additional demand for retail, restaurants, and services. Refer to the Land Use Element of the General Plan for related actions.