San Bruno


Once a commercial district with a small residential presence, Tanforan is now San Bruno’s go-to for apartment living and arguably its best example of transit-oriented development. Avalon, Acappella, The Village and Peninsula Place are not only in proximity to the Tanforan mall; they’re also one mile from San Bruno’s downtown

Though it has San Bruno’s most recognizable name, until recently there weren’t many residential options in the Tanforan neighborhood. Once the site of the legendary Tanforan race track and now where you’ll find San Bruno’s only enclosed shopping mall (The Shops at Tanforan), for several decades the neighborhood’s only living option was a six-blocks-long triangle of small bungalows wedge in-between the mall and a warehouse district abutting the 101 freeway. Then, in 1971, that changed with the construction of Peninsula Place, a large, sprawling low-rise apartment complex located at the neighborhood’s western end, between the Golden Gate National Cemetery and Commodore Park.

The newest arrivals to Tanforan are located, like Peninsula Place, on a former U.S. Naval base west of El Camino Real. The Village at the Crossing is a 228-unit full-service apartment complex for seniors aged 55 and over. Residency is limited to those earning no more than 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Joining The Village is Avalon at San Bruno and Acappella, both large apartment complexes that combine luxury amenities with a location convenient to commute corridors and transit, shopping and dining. Both complexes offer one- and two-bedroom apartments. Avalon also has three-bedroom units.

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Pricing data based on single-family homes

Tanforan on the Map

Schools & History


Students living in the Tanforan neighborhood attend one of two K-5 schools. Families living east of El Camino Real attend Belle Air Elementary School, which has 402 students, a Great Schools rating of 3 out of 10 and a 2013 API of 791. Students living west of El Camino attend Rolllingwood Elementary, with a Great Schools rating of 6 out of 10, a student body of 249 and an API of 795. After this, they attend Parkside Intermediate School, which has 516 students in grades 6 through 8, a Great Schools rating of 7 out of 10 and an API of 785, then finish at Capuchino High School or Peninsula Alternative High School.


Tanforan is an area rich in history. As the former location of the Tanforan Race Track, its history is most widely-known among San Bruno neighborhoods.

During its 65-year life (1899-1964), Tanforan Race Track, built on a section of Rancho Buri Buri that passed into the hands of Toribio Tanfaran (the spelling was later changed) via his marriage to a grand-daughter of Jose Antonio Sanchez, served as a center for horse racing, auto racing, motorcycle racing, dog racing, aerial exhibitions (in 1911, Eugene Ely made the first successful shipboard landing in history when he flew from Tanforan to the USS Pennsylvania, afloat in San Francisco Bay), military training and, in its darkest chapter, a staging center for the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. In 1937, Seabiscuit, the biggest money winner in horse racing history, was stabled at Tanforan.

Horses raced at Tanforan until 1963, leaving the facility mercifully empty when it burned to the ground the last day of July 1964. By then it had already been sold to developers for $6.15 million. The Tanforan mall, now known as “The Shops at Tanforan,” was completed in 1971 and renovated in 2005. Today, commemorative plaques to the race track and the internment, plus a statue of Seabiscuit, can be found at the mall’s main entrance.

West of El Camino Real, where today’s Village at the Crossing, Acappella, Avalon and Peninsula Place stand was once a United States Navy Personnel Depot, established during World War II on former Sneath Dairy land. After the way, the U.S. continued to operate a base on part of the site, eventually closing in 1994 and selling the land to developers.

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