Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - April 8, 2011

More jobs, tax revenue coming to Pleasanton

A welcome sign for all of us in Pleasanton is the small billboard in Staples Ranch facing I-580 that promotes Stoneridge Creek, a multi-million-dollar residential continuing care community that is "coming soon." The 45-acre senior complex being developed by Continuing Life Communities (CLC), with up to 800 units for assisted living, skilled nursing and independent living homes and apartments, took years to win final approval from Pleasanton planners and the City Council. Construction is expected to start soon on the $279,000 small apartments to super large homes costing as much as $1.5 million. The first of several hundred applicants have put down their purchase deposits and are ready to move in starting next year.

Stoneridge Creek is one of several large projects under way in Pleasanton that will bring millions of dollars in new tax revenue and hundreds of jobs, both in the construction trades and later as career employment opportunities when these projects are completed. On the 124-acre Staples Ranch, located at the southwest corner of El Charro Road and I-580 and recently annexed into Pleasanton, other commercial and recreational developments will include a new 37-acre auto mall to be built by the Hendrick Automotive Group, a 5-acre park that will include tennis courts and a landscaped area, 11 acres zoned for a retail center, and a larger 17-acre community park with 10 acres still earmarked for an ice rink that was proposed several years ago by San Jose Arena Management, a subsidiary of the San Jose Sharks. That project appears to be fading due to financing concerns, but it's not off the table completely.

A key part in development plans for Staples Ranch, which is still owned by Alameda County, is the long-planned extension of Stoneridge Drive to El Charro Road, where it will connect to Jack London Boulevard. On the Livermore side, funding for extending Jack London along the south side of the Livermore Airport is based on construction of a 160-store outlet mall at the southeast corner of El Charro and the freeway, a project that should get under way later this year, according to Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena. He sees Stoneridge and Jack London connecting in 2012, allowing traffic to move between the two cities without having to travel onto I-580.

On the west side of Pleasanton, two other projects will add to the city's employment opportunities and tax rolls. After a month of heavy rains, bulldozers are back at work preparing the ground for a multi-million-dollar complex that will include a 58,000-square-foot "Lifestyle" Safeway store at Bernal and Valley avenues, next to the northbound Bernal exit from I-680. The new store will anchor a retail center that is expected to include restaurants, shops and possibly a bank. South Bay Construction, which owns the rest of the 39-acre site, has approval to construct up to seven four-story office buildings on the site. But with the office market still lagging, it could seek a change in the property's zoning to accommodate some residential units south of the new Safeway store.

Additional growth in Pleasanton's business sector will also be seen later this year as the Clorox Co. moves hundreds of employees from Oakland into a 343,000-square-foot corporate campus it has acquired from the former Washington Mutual Bank in the vicinity of Hopyard Road and Johnson Drive, A directional sign on Hopyard already points to Clorox Way as the street leading to the site, although a bit prematurely as the street, itself, is still named Washington Mutual Way. According to the San Francisco Business Times, Clorox, which was founded in Oakland in 1914 and has long been a corporate icon there, will vacate half of the 500,000-square-foot building it owns in Oakland's City Center in making the move to Pleasanton. The company plans to transfer up to 700 employees here with another 400 to be relocated to the new campus from the Clorox research center along I-680, which will be sold. Clorox also has won approval to add a 65,000-square foot, two-story building to its new campus, adding even more construction jobs, future employment opportunities and tax revenue. So far, 2011 is shaping up to be a banner year for Pleasanton.

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