Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - August 5, 2011

Pleasanton sizzles with events, business growth

The Pleasanton Downtown Association is calling its summertime retail promotions "Sizzling Saturdays," and for sure the downtown has been crowded with shoppers and shopping bargains all summer long. A near-record turnout two days ago for the First Wednesday street party, crowds filling the Farmers Market every Saturday this summer and now more than 2,000 cyclists, runners and walkers scheduled to fill the downtown all day Sunday for the Safeway Fast & Furious Festival are giving local restaurants and merchants much needed business as we slowly work our way out of a recession.

The 5K run/walk and 1-mile bike race Sunday are part of a festival sponsored by Safeway, the city of Pleasanton and the PDA. It's being hosted by the Hill Physicians Medical Group as a wellness and lifestyle festival designed to bring the world of cycling and running together in one place while at the same time highlighting the charm of downtown Pleasanton. The event's co-founders, Chris McCrary and Kevin Magna of Katalyst Events, said the choice to bring the festival to downtown Pleasanton was easy: "Downtown Pleasanton offers competitors and spectators a wide variety of shopping and dining experiences before, during and after the event."

Along with these events this week is even more long-term sizzling news. With the reopening of the long shuttered Domus retail store are new tenants soon to be announced for a vacated spa next door and the former Tree House store farther south on Main Street. The recent leasing of the 525 Main St. store to the San Francisco shop Therapy and the new Handles Gastropub at the newly painted Pleasanton Hotel have reduced the downtown retail vacancy rate to 5%, a new low in recent years. At the south end of Main Street, Craig Semmelmeyer, whose Main Street Property Services developed the popular Tully's Coffee Shop site at Main and Angela streets, is completing the restoration and upgrade of 234 Main St. Fleet Feet, which has outgrown its space a few blocks north, will occupy two floors in the new building with Semmelmeyer planning to lease the rest of the building to a restaurant that will also offer outdoor dining.

The sizzle continues in other parts of Pleasanton with Safeway set to open its new 58,000-square-foot "Lifestyle" supermarket this fall along with a drive-through banking facility, pharmacy, restaurant and retail shops. Just off Hopyard, Clorox Inc. is completing work on a 40-foot-tall research facility at the six-building campus it has acquired at 4900-5040 Johnson Drive, adjacent to Thoratec and Hitachi. This fall, it will start moving 1,100 employees onto the campus, including 700 from its Oakland headquarters and another 400 from the technical center it now has on Johnson Drive, a modern steel and glass structure that will be sold.

The news is also sizzling for the nearly 200 seniors who have already placed deposits on homes in Stoneridge Creek, Pleasanton's new upscale retirement community on Staples Ranch. Grading on the 50-acre site has now been completed with a groundbreaking celebration scheduled shortly. The developer's central health center, dining room and administration building will be built first with the first of the homes ready for occupancy in mid- to late 2012.

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