Mayor Jerry Thorne’s first State of the City address last week demonstrated the pent-up demand for housing in Pleasanton.
With inventory of resale homes near all-time lows, the mayor listed several multi-unit projects that are moving through the approval process this year. The only substantial single-family development underway is the Toll Brothers large-lot project off Vineyard Avenue between the core city and Ruby Hill.
The situation is much different on the multiple front.
The Gateway Center, which originally was zoned for multi-story office, has thrived with the Safeway (its gas station opens this week) and other retail outlets. The center is full with expansion under way for a CVS drug store. Good luck finding a parking place on the east side of the center during lunch time with all of the restaurants.
When the original plans for the Bernal parcel were approved, The South Bay Development Company was planning for office space on the parcels near the freeway. When it was clear, after years and the deep recession that there was no demand for additional office space, the plans were modified to include the thriving shopping center. The development firm now is coming back with a proposal for 210 apartments and 88 single-family homes on land near the center.
E.S. Ring Corp. is proposing 345 units as well as neighborhood retail at the corner of Valley/Stanley/Bernal across from the McDonald’s. There’s another 168 units planned near the intersection of Stoneridge Drive and West Las Positas, while the California Center (former AT&T western headquarters) has 205 units planned on its expanse of lawn surrounding the office complex.
In addition, the previously approved 500 units located near the BART station off Willow Road are expected to being construction this year. The zoning for most of these projects resulted from the city’s settlement of a legal action that successfully challenged its housing unit limit.
Whether the market can absorb all of these units is an open question as is what the demographic mix of residents will be. The school district commissioned a report that called for an additional elementary school to accommodate children that are anticipated, although how many families will live in transit-oriented housing designed for commuters is yet to be seen.
What is likely is that the single-family homes that South Bay proposes, if approved, will draw lines of people wanting to buy. Unlike San Ramon and Dublin, there are precious few—if any—other single-family projects planned for Pleasanton so there are few choices.
The good news overall from the mayor is the economic indications for the city are all positive—tax revenues up, employment up and vacancies for commercial property down.
And looking at I-680 southbound, an employment destination for many folks, the trends are good—the road is packed.