Pleasanton Weekly

News - October 8, 2010

Quick council action gives Clorox OK to move here

Former WaMu center will now house 6 buildings, 1,100 Clorox employees

by Jeb Bing

It may have been one of the fastest land use approvals ever in a city known for its methodical, sometimes painstakingly-long reviews of new developments, but Clorox was officially welcomed here Tuesday as the city's newest major corporation by an enthusiastic City Council in a 5-0 vote that said "come ahead."

"It's no doubt a sign of these tough economic times," said Councilman Jerry Thorne at the end of the less-than-one-hour discussion.

The council's swift approval, with only one public comment and no opposition, followed a similarly quick approval of the same Planned Unit Development (PUD) measure just two weeks ago by the city's Planning Commission, again in a 5-0 vote with few questions or comments by commissioners.

Of course, Clorox, which has been headquartered in Oakland for years, is not new to Pleasanton. It has a technical center on Johnson Drive, which will be sold when Clorox moves at least 700 employees here onto a five-building corporate campus near Stoneridge Drive and Hopyard Road. Clorox is acquiring the now-vacant site from Washington Mutual Bank. The 400 employees now at the Johnson Drive research center also will move to the new campus.

Tuesday night's City Council approval was required because Clorox plans to build a sixth building on the site, a 65,000-square-foot two-story structure that, while large, will house only 40 employees to work on special projects. With high ceilings, the building will be just under 40 feet tall with a cooling tower and other rooftop equipment camouflaged behind screening that could go just beyond 50 feet in height.

The campus complex is at 4900-5040 Johnson Drive and adjacent to Thoratec and Hitachi, other research and development companies. At one time, more than 3,000 employees worked on the site when it was used by former owner Providian as a credit card call center.

"We're happy to be your new home," Mayor Jennifer Hosterman said to the lone Clorox representative who attended the meeting.

The council then moved on to other business, which included the following:

* Receiving a report from City Attorney Jonathan Lowell that the first hearing in a court case involving Oak Grove developers Frederic and Jennifer Lin and the city of Pleasanton has been delayed until mid-November to give Pleasanton's outside counsel time to be briefed on the litigation.

* Heard an update on the city's climate action plan that includes a city-sponsored Community Green Fair on Oct. 21 and a Climate Action Plan workshop on Oct. 27.

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