E&S Ring Management presented its plans earlier this month to the Pleasanton Planning Commission in an informal review and won plaudits from the five commissioners. The proposal will go back for a vote by the commission next month and then will be considered by the City Council in February or early March.
If approved by both, construction could start in late 2013 for completion the following year.
The property, owned by Frank Auf der Maur and Konrad Rickenbach, is across Bernal from the McDonald's restaurant and between Stanley and Congregation Beth Emek. PG&E's large electric distribution center is on the eastern border of the property.
The site is also one of nine sites the city rezoned last January for high-density, multifamily development in order to meet Pleasanton's share of the regional housing need as part of a settlement with both the state housing authority and the Alameda County Superior Court.
Although the development, to be called Vintage at Bernal Gateway, will feature mostly upscale two- and three-bedroom apartments, at least 15% of them must be made available at rents affordable for low-to-medium income tenants.
The buildings will range in height from two stories fronting on Bernal to as high as four stories at the far end of the site. The main entrance into the development will be off Bernal although another driveway will be allowed on Stanley.
The high-density apartment buildings will occupy 11-1/2 acres on the site with another 4-1/2 acres for a retail center. Although the businesses at that site have not yet been chosen, John Pringle, who represents the development firm, said it's likely they will include a small grocery store, drug store, coffee shop and service-type retailers.
Particularly appealing to city planners were the large areas of open space that Pringle's group will include with some areas spacious enough to accommodate football and soccer games as well as outdoor barbecue and dining areas. Since many of the apartments will be large enough to accommodate families, the developer also is planning playgrounds and other children's parks in the development.
The proposed plan called for three clusters of apartment buildings with 21 "junior" one-bedroom units with roughly 650 square feet, 135 one-bedroom units with 755 square feet and another 20 one-bedroom units with separate den areas at 880 square feet.
The two bedroom units planned for the development include 53 with 1,075 square feet; 44 with split master units of roughly 1,115 square feet; 15 with dens at 1,230 square feet; eight carriage units at 1,205 square feet and 26 "town home" units with up to 1,390 square feet.
The development will also include 19 three-bedroom units with up to 1,510 square feet and four three bedroom apartments with dens at approximately 1,440 square feet.
A total of 612 parking spaces will be provided for tenants, including some carports and private garages.
"I'm thrilled with these plans that include open space for kids to play ball and a tot lot," Planning Commissioner Kathy Narum said.
Commissioner Arne Olson agreed. "This project has a lot of variety and that's terrific," he said.
E&S Ring Management is a privately-held Los Angeles-based real estate investment company with three other apartment communities in Pleasanton.
Two years ago, a commercial development firm representing Home Depot proposed building a second and more upscale Home Depot store on the Auf der Maur site. Although the City Council never voted on the proposal, it was clear in informal discussions that Home Depot lacked both the council's and the neighborhood's support, and never pursued the plan with a formal proposal.