http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2013/08/16/staples-ranch-pleasantons-new-east-side-gateway


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - August 16, 2013

Staples Ranch: Pleasanton's new east side gateway

After years of wrangling, development of the 124-acre Staples Ranch shown above is finally under way. This aerial photo by photographer Mike Sedlak shows the new Stoneridge Creek retirement community at the top of the still-vacant Staples land and the Livermore Premium Outlets below, just across El Charro Road at the I-580 intersection. The long-awaited extension of Stoneridge Drive slices through Staples to the left with the bridge over the arroyo almost finished. A formal community-wide celebration to open Stoneridge Creek and Stoneridge Drive will be held in October.

Troy Bourne, an executive of Continuing Life Communities, which is developing Stoneridge Creek, spent five years seeking City Council approval of the much needed retirement community where Pleasanton residents can now move to "age in place" without leaving their own hometown. Extending Stoneridge Drive took even longer as some on the City Council opposed the roadway and others expressed environmental concerns. Election of a new council and a change of heart by then Mayor Jennifer Hosterman finally cleared the deck for approval.

Staples Ranch might have looked much different if early proposals had been accepted. In 1997, KB Homes asked to build 311 homes on the site, but the plan was nixed due to safety concerns because part of the development would have been in the Livermore Airport flight path. In 2001, delays by Pleasanton planners in even considering a bid by IKEA to build one of its warehouse stores on Staples caused the Swedish furniture retailer to back away. Other proposals included a bid by the San Jose Sharks to build a two-story, four rink ice skating facility on 10 acres of Staples, which the Sharks eventually dropped, and a 36-acre auto mall to be built by the Hendrick Automotive Group, which the car dealer canceled. The site, at the corner of I-580 and El Charro, is still zoned for an auto mall, and two new dealerships are considering a similar plan, along with other developers who view Staples as a new and appealing commercial gateway to Pleasanton.

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