http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2013/09/06/pleasanton-council-oks-apartment-complex-next-to-i-680


Pleasanton Weekly

News - September 6, 2013

Pleasanton Council OKs apartment complex next to I-680

Approval caps series of high-density housing projects throughout city

by Jeb Bing

The Pleasanton City Council on Tuesday approved a developer's plan to build nine three-story apartment buildings and 97 single family houses just south of the Gateway Shopping Center at Bernal and Valley avenues near I-680.

Scott Trobbe of South Bay Development showed the council sketches of the development that will stretch from the Safeway shopping center complex south to the edge of the city-owned Bernal Community Park and from the I-680 freeway on the west to Valley Avenue on the east.

Many of the single family homes that are part of the development will rise to 45-foot heights with three stories of living space and elevators as an option for buyers. They appear to be modern-day versions of the brownstones of Boston and New York City.

Tuesday night's approval followed an earlier approval by the city's Planning Commission and was a unanimous decision made after less than an hour of a public hearing. Despite prodding by some council members, Trobbe didn't say what the rents will be for apartments in the project, which will include one, two and three bedroom units.

Only three speakers addressed the council at the public hearing, including two who said the city needs more affordable housing for low-income tenants than the Trobbe project will provide, and another saying the development, along with others recently approved by the council, will require more schools in Pleasanton.

The Commons at Gateway, as Trobbe's project is called, caps a series of favorable high-density housing development decisions over recent months. Together, the projects will meet the requirements set forth by an Alameda County Superior Court judge in response to a suit by an Oakland-based affordable housing coalition, which had the support of Gov. Jerry Brown and the state's housing authority.

Trobbe's firm has owned the entire 37-acre site since 2000. At one time, South Bay had approval to build eight four- and five-story office buildings on the property, but that plan was shelved when the need for more office space collapsed 10 years ago.

South Bay later sold part of its property to Safeway Corp., which built the new Safeway Lifestyle supermarket and developed the center that now houses retail and service stores, including a gas station, Starbucks, CVS pharmacy and two banks.

Trobbe said his new development calls for construction of 210 apartment units in nine, 18-unit and 24-unit three story tall buildings just over 43 feet high in addition to the 97 single family homes.

Each of the apartments in the multi-story buildings will have a one-car garage. The buildings will be clustered around a core with entrances off Valley Avenue, across from the 100-unit Kensington Apartments, and another from a roadway that runs alongside the south edge of the Gateway Center.

The project will include a leasing office building for the apartments, a recreation area that will include a building with a business center, conference facilities, gymnasium and a media center. Outdoor amenities will include a swimming pool and spa, barbecue and fire pit areas, a tot lot, cabanas, outdoor seating and a bocce ball court.

Of the 97 single-family homes planned for the site, 62 will be three-story homes with a maximum height of approximately 45 feet, and 35 will be two stories. The two-story homes will have four bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, two car garages and range in size from 3,541 to 3,654 square feet.

The three-story buildings will have three bedrooms, and will range in size from 2,830 to 3,054 square feet.

Earlier this month, the council approved construction of a 345-unit upscale apartment complex across town at Bernal Avenue at Stanley Boulevard. That project will include a three-building retail center with a drug store and drive-through pharmacy.

Last year, BRE, a national affordable housing developer, won permits to build a total of 18 three- and four-story buildings on two separate sites in Hacienda Business Park that will have 506 rental units ranging in size from studio apartments to three-bedroom units. Work on the multi-million-dollar housing project is expected to start next year.

Last April, the council approved the construction of new multi-story, high-density apartment buildings and an adjoining retail center on a portion of the office building site at Rosewood and Owens drives. Called The Residences at California Center, the development will contain 305 apartments ranging in size from studios to three bedrooms.

In July, the council agreed to a plan by St. Anton Partners to build a 168-unit apartment complex at 5729 W. Las Positas Boulevard. That developer is in the process of requesting building permits and will likely be the first of the high density land developers to start construction.

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