Dublin growth gives local Realtors an earful
As Pleasanton housing commercial sales slow, Dublin's soars
Pleasanton Realtors and those in related fields sat wide-eyed and alert last week as Dublin's Economic Development Director Chris Foss talked about a series of non-stop residential, commercial and office building projects that will turn this once-sleepy start-up town into a thriving center of commerce and housing in the Bay Area.
Foss said Dublin is now among the fastest growing cities in the state with 120 different development projects currently under way. In the fiscal year that just ended last June 30, the city issued building permits for $220 million in new residential units and another $80 million in commercial permits.
"I'll be retiring in 2013, I already have that figured out, and I already have enough work to keep me busy to that point," Foss told a meeting of the Valley Marketing Association, a Tri-Valley realty group.
When fully built out, according to current projections, Dublin will have a population of 60,000, still somewhat smaller than Pleasanton's and Livermore's, and only one high school. Despite the rapid surge in population, including thousands of school-age children, the local school district will build more elementary and middle schools, but it's determined to have everyone attend Dublin High, which will be expanded to meet growing enrollment needs.
Citing projects planned or underway from west to east, Foss said the new Shaffer Ranch being built on the north side of I-580 by Discovery homes will have 303 housing units on 56 acres. Twelve of these new houses will be large, multi-million-dollar estate homes on 2-acre lots with spectacular views of the valley.
Dublin Boulevard will be extended past Valley Christian School to accommodate the new development.
In central Dublin, that area along Dublin Boulevard and north of San Ramon Valley Boulevard, new retail centers and offices are planned along with the new West Dublin-Pleasanton BART station.
"I've been working on this BART expansion ever since I came here seven years ago, and I can finally report that construction will start next month," Foss said. "The first phase will be a 713-space parking garage on a 5-acre site at the end of Golden Gate Drive, near the white Cor-O-Van building, with work on the station scheduled to start in October. It will take about two years to finish the job."
Dublin already has planned for about 500 residential units around the new BART station, with another 150,000 square feet of offices.
"Yes, offices," Foss said. "I like to brag that I'm the only economic development guy in the Tri-Valley who is actually handling a new office building."
Besides those new projects, Dublin also is negotiating with a developer for a 150-room hotel that would generate occupancy tax revenue for BART and the city.
Work is also continuing at the former Pac-N-Save site at Dublin Boulevard and Dougherty, where an underground garage is being built that will have retail stores and town homes on the top. Four other residential projects in the area that are under construction or approved will add another 1,000 apartments and town home units. Included will be 112 affordable apartment units near the freeway.
"At total build-out there, we will add 1.7 million square feet of office space and 1,800 residential units, with 70,000 square feet of new retail stores," Foss said.
Included in these developments near the existing Dublin-Pleasanton BART station, which will become the BART East station, Dublin has approved a seven-story parking garage at the freeway that will offer, in phases, a total of 2,300 parking spaces for BART commuters. The new garage will eventually replace all surface parking now on the Dublin side of the station, where BART hopes to attract office building developers.
Foss also hopes to issue permits starting early next year for the proposed 265,000-square-foot IKEA furnishings store, which will be built on Arnold Drive across from Hacienda Crossings. Even sooner, he expects work to being on a 140,000-square-foot outdoor, open air retail development, top be called the Lifestyle Center.
At the corner of Tassajara and Dublin Boulevard, Triad Partners are starting work on a 170,000-square-foot project, whose first tenants will be the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and the Eden Medical Center. Foss said that with high demand in the valley for medical office space, the developer already is planning for another building nearby.
Up and down Tassajara and east to the Dublin city limits, developers are adding hundreds of new residential units, with a commercial site where a new Lowe's Home Improvement store may go. More parks, a large aquatic center and a major sports park also are planned there.
Asked about parking problems at Hacienda Crossings, Foss said the city of Dublin can't do much since the shopping center has 11 separate owners. Regal Theaters, which agreed to consider a multi-story parking garage for the area if it could add more screens, has its hands tied by Best Buy, whose joint-use agreement stipulates that nothing can be built that would cover the store's front and side signs.
Kaiser Permanente has purchased 68 acres south of Dublin Boulevard between Dublin and the freeway and just east of Tassajara Road, but officials at the medial institution say they have no plans for the property at this time. Kaiser also bought the large Albertson's distribution center located just west of I-880 in San Leandro, but has the same ambiguous response when asked about its plans there, Foss said.
Foss also talked about Camp Parks, where the federal government has put 1,285 acres of land on the market.
"That site could hold about 1,600 residential units, 250,000- square feet of office, another 250,000 square feet of retail and a 46-acre park," Foss said. "We expect Camp Parks to select a developer for the property before the end of the year."
Realtors asked Foss about traffic congestion that all of the Dublin development projects could bring to the area.
He said the mixed-use developments underway or planned will give people an opportunity to live, work and shop in their own hometown, and not have to get on freeways to reach their destinations.
"Besides, look east to the Altamont and beyond, to Mountain House where 20,000 homes are being built, and then on to other cities and developments," Foss said. "All of the projects planned or being built in Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore and even San Ramon together don't reach those levels."