2-story restaurant OK'd for old Union Jack Pub site

Main Street lot boarded up since 2007

The Pleasanton Planning Commission has given final approval for the construction of a new two-story restaurant and commercial building downtown at 725 Main St., at the site where the Union Jack Pub was torn down in 2007.

Robert Dondero, who lives in Pleasanton, won the commission's unanimous approval after a lengthy public hearing where planners showed concern over a second-floor outdoor dining area that will project out over a ground-floor patio and sidewalk.

Dondero said the ground-floor space will have two businesses facing onto Main Street, including a restaurant. The second floor will include the open air deck for dining and dancing, and also will have an adjacent apartment. Both will be served by an elevator.

Planning Commissioner Jack Balch said he was concerned that at an event, such as a high school prom party, the crowd might become rowdy or that someone could fall off the deck onto Main Street below.

Longtime downtown property owner Robert Byrd criticized the Planning Commission for allowing Dondero and his co-developer and brother, Larry, to rebuild on the Union Jack site without providing required off-street parking.

But city staff planner Adam Weinstein said Union Jack had been given a waiver for the 12 parking spaces it needed and that the waiver carries through with the property. Dondero will need 15 parking spaces in accordance with parking regulations, but will contribute $57,353 to the city's parking fund in lieu of providing those three extra spaces.

Byrd said the city continues to collect payments into the parking fund but has yet to build any downtown parking. Planning Commissioner Greg O'Connor agreed.

"I think it's time for the city to grapple with its downtown parking issues," he said.

Even so, commissioners and city staff praised the architecture of the proposed building, saying it will be a major improvement for downtown Pleasanton where the fenced-off structural hole left when Union Jack was torn down has been an eyesore for years.

The new building will be between the J'aime Bridal and Rick's Picks businesses, measuring 32 feet in height with a brick facade. The roof will be composed of Mission-style tile. A bronze-colored metal trellis will cover most of the second floor.

Since Dondero's building will replace one that already had zoning approval, the Planning Commission's action is final and he can proceed with obtaining a construction permit. He said he hopes to have the building started later this year.

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4 people like this
Posted by Timothy T
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Yes! Build this restaurant then watch the denizens of downtown restrict their hours and noise so much that it becomes unprofitable to stay open.

Good luck to whatever sucker decides to lease out that space for their dream.

3 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm

I guess mr negative (Timothy T) would rather keep that vacant lot that I look at almost everyday instead of moving forward. With a good looking project!! Let the store front owners worry about dealing with the cranky neighbors, I'm sure it's going to be well thought out before moving forward.

3 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Back in '06 and '07, some people fought to preserve parts of the old Union Jack building as historical elements of Pleasanton's downtown. The owners fought hard for the right to demolish the building, citing the urgency of proceeding with new development plans. It was all rush rush into the new development and forget trying to preserve any of the historical structure. Now, it's been eight years, and the site remains vacant. Whatever historical structure there was obviously had plenty of time for preservationists to work on it. Now it is gone. A very common story, actually, the push for money and profit and the loss of something of unreplacible historical value (no matter what you think of that potential value).

Oh well. In light of the eyesore vacant lot, it seems a reasonable proposal to put in a new building there. Of course it was likely to be a restaurant, given the limits to what a business can earn in Pleasanton. (though I wonder who would want to live in an "adjacent apartment" next to a top floor party venue...)

4 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 2, 2015 at 2:56 pm

If anybody is looking to preserve an old building how about rescuing that jewelry store next to the new Starbucks, what an eyesore, it's a real shame the bulldozers stopped short of that place. Of course they rescued Kolln hardware and look what happened to that building, that bank belongs in a strip mall not downtown. Our design and review committee needs to pay a little more attention to detail and quit "rubber stamping " everything.

Like this comment
Posted by C-Student
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 2, 2015 at 4:44 pm

It seems like a bank is the only business that can afford the rent! With a net interest spread 4, it doesn't take much of a deposit base to make a go of it.

23 people like this
Posted by 2593T
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 3, 2015 at 12:28 am

At what point in time will this town find a way to be supportive of projects that could only bring more vitality to our downtown? Comments like Tim T's imply that this town is incapable of progressing. If that were the case, I would fear for all of the businesses located downtown (banks excluded since the banks seem to have the monopoly of storefronts). I walk Main St. more often than not BEFORE and/or AFTER I have had a meal there. Walking through gives me a reason to stop in at a clothing boutique, a chocolate shop, or a book store to shop. Downtown districts like Palo Alto, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, even Danville and Livermore have all figured this out already and each one of them are successful for a reason ... They have simply adapted to the times and needs of their communities.
The 725 building looks beautiful and it is clear that the developers carefully considered the aesthetics to blend in with the charm of Pleasanton. As for the apartment, I checked with Planning and rest assured John ... there is no apartment.
I would like to say I'm all for the preservation of historical buildings but let's be honest here ... Union Jack's was torn down over seven years ago ... Long before these developers stepped in and stepped up.

8 people like this
Posted by Jack
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 3, 2015 at 7:43 am

So here is another new two-story building replacing a single-story building and providing no parking? C'mon city leaders! We can build a golf course, an arts theater, and lighted sports fields, but we can't build parking Downtown? It's getting embarrassing….

6 people like this
Posted by What???
a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 3, 2015 at 8:28 am

No need for more parking. No one goes down town any more.

6 people like this
Posted by SMS
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 3, 2015 at 10:09 am

SMS is a registered user.

Yes, once again if you have the money, you can get anything passed by City Council. Our Planning Commissioners have no idea how to make Pleasanton be "the extraordinary shopping experience."

27 people like this
Posted by Sad
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 3, 2015 at 10:54 am

Our downtown is sad and depressing. I agree with the comment about the Kolln Hardware building. Are we a quaint downtown or a business park? How many more banks do we need? What a waste of space!

I went to Oasis the other week with girlfriends, left around 10pm and we were all laughing that we could literally walk down the middle of the street and not see a car or another soul. Last weekend we opted to to go Livermore for dinner and found their downtown to be leaps and bounds better than Pleasanton. C'mon city leaders, wake up!

15 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 3, 2015 at 11:20 am

Why does everyone want a parking garage downtown??? Where would you like to put an eyesore like that??? I've lived here over 40 years go downtown all the time to support our local businesses and have never had to park more than a block away from downtown!! A little walking is good for everybody. How about knocking down a couple of banks for parking spaces then you have my attention.

15 people like this
Posted by P town Pride
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 3, 2015 at 12:09 pm

I could agree more with MAP more. The majority of the time parking not an issue the only time you may to walk more than 1/2 of block is when Main street is closed for a special event and even then I maybe then I had to walk 2-3 blocks. I would walk would gladly walk much further if we had more places like the one purposed.

I think this is a step in the right direction to revitalizing our stale down town. I look forward to dinning at this cool unique and interesting restaurant and then strolling a few blocks back to my car.

15 people like this
Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm

The parking problem downtown is taking care of itself because many of us go to downtown Livermore now. Livermore has a much more vibrant downtown with more diversity in age. Sad to see downtown Pleasanton being stagnant.

There is plenty of parking in the railroad right-of-way. Even during First Wednesdays and fairs I have no trouble finding parking within a block of Main St.

9 people like this
Posted by Following the topic
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 3, 2015 at 1:13 pm

There is plenty of parking Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. Why is everyone so hung up about parking? Patrons park on a gravel lot in Livermore and then walk two or three blocks to go to their favorite eatery let alone walking from the multilevel parking structure located at the other end of downtown. A downtown is suppose to be about a community ... its suppose to be about crowds and people and activity and life. Part of the problem is that you run out of places to go in Downtown Pleasanton. The variety is getting stale. With reference to another cool place to eat...I say ... "Build it and they will come!" There is plenty of parking behind the Firehouse center and what about the grassy lot behind Coles market? Doesn't the City own that if/when we ever need it paved for additional parking? Wow folks ... that's a whole two blocks from Main St.
For what its worth ... having a parking problem would be one of the better things that could happen to Downtown Pleasanton!
Maybe that's exactly what the developers of this property should build ... a multi level parking lot right smack in the middle of Main Street with per hour rates. The parking structure can replace the empty lot just to shut all this nonsense about parking down!
Is parking that much of a premium??

3 people like this
Posted by Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2015 at 7:41 pm

In response to the comment from Jack ... Jack this is a two story building replacing a DIRT LOT.

3 people like this
Posted by oldtimer
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 3, 2015 at 8:31 pm

In defense of Jack, he was right. Yes it is a dirt lot now but only because they tore down the single story building in order to build a two-story building but they halted the project after the single story building was razed.

However, don't think we have a parking problem. Wish we actually had a parking problem as that would mean that we have more enticing stores and restaurants downtown.

Also need to look at the hours of business for the stores downtown. Most restaurants will be busy after 5pm. At that time, the hardware store is closed and the banks are closed. So not all businesses require parking resources at the same time. But any time of day or night you can find plenty of parking a block off of Main St in the railroad right of way or the theater parking lot.

8 people like this
Posted by Downtown Business Owner
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 4, 2015 at 3:10 pm

We absolutely have a downtown parking problem. Love the comments from people who clearly do not support or visit downtown regularly. If you were in downtown any weekday at noon or on a Saturday morning you would see that parking in central downtown is scarce.

The bigger problem really is the ongoing negativity that our community hurls at our beautiful downtown. You say you want vibrancy like Livermore. Great! Lets go round up all the teenagers in town and bring them downtown...because that is the majority of the people I see when I visit downtown Livermore. How about, instead, we support the businesses and support our community! We are a downtown filled with small, independent businesses and we bust our butts every day to open our doors and provide exceptional service to you. Could we use a few new restaurants? sure. Could we use a few new stores? sure. But that does not mean that what is currently downtown is less-than. 6 new restaurants have opened in downtown in the last 6 months. Have you eaten in them? Have you shopped in the retail stores? I'm going to assume your answer is no.

Please just stop beating up on our downtown. IT IS BEAUTIFUL! 99.9% of communities in our country would love to have a downtown half as nice as ours.

4 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 4, 2015 at 7:09 pm

"Downtown business owner " I agree with you 100% on everything you say except for that comment about parking. I come downtown for farmers market every Saturday and also for lunch during the week, if I can't find a spot on main to park there is always a spot one block over, I fail to see why people whine about parking!! You won't see me making that ILLEGAL U-TURN On main to snag that perfect spot or blow through that stop sign to get that spot right in front of the shop you are going to, people walk a little, it can only do you good!!

3 people like this
Posted by Al
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 5, 2015 at 9:09 am

Tear down round table and build a parking structure there. It's centrally located and is large enough for a few hundred parking spots. As someone that lives and works downtown, we absolutely need more parking and we need it now. What we don't need are any more banks, massage parlors, or Italian restaurants.

7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2015 at 9:28 am

I hope the new restaurant isn't yet another Italian restaurant!

7 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton fan
a resident of Avila
on Jun 5, 2015 at 10:42 am

I love our downtown. We come to Farmer's Market and I eat and shop downtown a lot. We also frequently hang out at Tully's for coffee. I have never had a problem with parking. Of course, for Farmer's Market, we park far away to make sure we walk! I think the atmosphere downtown is great. I'm very proud to stroll around town and show it off to visitors. It just has a nice feel to it.

2 people like this
Posted by kris
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jun 7, 2015 at 12:10 am

Have to agree with "following the topic". Stale is the correct word. It's boring, it really is... even the Wednesday night street fairs, really? Another insurance booth? Very limited on options downtown Pleasanton, but Livermore seems to have so many, and I am sorry to compare, but well... Livermore is a good example of variety and choices. Downtown P town just needs less banks please!!!!! And just a little more variety! And in support of our city planners, well we are all a bunch of babies and can't please everyone!

2 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 7, 2015 at 6:10 pm

Hey "AL" how about we forget about knocking down round table for a parking garage, bad idea, why don't we have valet parking for all the "prima donnas" who can't seem to find that perfect parking spot--- it would be cheaper than a garage, it wouldn't be a eyesore to look at, and all the whiners wouldn't have to worry about getting a little exercise!!

5 people like this
Posted by Rhonda
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 8, 2015 at 7:26 am

Plenty of parking in surrounding neighborhoods...Thanks a lot! Just what we need, more people blocking our driveways and parking on our lawns.
Last Wednesday night I could not get out of my driveway! Some jerk parked totally blocking me in. A quick call to a tow company fixed that. Turned out to be expensive parking for him I'm sure!

11 people like this
Posted by agree with Rhonda
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 8, 2015 at 9:48 am

Rhonda has is right for those of us who have to put up with the entitled idiots who block our driveways. At the concert last week an idiot blocked my driveway. The cops cited him, the tow company took his car and the a****** then came pounding on my door in a rage about it. Did you learn a lesson moron?

Funniest part is that he called for a friend to take him to the tow company but there is no way that he could redeem his car without FIRST going to the PD and paying their fine. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when he showed up thinking he could get his car.

If people are going to park in the neighborhoods, and those of us downtown mostly understand that this is going to happen, then use a little common sense and courtesy. DON'T block my driveway, DON'T trample my plants when exiting your car and DON'T even THINK that you can ask to use my bathroom just because I happen to be conveniently located.

5 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Embarassment
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2015 at 8:50 am

Let's face it, downtown Pleasanton is getting its butt kicked by downtown Livermore. It's embarrassing. Can we please kick out the current board and get the people who designed Livermore to help revitalize Pleasanton? We need things that people want: young, vibrant, energetic bars and restaurants with bands, wine and here's an idea: FUN!! Pleasanton at 10 pm on a Saturday is a ghost town while Livermore is hopping! In other words, Livermore is attracting people and making money, unlike stodgy old Pleasanton.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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