Kottinger Gardens gets final OK after 11 years of planning

185-unit, affordable-priced development to replace aging Kottinger Place, Pleasanton Gardens

The construction of the first phase of a new 185-unit, affordable-priced housing development for seniors will get underway in March, thanks to the final approval of the long-awaited project by the Pleasanton City Council.

The pre-development report with its final recommendations also marked the disbandment of the Kottinger Place Redevelopment Task Force that was formed in early 2004 and has labored through scores of meetings to replace and expand aging Kottinger Place and Pleasanton Gardens. At times, applicants for an apartment in one of these facilities had to wait five years before their reservation number came up.

To be called Kottinger Gardens, the new cottage apartments and units in a new three-story building on the expanded Kottinger Place site on Vineyard Avenue will be built in phases with the garden apartments coming first.

Seniors now living in Kottinger Place, some in their 90s, will have their belongings packed up free of charge and relocated to a similar facility, possibly in Livermore or Dublin, while those apartments are constructed. Then they'll be moved back into the new units, complements of Foster City-based MidPen Housing Corporation, the developer. They'll also have priority to move into the three-story apartment building if they choose after it gets built, which will come in a following project phase.

Work on Pleasanton Gardens, across Kottinger Drive, will be the final phase of MidPen's housing development, which again will require demolition of the existing 1960s-age buildings. At that time, the street will be narrowed at that location, speed bumps added and special pedestrian walkways installed between the two new properties.

This new development best meets the objectives to increase subsidized senior housing in Pleasanton while retaining the existing site character, achieving financial efficiency and sustainability and developing a site plan that is complimentary to the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

Final approval of the project came with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development authorizing the land it controlled to be transferred to the city of Pleasanton so that a single development with centralized management could be planned. The $60 million development will be funded primarily through federal tax dollars with a contribution of $13.7 million from Pleasanton's lower-income housing fund.

Rather than search for new land for the development, the task force determined that it would make sense to tear down the old buildings which lack modern amenities, such as air conditioning, and keep everything on the current site. Located near First Street, it is also close to parks, grocery stores, pharmacies and public transit.

MidPen will operate the housing development with a 30-year lease that is renewable. The city of Pleasanton will own the land.

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