The City Council is expected to move forward tonight with a proposed purchase of a vacant 3.18-acre property across from the public library that the city of San Francisco has owned since the 1930s.
The proposed acquisition comes at an opportune time. City leaders are considering relocating all city-owned buildings on the other side of Old Bernal to the Bernal Community Park.
At the same time, a task force has just been appointed to consider a long-range strategic plan for downtown Pleasanton, which includes this last 3.18-acre parcel. Uses could include an ACE train/downtown parking lot, housing, a church or retail stores. It's not a done deal but the SFPUC and Pleasanton are close on a price.
San Francisco's ownership of the acreage goes back to 1930 when it acquired Spring Valley Water Works. At the time, the properties were used for ground water extraction and water was pumped for sale outside the Pleasanton area.
When the SFPUC stopped pumping from the wells there in 1949, the land was declared surplus.
Development of the property was discussed for many years with suggested land uses ranging from industrial, commercial, office and residential uses to public and quasi-public uses such as parks, golf courses, church sites and a cemetery.
In the early 1900s, San Francisco's then-Mayor Art Agnos won a bid before the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to rezone the land for 2,600 homes, along with commercial and retail developments.
That brought Pleasanton back to the bargaining table, where it persuaded San Francisco to scale back its proposal to 1,900 homes. In exchange, Pleasanton agreed to annex the land and provide full water and sewer services.
Then Greenbriar Homes and a partner seized the opportunity to help the city and the developers.
The coalition bought the 510-acre Bernal property for $126 million, working a deal with Pleasanton leaders to receive building permits for homes, apartments and retail stores on part of the land while giving the rest — 318 acres of pristine land -- to the city of Pleasanton for public use as Bernal Community Park.
But the 3.18-acre property across from the public library was inadvertently left out of the deal Greenbriar negotiated with San Francisco.
So now,, after a long and arduous history of San Francisco finally giving Pleasanton control over the Bernal property, it comes down to a final deliberation over three acres.
The council is expected to go for it tonight.
The City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Pleasanton Civic Center, 200 Old Bernal Ave.