New records set last year continue to soar unabated in Pleasanton as 2018 gets underway.
Starting the new year, Pleasanton saw a 3.9% growth rate over last year with a current population estimated at 82,270.
The city's general fund revenues came in at $115.7 million, a 3.6% increase over the $111.7 million realized in the 2015-16 fiscal year.
At approximately $145,000 in median household incomes, Pleasanton now ranks near the top among U.S. cities with populations from 65,000 to 249,999 and has been named the country's third wealthiest city in terms of earnings in its category.
Median home prices are now $1,090,000, which is $246,000 or 29% greater than they were in 2005, the highest pre-recession year for Pleasanton's home values.
Although not the third largest city in Alameda County, Pleasanton starts the year with the third highest property valuation in the county, ranked behind only the much larger cities of Oakland and Fremont.
Pleasanton's unemployment rate stands at 3.3%, down from a high of 8.8% in 2010. Office vacancies are 6.3%, down from a high of 18.5% in 2011.
The city's general fund finished the 2016-17 fiscal year with a nearly $6.5 million surplus due to higher revenues and lower expenditures than originally estimated. The extra funds are being allocated this year to the workers compensation reserve ($1 million) with the remainder split evenly into general fund reserves, pre-fund pension liability and capital improvement program reserves.
Two major matters for Pleasanton in 2018 are the construction of a new Costco membership store on the city's northwest side and the ongoing construction of a new headquarters building for Workday on Stoneridge Mall Road, which, at six stories, will be the city's tallest building when it is completed next year.
A civil petition filed by Pleasanton Citizens for Responsible Growth, spearheaded by former City Councilman Matt Sullivan, which could block the Costco plan, is scheduled to be heard in Alameda County Superior Court early next month.
The lawsuit challenges the Pleasanton City Council's environmental clearances that would allow Costco, two hotels and other businesses to be built on a 40-acre commercial site on Johnson Drive. If the petition is denied, it's expected Costco will start building later this year and open for business in 2020.
A new six-story corporate headquarters building is under construction by Workday at 6110 Stoneridge Mall Road, next to the BART parking garage for the West Pleasanton/Dublin station and across from Stoneridge Shopping Center.
When completed in early 2019, the new architecturally striking, 410,000-square-foot building will be Pleasanton's tallest office building, accommodating an estimated 2,000 employees, including many of Workday's software developers and a new customer center.
A multi-story parking garage for employees is under construction on the Interstate 580 side of the new building.
Workday corporate communications representative Allison Kubota points out that the company's properties are an extension of its culture.
"For example, our properties use our Workday brand colors on walls and furniture," she said. "We have cloud-like walls that include different words, supporting our culture and core values."
Last year, Workday bought the office building at 5928 Stoneridge Mall Road and the adjacent former Safeway headquarters building.
More than 3,100 employees now work for Workday in Pleasanton, a fast-growing on-demand financial management and human capital management software company founded by CEOs Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri in 2005. Workday has its roots in the former PeopleSoft company that was acquired by Oracle, also one of Pleasanton's largest companies.
Workday also is funding a new joint BART/Pleasanton police service center on the ground floor of the BART parking garage to support law enforcement efforts.
"Workday's general confidence in Pleasanton and its investment in this area of the city has served as a catalyst for additional redevelopment," said Nelson Fialho, Pleasanton's city manager.
"For example," he added, "investors purchased the adjacent Sheraton hotel at 5990 Stoneridge Mall Road in mid-2017 with plans to renovate the property under the Marriott hotel flag in 2018 to leverage the travel activity created by Workday's training programs."
Stoneridge Shopping Center
Workday's investment, the new police substation and increased commuter traffic at the west BART station may also affect future development plans for Stoneridge Shopping Center.
Representatives of the mall's owner, Simon Properties, have made overtures about pursuing expansion plans already approved by the city with more retail, entertainment, parking and even some compatible housing developments.
These could be on the Workday building side of the mall with the possibility of relocating Nordstrom to the Sears store side of the center.
"The good news for 2018 is that in its most recent announcement of more store closings, the two Macy's stores at Stoneridge were not on the list," Fialho added.
Plus, Simon's interest in expanding the mall shows that Stoneridge is still on Simon's investment list, along with the San Francisco Premium Outlets in Livermore, which it also owns.
Across town at Stoneridge Drive and El Charro Road, the new Pacific Pearl Asian-focused community shopping center will officially open in late spring.
Developers say the Pacific Pearl center will meet demand from the growing number of Asian-Americans living in and near the Tri-Valley. Asian-Americans make up 30% of the population living within 10 miles of the site, according to the developer.
The 112,000-square-foot shopping center, owned by Blake|Griggs Properties, Inc., and managed by Vestar, will cater to a wide array of customers and tastes, with its tenant mix curated to serve Pleasanton's growing Asian community.
The center, already 100% leased, will be anchored by 99 Ranch Market. Its 85°C Bakery Cafe is already open.
Although the Pleasanton Downtown Association canceled its long-running 1st Wednesday Street Parties event next summer, a new calendar of special events will keep the downtown and PDA's 600-member businesses active in 2018.
The St. Patrick's Day Brew Crawl will be held on March 17, followed by the Easter-time Bunny Hop scavenger hunt on March 31. The always-popular Wine Stroll will be held earlier this year and on a Saturday evening, May 19.
Also planned for July is Spoonful, a spinoff of Forkful held last fall. It will be a culinary event where participants walk to various restaurants for a taste of different cuisine, along with a beer or wine sampling.
"The PDA will also spend a good part of this year planning and preparing for a large festival that we'll basically do in the summer of 2019," said Laura Olson, PDA's executive director. "I don't have a lot of details yet, or dates. But we plan to make this a really great weekend festival."
Also downtown, a new two-story restaurant is under construction at 725 Main St., being developed by Robert Dondero, who lives in Pleasanton. An operator for the restaurant and the type of food it will serve has not yet been announced.
Café Main at 401 Main St. has been sold. Olson said a new breakfast/lunch cafe will open there this spring with changes to the building to accommodate more diners.
Across Angela Street, a new restaurant called Wildwood will open soon in the space where High Tech Burrito once was. It will feature California-Mexican cuisine in a casual setting.
Color Me Mine will move out of Stoneridge Mall and back onto Main Street this month, replacing Berry Patch, which closed last October when owner Liz Gauvette retired.
"This is a great place for people to hone their pottery skills and then have their creations put in a kiln and glazed," Olson said.
Sidetrack, another new restaurant, will open this summer once the former Panda and Joy China restaurants building is rebuilt at 30 W. Angela St. It will feature family-style cuisine during the day and a full bar during dinner and for late-night entertainment.
"We always have a tremendous amount of interest in our downtown from potential business owners," Olson said. "The trick is to make the perfect match with the right space and the right business."
Civic Center/Downtown Specific Plan Update
Gerry Beaudin, director of the city's Community Development Department, is spearheading a task force that is expected to complete a rewrite of Pleasanton's Downtown Specific Plan this summer. The new plan will better dovetail with the city's General Plan and will also make recommendations on the redevelopment of the current Civic Center site.
Beaudin said a key mission of the task force is to mesh downtown development plans with those by the city to relocate the Pleasanton civic center, police station and library to Bernal Community Park from their current site between Main Street and Bernal and Old Bernal avenues.
That would make the current site available for sale for private development to help pay the costs of building a new civic complex.
The task force recommendations will go to the City Council later this year, which will decide whether to take the plan to voters in a special election next year or wait until 2020.
Beaudin said work will continue this year on other city priorities, including:
* Final planning for an 87-home development at Stanley Boulevard/First Street, with a 1.64-acre portion reserved for Sunflower Hill, a residential complex for special needs adults.
* Construction of the second phase of Kottinger Gardens senior housing.
* Continuing to move forward with design, construction and technology improvements that improve traffic circulation.
On the development front, new housing construction has slowed with most of the high-density units required by a court order and the state now built and occupied.
Still, several projects will get underway or be completed this year, including:
* A 36-home development on a 9-acre Valley Trails site where the Evangelical Free Church will be torn down.
* Completion of 43 homes on 19.9 acres of Lund Ranch II, a 194-acre site in the southwest corner of the city, with the rest of the land designated permanent open space for public use.
More housing development still could come. The state legislature introduced 130 bills last year to require more housing to meet California demands, especially for so-called affordable housing.
"Fifteen of those got signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown," said Scott Raty, president of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce. "Most of them won't do a darn thing to make housing more affordable."
"Still, I think the challenge will be for municipalities to provide their share of affordable housing," he added. "We have to make sure our planning takes into consideration this challenge."