Senior housing to be razed, rebuilt, expanded | October 19, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - October 19, 2012

Senior housing to be razed, rebuilt, expanded

City to replace Pleasanton Gardens, Kottinger Place

by Jeb Bing

Kottinger Place and Pleasanton Gardens, two of the city's aging, subsidized affordable housing developments for qualified older residents, will be torn down in phases over the next two years and replaced with larger, upgraded apartment buildings that will accommodate nearly twice as many who live there now.

That was the decision of the Pleasanton City Council on Tuesday night as it approved a predevelopment analysis report, giving exclusive negotiating rights to Foster City-based Mid-Peninsula Housing, the developer, owner and manager of more than 90 properties with 25% senior communities.

MidPen, as the company is called, has been meeting with the Kottinger Place Redevelopment Task Force to determine project priorities. With council approval, MidPen will now prepare a site plan for a new Kottinger Place development between Kottinger Drive and Vineyard Avenue, and including the aging Regalia House that will also be razed.

Current development estimates for the two sites range from $59 million to $62.8 million with a city contribution from its senior housing fund of $8.2 million.

New housing on both sites will be largely single story units with far more kitchen, bathroom and closet space than the units now have and with upgrades in electricity and plumbing, including air conditioning. Some of the buildings on what is now the Kottinger Place site will be two stories in height with a few rising to three stories, with elevators. When completed, the apartments will accommodate 189 tenants.

When completed, the two sites will likely share a common name, yet to be decided, and be jointly managed under the auspices of the city. Social service aides and other senior-focused services will be housed in the new facility.

Although the City Council, task force and Housing Commission have now approved the preliminary MidPen plan, the developer will come back with a more detailed plan as to how to proceed. One criteria imposed by the group is that no one will be displaced because of the construction, with tenants, who range in age to their 90s, being able to stay in place or move to temporary housing nearby at the developer's cost.

The sprawled out, mostly single story campuses on both sides of Kottinger Drive are totally different from earlier proposals that called for closing Pleasanton Gardens and selling the site and building a multi-story, high density apartment building to replace the cottages at Kottinger Place.

Because there was no unanimity on the task force and among other groups, plans for addressing the poorly insulated, small senior apartments have been stalled for years. Only recently was MidPen called in to help the redevelopment proposal, partly because the current City Council wanted this project among its accomplishments before turning over the governing reins to a newly elected mayor and council on Dec. 4.

For 40 years, Kottinger Place and Pleasanton Gardens have provided homes for senior residents with their campuses located less than a block from Cole's market on First Street and only a long block farther from downtown Pleasanton.

"My grandmother was at Kottinger Place for many years and she loved it," Mayor Jennifer Hosterman said Tuesday night. "What we've had there is truly amazing. And as for how long it's taken to develop a final plan, well, that's 'the Pleasanton Way.'"

Dolores Bengtson agreed.

"I've been on this task force for eight years and it's great to reach agreements with everyone involved, including neighbors," she said. "This plan also gives us the flexibility for maintaining as much open space as possible; even a community garden might go there. That would be a match made in heaven."

Besides Hosterman, City Council members added their praise of the agreement reached with MidPen.

Cheryl Cook-Kallio: "Everyone who has touched this project and looked at did a fantastic job."

Cindy McGovern: "This could probably be the best project we have ever done."

Jerry Thorne: "I remember working on this way back when I was on the Parks and Recreation Commission. I'm glad to see it now happening."

Matt Sullivan: "The task force has been working through this process since 2004. That's a long time to serve on a committee, but they've accomplished something very positive at the end of the day."


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