A new report by Pleasanton's Economic Vitality Committee has glowing words for our city as a place to live, work and raise our families. There are even more of us. The EVC report, presented to the City Council last Tuesday by Pamela Ott, the city's Economic Development director, says that Pleasanton has experienced rapid population growth, with an increase of 104% between 2000 and 2010, significantly higher than the East Bay and Bay Area overall.
In addition, we remain a family-focused community generally known for its quality schools and general quality of life. The city's average household size and share of family households are significantly higher than the Bay Area overall. Pleasanton's historic strength as a child-friendly community is demonstrated by a relatively high presence of children under 18 and also a high share of those in the 35 to 54 age group and in their prime working years.
Yet, according to the report, nearly half of all Pleasanton households consist of only one or two people with the share of renter households increasing. This corresponds to national trends as reported by the Urban Land Institute's March 2013 study that found that 38% of Generation Y, also known as the Millennials and between the ages of 18 to 34, anticipate residing within apartments or other compact multifamily housing units when moving. They also have an increased interest in walkable, transit served neighborhoods which have been a priority in Pleasanton's considerations over the location of the series of high density, multifamily apartment complexes recently approved.
Ott told the council that Pleasanton continues to be a relatively affluent, well-educated community. The EVC study shows that 59% of households here earn over $100,000 annually. While this is comparable to other cities in the Tri-Valley, it is significantly higher than the 39% of households in the Bay Area. There are also fewer low-income households here. A higher share of Pleasanton residents hold bachelor's or advanced college degrees than in the rest of the Tri-Valley, East Bay or Bay Area overall.
Pleasanton's employment trends are also outpacing other cities. Total employment here grew by 63% between 1995 and 2009, compared to 53% in the Tri-Valley as a whole. Jobs here are generally specialized, highly skilled and in technology sectors. Our largest employment sectors, according to the EVC, are Information Technology (IT), professional, scientific, other technology services, as well as in retail, manufacturing, finance and insurance. Newer high-growth companies such as Clorox, Workday, Oracle and Kaiser Permanente specialize in these fields. Other large Pleasanton employers include biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies such as Roche Molecular Systems, Thoratec Corporation and Life Technologies, and retailers such as Safeway and Gap. Hacienda Business Park has the largest concentration of employment in Pleasanton. Although crunched in the recent recession, Hacienda is now making a rapid recovery, Ott said.
Even venture capital is crossing the Bay from Page Mill Road in MEnlo Park, its historically strong base in the last few decades. Pleasanton is now receiving the East Bay's highest share of venture capital investment, garnering 28%, with 14 companies receiving venture capital in 2011 and 2012. These investments nationally and in Pleasanton are increasingly focused on medical companies in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device fields. In general, Ott said, "Pleasanton fills an entrepreneurship niche in information technology, life sciences and biotechnology with building stock suited to these uses, as opposed to heavier manufacturing operations."
The background report presented to the council is a base that the EVC will use to suggest how the municipal government and private sectors can better meet the needs of a growing population and high tech business ventures.
The Economic Vitality Committee, which assesses Pleasanton's business climate and reviews issues that may impact it, meets at 7:30 a.m. every other month at the city's Operations Service Center, 3333 Busch Road. Meetings are open to the public. The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 19.