Livermore Cuts Ties With Lennar in Downtown Mixed Use Development

The saga continues… City Council did not extend the 9-month contract with Lennar Multi-Family Communities, ending the year long relationship. As some might recall, this time last year a number of developers were asked to present plans for the former Lucky Supermarket site, now a half dirt parking lot between First and Railroad Avenue. Lennar was selected as the developer who would then work with City staff, Council, and the community to come up with a final plan. Unfortunately, Lennar didn’t get that opportunity due to the November elections. With fresh Council members, the project is back to square one.

Development is always tricky, you are asking a community of people who already have homes in that area to decide on more people, more traffic, more impact on services; rarely does a community gather to encourage more housing and more people when their needs are met. While I do believe the project should be carefully planned to reflect the actual needs of the community, the wants and priorities of those closest to the situation may not actually understand the real needs of the greater market and what is actually marketable.

For example, we know Livermore is a sought-after community, filling apartments and condos is no problem. However, we have no idea if a 130-room hotel will ever sell out or if a 75,000 square  retail center will find an anchor store. In fact, Livermore traditionally has not supported big-box retail outside of the “freeway zone” and vacancy rates of the local hotels are not low enough for hoteliers to be attracted to building a new facility, downtown or otherwise. The market will dictate what makes economic sense, someone just needs to be listening.

Link to EBT Article


Ikea Purchases Dublin Land

Yes, this is 2016 not 2005. Doesn’t this story sound eerily familiar?

Ikea has purchased a 25 acre parcel encompassed by Hacienda Drive to the east, Martinelli Drive to the North and I-580 to the South. This is the site Ikea sold to Blake Hunt Ventures back in 2006.

The 2006 sale was sudden, Ikea siting the Emeryville and East Palo Alto locations sufficiently serviced their East Bay clients and the need for Dublin had diminished. At that point, the Ikea site was just just 14 acres with plans for a 230,000 square foot store. Blake Hunt Ventures, a prominent retail and residential developer, owned the neighboring parcel slated for residential development. The purchase of the Ikea site nearly doubled the size of BHV original development plans.

Fast forward to 2015.

Blake Hunt Ventures was delivered a blow mid-2015 when the City of Dublin shot down the mixed residential and retail development plan. It become increasingly clear that residential was not going to future for the site. In walks Ikea. After a short escrow period Ikea closes the deal in early March 2016.

The new plan? A 339,000 square foot store, equipped with a restaurant and children’s play area on approximately 21 acres. The remainder 6 acres could accommodate up to 52,000 square feet of retail or ancillary development.  If approved by the City of Dublin the targeted opening date is mid-2018.

Registry Article on Ikea

Ikea Dublin


San Francisco Premium Outlets Expansion

The San Francisco Premium Outlets have become shoppers favorite spot. Now, 3 years since they opened, these outlets are going to become even more popular! The SF Premium outlets are expanding their variety of brands and have plans to incorporate 50 more stores into their 185,000 square-foot multi-million dollar expansion. Thirty- five of these new brands are expected to open up on August 13. Get your walking shoes on and your credit cards ready because some new 35 stores include:

  • Dsquared
  • A/X Armani Exchange
  • CH Carolina Herrera
  • Ermenegildo Zegna
  • Jimmy Choo
  • Rag & Bone New York
  • Scotch & Soda
  • Ted Baker London
  • Tory Burch
  • UGG Australia
  • Versace
  • Vince

The SF premium Outlets are located at 2774 Livermore Outlets D. in Livermore.


Stoneridge Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Relocating from Dublin

For those driving past the the now empty Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge dealership at the end of Amador Plaza Road in Dublin, don’t fret, it will not be vacant for long.

Stoneridge Dodge Jeep is in the process of moving to a brand new facility near the outlets in Livermore. Easily seen from I-580 on the Pleasanton side of Fallon Road, there is a beautiful new grey building taking shape. The moving trucks seen earlier in the week at the old Dublin dealership were parked over the weekend at the new facility.

In addition to Stoneridge Dodge Jeep relocating to Fallon Road, CarMax is planning a new location on a neighboring site on the Fallon Road corridor. No word on when CarMax plans to begin construction.

Retail and Office Buildings For Sale – San Ramon, Livermore, Danville

I am often asked why there seem to be no “small” buildings in the Tri-Valley market and why more of these “s234 mainmall” buildings do not come to market for sale. The most requested size range for the small business owner is 5,000 to 10,000 square feet, which constitutes a small building; especially when comparing to the half million square foot buildings commonly found in Bishop Ranch.

Due to living in such a suburban market, the majority of the shopping centers and office projects are planned and built as one large parcel that may contain multiple buildings. As opposed to an urban and older markets which had the tendency to be developed by individual owners to accommodate their needs. The larger the parcel, the more square footage, the more rents collected, the bigger the price tag. Thus, the inventory of free-standing buildings within a smaller size range more suited for small business owners are far and few in suburban markets (like the Tri-Valley) and more plentiful in urban markets.

Lately we have seen an influx of owner/user office and retail buildings come to market. These range in price from $1 million to $7 million. One of my favorite buildings being a 9,000 square foot two-story building in San Ramon once occupied by a bank but would make for a great medical building. Pleasanton has a beautiful multi-tenant retail building in downtown, a trophy for any real estate investor. Surprisingly, Danville has a couple options as well! Dublin remains very tight, with virtually no inventory of small retail and office buildings readily available for purchase.

Due to confidentiality reasons I am not able to share specific details on these properties.

If you are looking for a building, as a business owner or investor, retail, office, medical, or mixed-use, please feel free to contact me for a comprehensive market survey.

Tri-Valley Year End Retail Review

The long awaited market rebound has finally come to fruition. It has been a slow moving train but vacancy rates all across the Tri-Valley have stabilized at five-year lows. In addition to vacancy rates dropping dramatically, there has been a boom in new construction. Unfortunately, the additional inventory and quick absorption of this new space does not translate into the numbers. When analyzing the numbers, they are actually better than extremely positive results illustrated. Large deals such as Hobby Lobby and the copious amount of shop space being absorbed at Fallon Gateway are just a few examples of emerging new businesses helping to elevate 2014 into an exceptional year in retail leasing.

The story of 2014, and a trend that will continue in 2015, is residential development. Land and redevelopment acquisitions for residential purposes dominated the market. From Taylor Morrison’s 210 detached and attached housing projects in downtown Livermore to Trumark Homes, 184-acre, 805 single family homes in Dublin; residential deals are larger and more aggressive than we have seen in years.

-Jessica Mauser, Associate & Retail Specialist

Editor’s note in regards to Downtown Danville vacancy: The jump of about four percent may seem alarming, but the numbers are skewed due to Danville Hotel redevelopment.


Deconstruction Underway in Pleasanton on I-680

Clorox Former Site

If you have driven down 680 lately and looked east, you might notice the half torn down building near the Stoneridge off ramp. This is the former Clorox campus which was relocated a few years back to 4900 Johnson Drive, just a few blocks closer to Hacienda Business Park.

The former campus is comprised of 14 acres, 900 feet of freeway frontage, and just under 300,000 square feet of existing building structures. The property was purchased by a local commercial property owner and developer, Nearon Enterprises back in Q2 of 2013.

The site will be redeveloped and a number of retailers have been rumored to have interest, including Costco. There have been no official plans released as of yet but clean-up of the site is well underway.

Tri-Valley Retail Market Continues to Burn

Exciting times if you work in the retail side of commercial real estate. We are seeing deals in all shapes and sizes, something we thought may never happen after the massacre of ’08… errr… I mean economic downturn. New development, old development, partially developed, the train is moving full steam ahead.

Vacancy is extremely low and prices have most certainly jumped by over 20% in most places and even closer to 30% in select pockets. Keep a finger on the mouse, more new posts to come, including some of the hot lease and sale opportunities currently on the market.

P.S. – I hope everyone has had a chance to discover Gotta Eatta Pita. They have two locations, Danville and Pleasant Hill with a location coming soon in Pleasanton near Hopyard and Owens Drive. I am in no way affiliated with the company they are just my favorite new quick serve restaurant. I promise you will not be disappointed!


City Center San Ramon Plan Unveiling

So much to blog about and so little time! A few weeks back I was one of about one-hundred and fifty attendees at Dougherty Valley High School for the unveiling of the San Ramon City Center plans. It was a great presentation, topped with the perfect character telling the story of how the project has come to fruition across an ocean and on a different continent.  The main speaker was the architect on the project, Antonio Belvedere, a partner at the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Genoa. He went through a very detailed story of projects that his firm has designed prior to leaping into the downtown development we know as City Center.

The entire project is built around an approximately 100′ by 400′ yard piazza, and this piazza will be the center off all shopping, dining, and entertainment. The total shop space was estimated at 350,000 square feet and will be dedicated to just retail and restaurants on two levels. There will be no office or hotel in this phase, that will come in phase two.


Phase one will begin construction in 2015, which include the demolition of a couple office buildings nearest to Whole Foods. Phase one will span from Bishop Drive east to Camino Ramon. To clarify, the raw land on Bollinger Canyon and Camino Ramon will be phase two, consisting of hotel and office space which does not have a development date set.

“The project is entirely conceived around a generous piazza surrounded by six pavilions of varying sizes,” Piano has been quoted in previous press releases. “All of the pavilions have a direct relationship to the piazza and each of them contributes to animate it.”

As you drive by the new downtown, referred to as The Plaza District, there will be direct line of sight into the piazza because the walls will be glass. A multi-level parking garage will be on the east side of the project, incorporated into the design of the center, not a separate free standing garage you may find at a BART station. Overall, the plans are amazing and true work of beauty. The amount of detail that has been dedicated to making this the crown jewel of the I-680 corridor is obvious. As more plans become available I believe the community will be pleased with the vision Sunset Development has for San Ramon’s downtown.

San Ramon Getting Closer to New Downtown Development

As reported in the Sf Business Times, architect Renzo Piano will be part of the creative team designing Sunset Developments mixed-use retail project that will be the epicenter of San Ramon. The downtown project is being called City Center.

Sunset Development is a visionary, their plans to create a downtown destination with top-notch shopping, dining, and entertainment has been in the works for over a decade. When the economy took a hit the plans went on hold but were never shelved. It is no surprise the project is full steam ahead given the success new developments such as Fallon Gateway in Dublin (Phase I sold out and phase II well on its way to selling out). Not to mention, San Ramon grew by leaps and bounds pre-recession, with very little supporting retail. San Ramon stands as the first community within the Tri-Valley to see vacancy rates of the office park drop to single digits. Pleasanton’s Hacienda Business Park is still working to achieve these types of numbers.

“Plans for City Center call for retail, housing and hotel. Piano will design the first phase comprised of 350,000 square feet of retail including a movie theater, restaurants, and shops.” SF Biz Times, Blanca Torres.

Renzo Piano is known world wide for his excellence in design. He was the force behind the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. City Center goes before Planning Commission in mid-June with a first phase expected opening date in 2016.

Click here for Biz Times article

Sideboard Restaurant In Danville Plans For Relocation

The Danville Hotel has long been slated for redevelopment, thus the various businesses located within the project have slowly made their way to new locations. The final business to leave will be Sideboard Restaurant who is rumored to have signed a lease after months of searching.

Sideboard’s is said to have signed a lease at 90 Railroad Avenue, just across the street from the Trader Joe’s shopping center. You might remember this little grey building used to be an old house and was recently redeveloped into a two building project. I have heard the new digs includes a nice big patio area.

Congrats to Sideboard and let the construction begin at Danville Hotel!

Danville hotel


Nordstrom Rack Finally Lands a Tri-Valley Location

Nordstrom Rack has long been looking for the perfect Tri-Valley location. It was rumored they had been negotiating for space at both Fallon Gateway and potentially the second phase of Livermore Premium Outlets. But alas, they have found their new location, one that does not exist yet! They will be part of the opening phase of The Village at Dublin located on the corner of Dublin Blvd and Hacienda Drive.

The Transit oriented center was planned pre-recession days. Of course the look, size, feel, and tenant line-up has completed changed. You might remember Ikea was planning a store in this area before downturn, as was Whole Foods. Whole Foods has stood that stand of time and will be the grocery anchor to the center but the Ikea deal blew up about the time the market hit rock bottom.

With Whole Foods as an anchor and Nordstrom rack as a shadow anchor, I would expect this to be a very busy retail center with many national retailers and restaurants. Regency Centers is the developer who will be developing the center and own other assets in the East Bay including Tassajara Crossings in Danville (Safeway anchored center near Blackhawk) and a portion of the Diablo Plaza (also Safeway anchored) on Crow Canyon in San Ramon. In addition, Regency owns retail centers in Walnut Creek, Clayton, Pleasant Hill, and Emeryville.

There is no doubt the new center will command the highest rents in town. We have seen the high water marks created by Fallon Gateway (@ Fallon and I-580) and Gateway Pleasanton (@ Bernal Ave. and I-680) in excess of $4.00 per square foot, monthly ($48.00 psf annually). I would very much expect to see small shop space at or near $5.00 per square foot, monthly ($60.00 psf annually).

My guess as to who will be the next big box tenants to announce new stores? Home Goods and Buybuy Baby are strong candidates, watch for either of these stores to pop up in the new Village center or Fallon Gateway.

Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek Gives Tenants the Boot

The redevelopment plans have been in the works for a years but the landlord, Macerich, has given some tenants the final warning and move-out date of January 31, 2014.

Business owners located between Macy’s and Nordstrom in what is called the “back forty” are the main targets of the massive move-out. Many more tenants within the center will be affected by the redevelopment than just the “back forty”. Tenants such as Victoria’s Secret will be downsized during the renovation but will be moved into a larger store than they currently occupy upon completion.

Broadway Plaza

Another moving tenant is Davidson & Licht, you might have noticed they are setting up a new storefront on N. Main Street and Mt. Diablo, very near the Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Company. No doubt, many, if not all of the businesses within the plaza have known about the upcoming renovation and their need for relocation for some time.

The SF Business Times has an extensive article about the project that you can read HERE


Pleasanton Continues to See New Development

With the success of Pleasanton Gateway on Bernal and I-680, it looks as though developers have restored faith in Pleasanton’s commercial real estate market. Reported by the Contra Costa Times, the city’s Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 345-apartments accompanied by 39,000 square feet of retail on the vacant 16 acre lot on the corner of Stanley Boulevard and Bernal Avenue. This piece of land was rezoned in 2012 for high-density multifamily development.

As many might remember, Pleasanton had to rezone many areas to meet the city’s regional housing needs after the Superior Court ruling in 2010 overturned Pleasanton’s housing cap.

City Council still has to give final approval of the project.

Vintage 8.13 – UPDATED! Check out the property brochure!

What Should Go Here?

Johnson Drive

Do you know this area? Stoneridge Road and I-680 is the former campus of Clorox. This is within a mile of the 580/680 interchange and east of Stoneridge Mall. Johnson Drive has a variety of businesses including FedEx, Club Sport, Black Tie Limo’s, Patio World, and hodge-podge of others. If you follow the street along the 580 street front you will find Home Depot, In-N-Out, BevMo, and Smart & Final.

The outlined areas in red used to belong to Clorox who has recently sold the parcels to a local developer. This local developer has a bit of everything in their portfolio, retail, office, medical, and industrial. I would like to think of them as having no limits on what they can build.

My question to you is this: What should go here?

It is already made clear the current use an office complex will not be the future and there is quite a bit of speculation of who might be interested in the location. Big box names like Costco have been in the rumor mill, along with a host of other retailers. Would residential condo’s or apartments work here? The residential concept seemed to work just across the freeway. Or is another medical center needed? You tell me, what would you support, or perhaps not support, at this location?