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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Hacienda Business Park evolves to meet demand

Uploaded: Apr 10, 2014
Since it was approved in the 1982, Hacienda Business Park has consistently evolved to accommodate changing market conditions.
As General Manager James Paxson told the Pleasanton Men's Club, the original vision for the 900-acre business center was to attract chipmakers out of the Silicon Valley. The cost of sewage treatment proved way too expensive so manufacturing went elsewhere.
To plan for the chipmakers, the business park dual-plumbed throughout for recycled water that originally was designed for the chip makers as well as irrigation. Today, given the drought and the limited water from the Delta that Zone 7 water agency is likely to deliver, utilizing that plumbing for recycled water to irrigate landscaping makes even more sense than it always has. As Bob Silva, who was responsible for overseeing construction of much of the infrastructure while working with DeSilva-Gates, remarked, the main line to serve the business park is right by the Dublin San Ramon Services District treatment plant, just awaiting a simple hookup. Using it is way overdue.
The dual plumbing is one of the many innovations that developers Joe Callahan and the Prudential Insurance Co. brought to the business park. Its key fundamentals—great location with extraordinary freeway access, BART, surrounded by a highly qualified work force—remain selling points.
Tapping into the dual plumbing is just one of the ways the park will continue to evolve. When the park celebrated its 20th anniversary more than 10 years ago, Paxson and others launched a careful examination of what uses would make sense as workplaces and communities continued to evolve. Incidentally, Paxson has spent virtually his entire professional career with the Hacienda owners association. Hacienda had rezoned land for housing in the early 1990s to allow apartments, condominiums and single-family homes.
The next step took place last year when the city rezoned several parcels for high-density residential to satisfy terms required to settle a successful law suit because Pleasanton had failed to meet its state-required housing share. That resulted in two vacant parcels within easy walking distance of the BART station being rezoned to apartments as well as a parcel in the vast parking lots of the California Center (originally AT&T's Western Regional Headquarters).
Recently, the City Council rezoned land across from Hart Middle School (which was built after another zoning adjustment—there were no education facilities originally planned within the park) to allow construction of apartments. What's different is that an existing 30-year-old building will be bulldozed. That's the first of what likely will be several out-dated buildings being knocked down to create space for other uses.
Paxson said that the park likely will end up with about 10 million square-feet of office space, while the single-story flex space (currently about 1.9 million square feet) likely will shrink.
It's an interesting contrast between Bishop Ranch in San Ramon and Hacienda. Bishop Ranch remains almost entirely under single ownership for office space (Sunset Development Co.)with some parcels that were sold to end users (Toyota, United Parcel Service, Chevron) within the 585-acre park. Much of Bishop Ranch is designed for Class A office space—Sunset has rebuilt some buildings into much smaller offices that would allow a start-up company to progress to larger spaces as it grows.
By contrast, Hacienda has 70 or more institutions or partnerships that own buildings. That precludes cooperation but is good for competition and it allows landlords to establish different niches for their real estate product.
James' overall message: the park has evolved and will continue to evolve, but will never abandon its vision as primarily an office park.

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