DanvilleSanRamon.com

Newsfront - October 5, 2007

Town reviewing plans for south Hartz building

by Jordan M. Doronila

Alamo developer Brad Blake has submitted plans for the vacant building on the 500 block of Hartz Avenue in Danville, which most recently housed the San Ramon Valley Times.

His plans include tearing down the old structure and erecting an 11,000-square-foot, two-story building. Blake presented the proposals to the Town of Danville last month.

"The design that we have and the tenants we bring will improve the business environment in downtown Danville," Blake said. "It's consistent with the classic design of downtown Danville."

Blake, a partner of Blake Hunt Ventures, bought the property several months ago, he said. His personal company Blake BNB purchased the building. His plans include tearing down the old structure and erecting an 11,000-square-foot two-story building.

The first floor would house either a restaurant or a retail outlet, which fits into the Danville General Plan for spreading commercial business downtown. The second floor would be used as office space, Blake said.

"I purchased it because I like downtown Danville, and I hope to redevelop the property," he said, noting that buying the property was a competitive process and he secured the purchase after another buyer dropped it.

Town staff and the Danville Design Review Board will now review his plans.

"I hope the approvals would be obtained by the end of this year," said Blake. "It's up to the town."

Blake Hunt Ventures and Castle Companies own the Rose Garden Center, adjacent to Navlet's Garden Center on Camino Ramon at Sycamore Valley Road. The center's residential portion is owned by Castle. Its commercial section is a joint venture by Castle and Blake Hunt, said town planning director Kevin Gailey.

The Blake-owned building at 524 Hartz Ave. for 12 years was the home of the San Ramon Valley Times, which moved its offices to Pleasanton last year.

Blake co-founded Blake Hunt Ventures, which is based in Danville and has five partners. His company built retail projects worth more than $200 million over the past five years, and he is developing more than $300 million of retail and mixed-use, retail-residential projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California and Utah.

Other projects in the Bay Area include Olympia Place and Plaza Escuela in Walnut Creek, Plaza de San Jose, and Marin Gateway in Marin City. Blake, a Stanford graduate, grew up in Danville but now lives in Alamo.

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