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San Ramon City Hall to break ground next month

Original post made on Aug 22, 2014

The ground-breaking of the long-awaited new San Ramon City Hall building is set for Sept. 9 at Central Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 21, 2014, 4:19 PM

Comments (27)

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Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on Aug 22, 2014 at 8:49 am

So bummed I'll have to drive by that ugly building every day. Oh well. I suppose I can just shut my eyes as I drive by so I don't have to look at it.

Wouldn't it be great if someday people stop building things that look like they belong in 1972?

Could they at least not put up that big goofy San Ramon symbol on the side wall?


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Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 22, 2014 at 11:26 am

Well Herman Glates, you may not have to look at it, but you sure an hell will have to pay for it.

Thanks for listening, Julia Pardini from Alamo


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Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm

The S.R. city council simply accepted Alex Mehran's/Sunset Development's design & didn't even ask for several alternative designs from which to choose. What San Ramon got is quite predictable and banal, and it does look like something out of the 70's, maybe even the 60's. The S.R. city council really dropped the ball on this one, but that is nothing new.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 25, 2014 at 6:20 am

I like the design. It's about time that a city of 75,000 plus residents had a real city hall instead of that little place in office park near the old Lucky's.

Maybe you didn't read the earlier article, but Sunset is paying to build this in exchange for the two parcels of land. The city is not paying anything. No debt and no cash for a new building. Its a great way to get a new city hall we can afford.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 25, 2014 at 1:09 pm

It is pure obfuscation to claim that San Ramon is not paying anything for the city hall. The land that the city sold to Sunset had a value; it is unknown if the city received fair market value for that land. There lacks transparency and clear accounting here. Is that too much to ask?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 25, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Yes, the land has value. So does the new building.

The value of the land was set at the time it was transferred to the city more than 15 years ago. There was a formula that established the value of the land. The city had to build on the land or make it available to Sunset Development according to the agreement.

The open market price or fair market value of the land was never part of the agreement. The price was set by formula.

You can contact either Sunset or the City staff to get the formula for determining the value of the land. It is not a secret, I just don't know the what the formula is.

In exchange for the land, Sunset is building the new City Hall at no additional cost to the city.

The city will sell the old city hall and use that money to completely renovate and expand the floor space of the library across the street.

When all is complete, the city will have a new city hall and essentially a new library with no cash coming our of the reserves or general fund.

Sunset will have two parcels to build on for the new city center and some more offices.


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Posted by Local
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Resident - thank you for making this situation much clearer.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

It is still totally unclear and unresolved, whether or not the city of San Ramon ever got fair market value for the land it sold to Sunset Development.


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Posted by LT Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 29, 2014 at 6:34 am

As stated above on Aug 25 at 4:06, the city did not get the fair market value for the land. They got a little over $15 million for the two parcels. That value was established by formula that was established at the time the city received the parcels from Sunset more than 15 years ago.

Like it or not, fair market value was not considered in this transaction. The city got the value based on the formula from long ago.


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Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 29, 2014 at 7:09 am

Cutting to the chase here? This will be a big plus for much needed space for the City and I'm pleased the design fits in with Bishop Ranch. I'd sure like to see some artificial turf in place of grass though, unless it's a native/drought tolerant variety that can be utilized!) This whole project was a "deal" of sorts all the way around and I'm real pleased it's FINALLY coming to fruition through much effort of MANY people and quite a number of years gone by now. I may not like FARIA? I may not like the KB monstrosity on Norris between Camino Ramon & Alcosta (could use a heck of a better frontage setback that it has!? But this? I LIKE. Looking forward to its completion!!!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 29, 2014 at 4:03 pm

The following quote is bizarre to say the least:

"As stated above on Aug 25 at 4:06, the city did not get the fair market value for the land. They got a little over $15 million for the two parcels. That value was established by formula that was established at the time the city received the parcels from Sunset more than 15 years ago."

The next quote is even more bizarre, and begs some obvious questions:

"Like it or not, fair market value was not considered in this transaction. The city got the value based on the formula from long ago."

That land had a fair market value that is quantifiable by an appropriately certified appraiser. If the value of that land was not determined by an appraisal acceptable say for tax purposes, then it is not possible to say with any credibility that the city got a good deal. Some murky formula does not make null & void the necessity to properly value (in U.S. Dollars, not wampum or beads)the land involved in the transaction. Or am I simply stating the obvious. If the fair market value was in reality 25 million, does some city staff member or government functionary have the authority on their own to disregard the difference between fair market value and actual selling price?---clearly not.

Again these following very strange quotes beg for an explanation: "the city did not get the fair market value for the land." "Like it or not, fair market value was not considered in this transaction."

This is clearly perplexing.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 29, 2014 at 10:44 pm

While it might be interesting to know what the fair market value for the land is, that value would play no part in the transaction between these two parties.

The value was set more than 15 years ago when the land was transferred to the city from Sunset. The city had to use the land for it's own purposes or offer it back to Sunset at the formula price. That price is a little over $15 million. This entire transaction is set by signed contract between the two parties many years ago. Any other price would not be according to the contract. Sunset won't pay more and the city won't take less.

Also, I don't know what tax purpose you are referring to.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm

The city of San Ramon has a fiduciary responsibility to fairly and properly manage city owned assets. The city does not have the justifiable legal authority to sell one of it's assets, for example a parcel of land for significantly less than fair market value. A complicated "formula" does not change that basic fact. The argument that the transaction took place 15 years ago does not change the essence of the transaction either.

The basic thing here is did the city of San Ramon receive fair market value for the land. Dancing around that basic principal might fool some of the residents, but won't fool all the residents.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by LT Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 1, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Resident-you don't seem to understand contract law. There was a signed legal contract between the city and Sunset development regarding the two properties. Sunset paid the contract price for the two parcels. A contract is a contact. Demanding a higher price would have sent the city to court by Sunset to uphold the contract.


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Posted by Other Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 1, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Resident - you may be right. Do you think that there is corruption in city hall or just incompetence? If they are corrupt, you ought to bring you evidence to the county District Attorney so he can investigate. If you are right, they must be getting paid off by Sunset, otherwise why would they take a lower value for the property?

You could bring all of the city hall crooks to justice. The City Council, Mayor, City Manager, City Attorney and Planning Director all must be in this together. You could make a clean sweep and be a hero.

Please call the DA soon, before they go too far.


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Posted by Another Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 2, 2014 at 6:18 am

Resident - don't bother with the DA, call the FBI! Their #1 criminal priority is investigating public corruption. They have the resources to get those corrupt politicians and city staff and put them in jail. They can get all 5 council members since they voted 5-0 to accept the Sunset offer for the land. They can probably get the Planning Commission too since they also voted 5-0 to support the plan.

Sunset must have spread a lot of money around to get such a great deal!


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by LT Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 2, 2014 at 8:01 am

Please call the FBI Resident is you think that there is corruption or other malfeasance in San Ramon. Their number in San Francisco is (800) 376-5991.

You may be right about this. The land is probably worth more than $1,000,000 per acre and there are 18 acres involved in this transaction. the city only got $15M for the land. There is $3M of value unaccounted for. Surely, someone got paid off to get such a good deal.


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Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 2, 2014 at 8:45 am

You two are wholly amusing. Thanks for the morning laugh...


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Posted by Roger Rabbit
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 2, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Without a fair market value appraisal by a certified and qualified appraiser, there is no valid way to determine the fairness of the transaction. It is astonishing that a government body would proceed into such a transaction without a proper appraisal, in spite of the above comments.


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Posted by Confused resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm

I can't tell who is arguing with whom, here, and seemingly arguing simply for the sake of argument. What is is about the work "Contract" you don't seem to understand? No matter what definition you use, the words "legally binding" will appear.


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Posted by LT Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Why would the city take less than "fair market value"?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Attorney
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 3, 2014 at 9:25 am

It was a contract rate. There is no re-negotiating. The appraised value as of 2014 was 16.2 million. ok?


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Posted by Ms. bunny
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 4, 2014 at 8:40 am

Thanks "attorney" I wondered how long this was going to go on here...(lol) This information was stated "long ago and far away". No mystery. No deception.


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Posted by Susan
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 9, 2014 at 7:12 am

My main concern is the fact that City Council has now removed the basketball and skate park to build City Hall. Really?!? With all of that open space for Sunset to build a shopping complex our City officials decide to take away our recreational land for a building no one will ever really use! Was alternative park space ever a consideration? So disappointing, but not surprising for City Goverment officials.


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Posted by LT Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 9, 2014 at 7:40 am

The skate park will reopen where it is after repairs. The basket ball courts will be removed and replaced elsewhere in the park.

The city hall will be used for decades to come by staff and the public. There will be a larger council chamber and an Emergency Operations Center as well as offices. If you have been to a council meeting lately, you will realize that the current chamber is inadequate for a city this size.

Taking away space from Sunset will reduce the space for housing, retail and the hotel. This reduces revenues that provide the funds for park maintenance and police protection.


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Posted by Susan
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 12, 2014 at 12:04 am

LT resident - I appreciate your feedback, however from what I read about the skatepark it will be diminished in size and I can't help but wonder if one of the soccer fields will end up being removed for the basketball courts. To my knowledge the soccer clubs pay the city for the use of those fields which are a source of income for the city as well. In regards to the use of City Hall, I bet the public will only be using it for what they do now, school tours and council meetings. Although I do have to concur that the current council chamber does not have enough room for the public audience. And as far as public meeting rooms goes, those will likely continue at the library or community center. Wouldn't the emergency operations center be better suited near the police station like other cities have designed? Furthermore is San Ramon really in dire straits for taxable income? What about the money the city has saved by canceling the annual fireworks show? And the money they will be making from the increased population of 740 homes added to our over congested city population. I guess I still think the city got the short end of the stick giving up our recreational land, which is very limited, when there is plenty of room in the Sunset development space for a 45,000 square foot city building along with a shopping center.


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Posted by LT Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 12, 2014 at 7:47 am

I understand that the skate park will not be reduced in size only refurbished. The city currently shares an EOC with the Fire district at their HQ near the PD. I expect that will continue. This will offer an alternate EOC in case the main one is damaged.

The city was spending about $100k -$120k on the fireworks and associated activities. Saving only some of that with the current 4th of July program in place.

Putting the City Hall on Sunset land would have required the City to buy the land at about $1M per acre plus build the City Hall at it's expense with city contractors. This plan uses city land and Sunset contractors. This plan costs about $330 per square foot of finished building. Doing it with only city resources would have cost at least $5-$10M more.

The renovated library may or may not have any community meeting rooms like it does now. We will have to wait and see what is proposed.

Adding homes to the city may increase revenue but it also increases costs. An analysis of revenues and costs often shows that for homes less than $1M the costs are larger than the revenues. You can't get better by building more homes.

Building more retail space does generate more revenue than costs. There is the property tax and the sales tax. Homes only generate property tax. Occupants are free to spend their money outside the city limits and the sales tax revenue goes elsewhere.


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