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By Tim Hunt

A short honeymoon for new Pleasanton city manager?

Uploaded: Jun 30, 2022

Did Councilwoman Julie Testa take a public potshot at new Pleasanton City Manager Gerry Beaudin during the June 21 meeting.
The council was discussing the mid-year capital budget adjustments and the staff recommendation to avoid dipping into the “rainy day” fund created during the pandemic shutdown in 2020. After the discussion, Testa asked a couple of questions and then said that Beaudin had only been there two weeks while she and other councilmembers had been listening to the public and its desires for years.
The remark ignored the four years Beaudin led the planning department in Pleasanton from 2015-19 before leaving to take an assistant city manager position in Alameda. It also missed that two days later he would hit his one-month anniversary in the city’s top staff role. He’s worked in municipal government for 19 years.
As someone who called it to my attention said, “short honeymoon.”
Big news out of San Ramon where Chevron announced its was selling the 92-acre campus it has occupied since the early 1980s. Chevron was the first major San Francisco-based company that Sunset Development Co. lured to Bishop Ranch. The campus includes 1.4 million square feet of office space in 13 buildings with about 2,000 people working there. The facility was upgraded when the company relocated its San Francisco headquarters there in 2001.
In a statement, the company said it was offering voluntary transfers to Houston where its workforce has been steadily growing to nearly 8,000 and would lease headquarters space in San Ramon that was appropriately sized for the employee count remaining here.
In another day, you could imagine a growing tech company such as Google or LinkedIn or even Workday in nearby Pleasanton purchasing the entire campus. But in these days of remote work, most tech companies have struggled to convince knowledge workers to return to the office. Others have gone completely remote. My daughter started with Robert Half in San Ramon when she was living in Memphis last year before relocating back to the valley. She’s been in the office once—to pick up a computer.
I checked in with commercial real estate broker Mark Triska who has worked in the Tri-Valley for 33 years. His view was he could not imagine an office user taking the park. Instead, he suggested that redevelopment was more likely with either a conversion to residential, potentially with the existing buldings, or rebuilding them into a vertical industrial park. He said that industrial land is in short supply in the Tri-Valley and developers are willing to pay in the mid-$30 per foot for it-- rates that typically are found only for residential builders.
It will be interesting to see what type of interest and what type of plans are offered for that campus. Sunset is well on the way to transitioning Bishop Ranch from a business park to a mixed-use area by adding the popular City Center retail and entertainment complex to be surrounded by 4,500 high-density residential units. That’s involved knocking down 1980s vintage two-story office buildings that were ripe for redevelopment.
A Collier’s report on San Francisco market vacancy said that 23.8% or 23.2 million square feet was available. Just how many tech companies that drove the Class A space environment for the last 20 years will continue to lease expensive space remains to be seen, but the flood of subleases as companies shift to a hybrid work schedule shows the trend.