Developer wants second-floor living spaces instead of offices downtown | June 20, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - June 20, 2008

Developer wants second-floor living spaces instead of offices downtown

Plans change after Hartz building gets OK last week

by Meghan Neal

A plan to construct an upscale building on Hartz Avenue that Danville Planning Commissioners passed with flying colors last week may now change to include residential housing.

The current plan, unanimously approved at the commission's June 11 meeting, calls for an 11,500-square-foot building that would have retail stores on the first floor and offices upstairs.

Two days after that meeting, developer Brad Blake of Blake Hunt Ventures resubmitted a set of plans to the town that would swap the second floor offices for residential units.

"We think there's a need for residential in downtown Danville and we think it will be a better complement to the downtown," he said.

The first-class, modern structure will be located at 522 Hartz Ave., next to Bridges Restaurant. It will replace the current building on the site, which for years was home to the San Ramon Valley Times and now houses the Alamo-Danville Artists' Society and Pioneer Art Gallery and Studios.

The new structure's modern design and proximity to historic buildings like the Eddie House have drawn attention to the project, which some say would change the face of downtown Danville.

The current plan includes 12 onsite parking spots and street parking in front of the building. Blake said the change from office to residential space would mean less demand for parking, but "that's not the primary reason for the switch; that's just potentially a benefit."

The bottom floor would still be reserved for retail stores or possibly cafes, to help stimulate economic growth downtown, Blake said.

Planning commissioners will discuss the change at a workshop Tuesday. The new plan would then go to the Design Review Board and eventually back to the Planning Commission for approval.

Blake said regardless of which plan is chosen, construction will likely start next spring.


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