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OCTOBER 2013

SAN RAMON ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW CITY HALL
AS A FIRST PHASE START OF THE CITY CENTER PROJECT

San Ramon, California - The City of San Ramon is pleased to announce plans to design and construct a new City Hall facility as a first phase of the long planned City Center Project.  On October 8, 2013 a presentation will be made at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting for consideration of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining the terms and conditions under which Sunset Development Company (Sunset) will design and construct a 45,000 square foot City Hall building on the far southwest corner of City owned land at Central Park adjacent to the City Center project.  

“This is great news for the City of San Ramon.  We have an opportunity to see a first phase start to the City Center Project that results in the construction of a new City Hall which we can afford and does not require any debt financing,” said Mayor Bill Clarkson.

In addition to considering approval of the Memorandum of Understanding, the City Council at the October 8th meeting will be presented with a conceptual proposal and planning process to renovate and expand the existing San Ramon library located across Bollinger Canyon Road from the new City Hall site.  The City Council will also be provided with an update from Sunset about the timing of subsequent phases of the City Center project which includes the construction of a shopping plaza district.  The City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:00 PM on October 8, 2013 and will be held in the Council Chambers at 2226 Camino Ramon.

OTHER NEWS ARTICLES:


September 12, 2012 City Council Meeting


Bollinger Canyon Road Landscape Improvements - Sunset Drive

Sunset Development recently completed landscape improvements on Bollinger Canyon Road from the Iron Horse Trail to Sunset Drive.  The improvements included the installation of Fescue sod, wildflower seed mix, Iceberg roses, Ornamental roses, Lombardi poplar trees, and retaining wall/irrigation improvements.  Additionally, 16 dead Poplar and Juniper trees were removed.  This was a joint effort between the City and Sunset Development to replace the removed/damaged landscaping from the utility relocation phase of the Bollinger Canyon Road Widening Project and to improve the appearance of Bollinger Canyon Road for the City and Bishop Ranch until the Bollinger Canyon Road Widening/City Center Projects move forward with construction.  All the landscaping related to the damage by the utility relocation phase was paid for by the City/Bollinger Project funds, while Sunset also added additional landscaping and upgrades at their cost.  Facilitating the project through Sunset and their landscape contractor was the most cost effective and efficient way to complete these improvements.  Sunset Development will maintain the improvements until the Bollinger Canyon Road Widening Project commences in this project area. The road widening project is expected to begin in the summer of 2013 at the earliest.


Economic Development Advisory Committee Appoints City Center Ad Hoc Committee

At their meeting of March 14, 2012, the Economic Development Advisory Committee appointed four of its nine members to serve as an ad hoc committee to review status of the City Center project. The ad hoc committee will interview key stakeholders involved in the project as well as experts in the housing and retail development field, and report back to the Economic Development Advisory Committee. Upon review and finalization of a report, the Economic Development Advisory Committee is expected to present a report to the City Council as early as July of 2012.

Comments Regarding San Ramon City Center
By Alex Mehran, CEO of Sunset Development Company
As presented at the San Ramon City Council meeting of October 11, 2011

“I specifically want to talk about the City Center, because I am often asked, as I’m sure all of you are on innumerable occasions, ‘When are we going to see the City Center?’  Just to go back, City Center was approved after a number of years of planning, and processing through regulatory bodies, in 2008. The City Center is a 2.1 million sq. ft. project consisting of a new city hall and library, 700,000 sq. ft. office space, 650,000 [sq. ft.] of retail, 525 residential units, a 169 room hotel and is about an $850 million dollar project.  It is a significant project for Bishop Ranch, for San Ramon, and for the entire Tri-Valley region. During 2008, we started our preliminary merchandising and design and development of the project. At the end of 2008, we ran into one of the worst economic downturns that this country has experienced. There is no one in this room who was not affected by that downturn in one way or another.  We certainly felt it dramatically.  We put the project on pause, because of the uncertainties that we saw then, and I’m sorry to say that those uncertainties continue today. 

“You haven’t seen a significant retail project, or a significant residential project for sale of the magnitude we’re talking about with the San Ramon City Center developed anywhere in the Bay Area, and we have one of the best economies in the country. To put it in some perspective with respect to the housing business, of which a good portion of this project is dependent, the country in 2005 built 2.2 million residential units; last year we built 500,000 units.  In California in 2005, we were at 220,000 new residential units sold, in 2010 we were at 28,000 units. In 2011, it is expected that we will be at fewer than 28,000. So there is a real down draft in the residential side, and it is also true on the retail side.  Retail rents have fallen from 2008 dramatically, and we are not immune from those rental realities.

“We only have one chance to do this project correctly.  I think it is ill advised to be building a project of this magnitude into headwinds.  We want the wind at our back with certainty.  I think that it will provide for a better project, it will provide for better stores, a higher quality residential product, a higher quality hotel, and a general sense of place that is far better than what we would do going into an economic arena that is quite uncertain. I think we are lucky that we did not start the project in 2008, because frankly, I think it would have been a disaster.  Going into these kinds of major projects, demands a lot of capital, a lot of patience, and a will to do it right. We certainly have that; we are committed to doing this project.  We will build the San Ramon City Center.   I need to make a judgment, along with my colleagues, about when the timing is right and the economy seems to be more certain than it is today, and we will work with you to press the “go” button, and bring this project to reality for the betterment of the City and the entire region.”

The City Center project is a true partnership between the City and Sunset Development.  This is a shinning example of how well the City works with the business community, and how the City actively works through partnerships to improve the quality of life in San Ramon.


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