Pleasanton began a sea change in the early 1980s that transformed a small residential community into a center of employment and retail.
Flipping through the Chamber of Commerce newsletter in Pleasanton Weekly last week, I saw how many members were listed over the 40-44 years of member recognition: Stoneridge Shopping Centre, Ponderosa Homes, Callahan Property Co. and Reynolds and Brown.
Ponderosa Homes built over 1,500 homes in Pleasanton while it was headquartered here, while Joe Callahan partnered with the Prudential Insurance Company to develop the 875-acre Hacienda Business Park, the largest planned park in Northern California. Reynolds and Brown developed the mall with Home Depot and other buildings around it. Further down that list in the 21-24 category is Mark Sweeney, Callahan’s development partner and longtime Pleasanton facilitator for Hacienda, Ponderosa Homes as well as a commercial real estate broker.
Then on Tuesday, James Paxson, chief executive of the Hacienda Owners Association, spoke to the Pleasanton Men’s Club. He noted that the business park will celebrate its 40th anniversary this fall, marking when the first plot maps were recorded for the park.
Paxson, who has been with the association for 37 years and was chief executive for 28, told club members it was unlikely a development of this magnitude would be attempted today. He also said that while Hacienda was originally intended for business and commercial uses only, the market has evolved so that it contains a significant amount of housing – both for sale and for rent – as well as an anchored shopping mall. by Kohls and Walmart. He said he was skeptical of the residential element initially, but now believes it was the best decision the developers made – properties had to be rezoned to make it happen. There are 10 residential projects totaling around 2,500 units with around two-thirds of rental apartments.
Coming soon is the eight-acre redevelopment of the Rosewood Commons parking lot, originally the headquarters of AT&T’s Western Regional Headquarters, into a 305-unit apartment complex.
As for the future of corporate offices, Paxson was adamant that if anyone claims to know where it will be in five years, they are blowing smoke. Apple has received plenty of employee feedback on its plans for three days in the office, which other major employers are also reporting.
One sector that will continue to grow is the life sciences sector which requires laboratory space and will have an office presence, as evidenced by the new 10x Genomics campus being built next to the Stoneridge Mall.
As to why chose Hacienda, Paxson said the terrain hasn’t changed in 40 years — intersection of two interstate highways plus BART (location), quality of life, relative accessibility, and excellent infrastructure. Callahan and Prudential and the North Pleasanton Improvement District improved fire safety and other invisible but important infrastructure.
He also believed that given the pandemic, suburban communities had gained favor as employees working from home ventured out of city centers.
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