That's the case along Johnson Drive where Nearon Enterprises, which purchased the former Clorox laboratory building from the Oakland-based company, has a contractor demolishing the three-story structure. The firm had tried to lease the building, but eventually had no takers.
Last year, the City Council agreed to establish a pilot economic development zone along Johnson Drive between Stoneridge Drive and Valley Bible Church. There is much greater flexibility of uses under the pilot zoning of freeway retailthe same zoning of the Walmart and Rose Pavilion centers on Rosewood. The area totals about 35 acres and was shifted from business park zoning. If the landowners happen to land a business with high sales tax revenue, it allows a possible rebate program for landowners.
The buildings along Johnson Drive fronting Interstate 680 are among the oldest in the city. Giving landlords an incentive with the opportunity for more lucrative rents should result in a general upgrading of the area.
That happened on the other side of the city when a 50-year-old building on Stanley Boulevard was transformed from a distribution warehouse to a U-Haul storage and rental center.
Speaking of redeveloping, we were able to sneak out for a round of golf at one of my all-time favoritesthe Course at Wente Vineyardslast week. I was surprised to see, as we drove up Arroyo Road and then played 18 holes, the heavy equipment ripping out grapevines. Vineyards were being removed along Arroyo Road (holes 17 and 18 for golfers) as well as between No. 1 and No. 4. It will significantly change the views on those holes and make it easier to retrieve errant tee shots.
Phil Wente explained that the vines were planted in the mid-1980s (how time flies) and were past the useful life of most vines, which is less than 30 years. "Making 30 is usually quite oldthey did good!" Phil wrote.
In all, about 35 acres are being removed, part of the routine 50-70 acres a year that Wente rips out and later replants. The land will sit fallow for this year and 2016 and then be replanted with Cabernet Sauvignon in 2017. Most of the vines taken out were Cab.