The Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group announced earlier this month that it wll be convening a series of long-range planning sessions this fall. The announcement came at the annual Tri-Valley spotlight by the San Francisco Business Times at the Roundhouse conference center in Bishop Ranch. The leadership group, in partnership with the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, issued the Tri-Valley Rising report last year that identified key strengths, opportunities and threats in the $42 billion regional economy.
The earlier plan was released in 1999 by the Tri-Valley Business Council and then updated with an October 2006 report. That highlighted the need for branding for the Tri-Valley, a job that the leadership group finished a couple of years ago. The other need, one that is ongoing, was connecting industry executives working in the same space.
The 2040 plan will be guided by the Economic Institute and the ITV leadership. It will kick off on Sept. 23 with a luncheon program featuring Lenny Mendonca, the chief economic and business adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom and Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council. Wunderman participated in one panel at the Business Times event and stressed what a critical long term role the Tri-Valley will play in the Bay Area.
As long noted, it has the gateway freeway (I-580) from the Central Valley and the Los Angeles Basin plus a northern gateway to the Silicon Valley (I-680) and it’s about equidistant from the job centers in the South Bay and San Francisco. Throw in the skilled work force in the San Joaquin Valley 45-60 minutes away, relatively less expensive housing and a skilled work force and the Tri-Valley is an ideal place to found and grow a business.
The biggest long-range challenge may well be housing. Because of Dublin and San Ramon, the Tri-Valley has added significantly more housing than the rest of the Bay Area, but prices continue to soar because of the supply shortage in the broader region.
Planning to meet some of that major challenge is what excites Jeff Schroeder, senior vice-president of Pleasanton-based Ponderosa Homes. During a Business Times panel, he identified the biggest parcel of undeveloped/unplanned land in the city of Pleasanton, the so-called Eastside Plan for land between Stanley Boulevard and Valley Avenue.
The city halted the planning process for that land during the depths of the drought, but has placed it on the top of the list for the fiscal year that started July 1. City leaders, as well as business and other leaders, have recognized that there’s been lots of talk in Sacramento about the housing crisis, but little activity in terms of productive legislation. The Legislature started its final five weeks of work Monday with a few housing-related bills still pending.
Local officials across California fear that the state will establish heavy-handed mandates to force housing construction.
For Ponderosa, its team will lead planning for two major parcels, including the Kiewitt property that it has under option at the corner of Busch Road and Valley Avenue. The parcels have the potential to become a wonderful eastern gateway to the city instead of the heavy industrial operations that now characterize the area.
One element that is likely will be in the plan is another active adult community for people over the age of 55. Ponderosa pioneered that product in Pleasanton with its Ironwood project, a project that carried the company through the recession and has been embraced by those living there.