News


San Ramon: Sunset Development proposes 4,500 housing units in Bishop Ranch

Public invited to open house to learn about project Sept. 26

Bishop Ranch officials say they want the new residential project to keep homes where people work and out of San Ramon's hillsides. (Image courtesy Sunset Development Company)

Bishop Ranch officials have announced an ambitious plan to develop 4,500 multi-family housing and other amenities covering approximately 135 acres in the heart of the Bishop Ranch property, and officials hope it will be used to help the San Ramon corporate center’s estimated 30,000 employees live closer to where they work.

The project, with initial plans recently released and envisioned to be phased in over about a quarter-century, is centered around the goal of keeping housing off of San Ramon’s hillsides while still improving the city’s jobs to housing ratio, according to Alexander Mehran Jr., president and CEO of Sunset Development Company -- owner of the Bishop Ranch property.

“You've got developers building up on the hillsides, and nobody wants to see that. So we’re keeping the housing down here, keeping them out of people’s neighborhoods,” Mehran told DanvilleSanRamon.com. “It (also) keeps a lot of pressure off of the city to not have to follow state housing mandates so that they don’t have to end up with projects that pop up in the middle of a neighborhood.”

Bishop Ranch comprises 585 acres in the heart of San Ramon off Bollinger Canyon Road near Interstate 680 -- long focused as a corporate business park, but recently adding the City Center retail and entertainment complex.

The housing project area would cover 135 acres and consist of four blocks in Bishop Ranch.

Housing would be located in a series of neighborhoods that would each contain between 500 and 1,200 units within that property in apartment buildings.

The proposed project would include a 169-room hotel to accommodate business travelers and other visitors to San Ramon, a number of new parks and new parking structures that will replace existing surface parking lots, according to Sunset officials.

Additionally, in accordance with San Ramon’s state-mandated housing regulations, at least 15% of the units at the new project would be designated for affordable housing, they said.

Bishop Ranch officials added, now that San Ramon has a downtown environment at City Center, they hope to extend this community environment to the proposed new residential project with the addition of new community amenities. The goal being to further open up Bishop Ranch to the surrounding area.

“It's about creating a neighborhood where people feel like they aren’t going to the lake in their office building, they’re going to the lake that’s in the community,” said Jeff Dodd, senior vice president of retail at Bishop Ranch. “That's kind of the next level of overcoming people who are hesitant to come in because they think ‘oh I don't want to go into the office park.’ (We want to) create a cohesive community out of it.”

New community amenities planned to achieve this goal include the construction of an amphitheater with a potential capacity for 1,500 seats, two new community centers, an interconnected parkway system that will link planned residential neighborhoods, new dedicated parking for visitors of Annabelle Lake, expanded pedestrian and bicycle trails that connect to Iron Horse Regional Trail, and a new transit center to help residents take advantage of mass-transit modes in San Ramon.

Bishop Ranch officials added that the influx of available housing in San Ramon will help alleviate the East Bay’s rush hour traffic woes. Achieving this by helping people commute less by living closer to where they work.

“The main contributor to traffic woes mainly is the imbalance of people who aren't living closer to where they work,” Dodd said. “So by putting more residential next to the largest job center in the region, it will help reduce regional traffic for sure.”

“Traffic on the freeway is a big problem; that’s a harder thing to fix it’s a regional issue,” Mehran added. “I think people will tend toward having jobs closer to where they live and that will be a Bay Area wide trend and that’s why we're doing it.”

To further help alleviate traffic both locally and regionally, Mehran also said that in addition to the new transit center, they would be giving each apartment dweller a free bus pass so they can take advantage of local transit that also connects to BART lines.

Mehran hopes construction will start in 2021 with the completion of phase one by 2023.

When these projections were brought before the San Ramon City Council and Planning Commission during a joint workshop held in August, Bishop Ranch’s senior vice president of development Jerry Engen said city officials spoke in favor of, if possible, speeding up the process to make homes available sooner rather than later.

“There was a lot of support. They loved the idea of building the housing down near the jobs where they wanted it off of the hillside and out of the other communities. They loved the idea of us being able to provide workforce housing for people like school teachers and police that can afford to work and live here,” Engen said.

“Yeah some of them said ‘well we want you to build these units like tomorrow we need them now. We have such a shortage of housing. But you know we want to be smart about it,” he added.

To engage with the community and discuss aspects of the project Bishop Ranch officials will be holding an open house next Thursday (Sept. 26) from 4-7 p.m. at Bishop Ranch, 2600 Camino Ramon. Residents are invited to ask questions and learn about the new project.

After this open house, city of San Ramon officials say there will be plenty of additional opportunities for residents to share their thoughts on the proposed project during the city's review process -- the schedule of which has not yet been confirmed.

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Comments

19 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Danville
on Sep 17, 2019 at 7:05 pm

Who will teach all the new kids that move to the area? SRVUSD already has a huge teacher shortage. In August, they scrambled to fill jobs with "warm bodies". Many teachers are not credentialed and many more plan on retiring or moving or leaving the profession for good. This problem has certainly been swept under the rug by admin. at the district level. Nobody wants to teach be a new teacher in this district anymore. Pay is way higher in other districts.


2 people like this
Posted by Median Joe
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 18, 2019 at 8:10 am

Median Joe is a registered user.

I believe the schedule is for less than 300 units to be completed by 2024.


17 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Danville
on Sep 18, 2019 at 9:10 am

“So by putting more residential next to the largest job center in the region, it will help reduce regional traffic for sure.” What a bunch of BS. All we'll end up with is more grinding traffic like the rest of the Bay Area. There will still be many commuters to Silicon Valley, but they'll be "closer".


21 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 18, 2019 at 7:36 pm

Too many rats in a cage. Traffic will get much worse and developers will still strive to build high density "upscale" housing on the hillsides. No wonder so many are planning to exit this sinking ship called California. Too bad they bring their naïve leftist politics with them when they emigrate to ID, NV, AZ, MT, & TX.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident L
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 19, 2019 at 7:07 am

A terrible idea. We don’t want more housing units. The traffic is bad already, and taking away parks and greenery?!? Who’s idea is this? No more housing in the center!


6 people like this
Posted by Coach
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 19, 2019 at 7:47 am

Coach is a registered user.

I didn't read about any units for sale, only apartments for rent. Is that correct? Then, that's very profitable for BR, but not optimum for people who need below market rate places to own. I'd like to see more discussion of home ownership within this project, especially for public servants.


5 people like this
Posted by Barbara
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 19, 2019 at 4:24 pm

@Resident, who in charge of this travesty is the "naive leftist" you reference? Bad decisions such as these are not partisan, so why be so divisive?


9 people like this
Posted by Steven Spedowfski
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 20, 2019 at 10:00 am

Steven Spedowfski is a registered user.

@Coach The proposed units are studio to three bedroom apartment units. 15% of the units will be designated as affordable units with rental rates set for local workers and families.

The City setup a web page with links to documents related to this proposal and links to agendas with videos of the public meetings held so far. The web page can be found at: Web Link

Steven Spedowfski
City of San Ramon
Deputy City Manager
925-973-2632


5 people like this
Posted by Brandy
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 22, 2019 at 5:24 pm

Brandy is a registered user.

Oh come on San Ramon. Have you thought this one through? Or are the future tax dollars the city will receive clouding your better judgment? This is a very bad idea. San Ramon should be focused on bringing more jobs here. The streets down town are already chaotic enough. We don't need more housing!

“The main contributor to traffic woes mainly is the imbalance of people who aren't living closer to where they work,” Dodd said. “So by putting more residential next to the largest job center in the region, it will help reduce regional traffic for sure.”

This is not completely true, as many will still need to drive their children to school or to after school activities. Not to mention just driving to neighboring cities for the more affordable shopping choices. The traffic will get worse than it already is for sure.

"To further help alleviate traffic both locally and regionally, Mehran also said that in addition to the new transit center, they would be giving each apartment dweller a free bus pass so they can take advantage of local transit that also connects to BART lines."

This seems good on the surface, but two things are wrong with this. First, the whole point of building the housing is to encourage people to live close to work. Why give them a Bart pass and encourage people to seek employment out of town. Second, by doing this people are more likely to spend their money out of town which does not help San Ramon.

No more new housing in San Ramon! Bring companies to San Ramon instead. That way the people that live here don't have to commute out of town. Most of my neighbors commute to Dublin, Sunnyvale or Fremont.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 24, 2019 at 8:26 pm

We need to take action as a community to stop this housing project! Start a petition. There will be so much traffic around the bishop ranch area and will be a nightmare to get on the freeway and very inconvenient for most. Will make me want to move from the community. The area cant handle more people it is saturated as it is since all the new housing projects.

SR is fine the way it is.

They say it will help the housing crisis please ....it wont help the working class who cant afford the high rents of the units.

Let's takes some action!


Like this comment
Posted by Resident31
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 26, 2019 at 12:50 pm

It would potentially be a good idea if two of the benefits cited by Mr. Mehran could be guaranteed: no additional housing on the hillsides, and residents of the new housing working at bishop ranch.
Unfortunately, neither can be guaranteed and we would be left with the worst of both worlds: more dense housing for commuters working in the city or the valley (thus increasing local/680 traffic); and more housing sprawl in other areas of San Ramon because the apartments don't fulfill the live-work model... especially since they want to incentivize people with free bus passes to commute to Bart to work out of the area.


Like this comment
Posted by Tareq
a resident of San Ramon
on Sep 27, 2019 at 8:39 am

It is a great idea. The growth is inevitable and we must embrace it. Reducing commute and having a San Ramon, Where people work and live close by will make our city a model for the future. The only item that needs further scrutiny is the affordable housing must be dedicated to our Teachers, Police, Firefighters and other civil servants who work for the city of San Ramon or SRVUSD.
We also need additional freeway exists and an expressway that can reduce traffic on Bollinger. The best solution will be to use PG&E easement that runs from Dougherty Valley across 680 as the new expressway. Bishop ranch on the other hand needs focus on recycling water to support all new initiatives.


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