San Lorenzo Express News

More Changes in Plans for San Lorenzo Commercial Center

MAY 16, 2006

Plans for redeveloping the commercial center of San Lorenzo Village along Hesperian Boulevard have changed again. Southern California developer Civic Partners recently made public its fifth overall plan for the project in four and a half years. (For a history of the project see August 29, 2005 news story.)

The latest wrinkle is the sale of the Albertson's grocery chain. A new Albertson's store had been the centerpiece of the Civic Partners project. Now, however, it appears very uncertain whether the new owners of Albertson's will want to be part of the San Lorenzo project. As a result, Civic Partners, the county redevelopment agency, and local residents have lost patience and want to move forward with a plan that is not based on a new supermarket.

Civic Partners representatives presented a new conceptual plan that includes:

At this point the plan is purely conceptual, without details. The main issue in the local community since the first plan in 2002 has been the proportions of housing and retail-office space. The amount of housing is substantially less than originally proposed by Civic Partners four years ago.

The current plan is the result of a meeting between Civic Partners, the board of the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association (SLVHA), and Redevelopment Agency staff. This plan was vetted at the May 3 meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the San Lorenzo area of the Eden Redevelopment District.

In February Civic Partners had presented a plan to the Redevelopment Agency and SLVHA that switched the project's retail and residential uses. Civic Partners proposed building residences in the Village Square -- the site of the former Mervyn's store -- and confining retail development to the properties on the east side of Hesperian, the site of the existing Albertson's store and Black Angus Restaurant. Members of the SLVHA board objected to this switch in plan.

The latest plan from Civic Partners, called the "San Lorenzo Town Center," would include:

(1) 62,000 square feet of new retail uses at the Village Square (former Mervyn's site), with one or more major retailers as "anchors". A new post office would be included in this portion.

(2) Renovation of the facades of existing retail buildings on the northeast and southeast corners of Paseo Grande and Hesperian (sites presently anchored by the two banks).

(3) Creation of a new retail building at the northwest corner of Paseo Grande and Hesperian (next to the self-storage facility).

(4) Dedication of about 16,000 square feet for a future library (part of the original plan prepared by Civic Partners).

(5) Creation of a public plaza of about 20,000 square feet adjacent to the existing library.

(6) About 50 townhomes at the northeast and southeast corners of Paseo Largavista and Paseo Grande.

(7) About 53 townhomes on the east side of Hesperian, on the site presently occupied by the post office and Chevron gas staton.

(8) Retention of the current retail area that includes Albertson's and Black Angus until such time as a decision on the future of Albertson's is apparent. According to a press release from Civic Partners, both Civic Partners and the Redevelopment Agency "would use their best faith efforts to keep a supermarket at this location if that could be reasonably achieved." If Albertson's closes the store and there is no suitable replacement grocery, Civic Partners would redevelop this area with townhomes (about 143 units).

If Albertson's stays, the total number of residences would be a little over 100. If Albertson's leaves, the number would be about 246 residences.

See the site plan that illustrates the above details. (The site plan is in a PDF file. Use the "rotate" button on the Acrobat toolbar to show the plan in an upright view.)