Developer gets frustrated with Fremont City Council

I wrote a short story in today’s paper about Fremont council members giving  Blake Hunt Ventures a third shot at developing the vacant city-owned lot at Thornton Avenue and Fremont Boulevard.

I didn’t have room to include anything of Brad Blake criticizing city council members for not having a consistent vision for the site:

Here is some of what he said:

One of the things I think this project has suffered from is there really isn’t clear direction from the city as far as what they want …

You tell us what you want and whether you want us and we’ll respond to that. And if you don’t want us to do the project … were happy to walk away and spend our time with cities that want us…

We’re happy to work with the staff on coming up up with various different project concepts but they need direction from you on what you want because I don’t think that’s clear right now.

It’s frustrating for us .. to sit here and effectively be what  I think is criticized…

Blake is right. The council has been divided on Centerville since I started covering it. Bob Wieckowski and Anu Natarajan both want high-density housing; Bill Harrison and Bob Wasserman would rather just have retail.

But what Blake didn’t say is that if the council actually agreed on what they wanted for the site, they would have jettisoned him back to Danville months ago.

Blake got a foothold in Centerville by being the only developer to promise a retail development — music to the ears of Harrison, Wasserman and former Councilman Steve Cho. But when Blake couldn’t deliver a supermarket, he did a 180 and proposed tall buildings with lots of housing and some retail, which is what Natarajan and Wieckowski wanted from the start and the others were willing to accept to end the embarrassment of failing to get anything done on the site.

If the council knew what it wanted, it would never have agreed to two polar opposite proposals from the same developer — neither of which panned out.

Now there isn’t much housing or retail planned, but at least it’ll be cheaper to build.

Matt Artz


  1. This man is very confused. After the type of attitude displayed at the last council meeting HE comes out and says he’s frustrated? screw him. He’s messed up multiple times already.

  2. As pro development as I am, the mindset with which this company seems to approach potential contracts is not something the city will benefit from. He’s acting like a child not getting what he wants. They’ve reneged on their promise of retail, which is what’s needed in order to make the city more money, and attempted to cover their butts with vertical housing.

    Fremont doesn’t deserve this second rate plan (we deserve better); it needs retail. Once again, we are building for the sake of building rather than getting something we need. If you can’t get retail now, wait and see until you can. That’s what that land is intended for.

    He shouldn’t be complaining as the vote taken was 5-0 in his favor, even after he failed TWICE before. Brad Blake standing up there and threating our City by saying “we’ll walk away” shows me that he doesn’t have what it takes to earn this project. Better to spend a little more money, when we have it, and get the job done right.

  3. They should just build a Whole Foods and a performing arts center.

  4. Brad Blake was frustrated because the Mayor and City Council is INCOMPETENT. If you do not believe that follow the history of the Centerville project.
    Before the vote, they did not realize what they were voting for, Anu threaten to vote no, I wish she would have.
    Check the telecast of the meeting it is available online, the INCOMPETENCIE happen at the end of the meeting.
    We need change!

  5. You’re so right, Cal. Elections are coming, people. Incumbents pack your bags.

    However, you don’t need to limit your research to the history of the Centerville project. Most any City decision made in at least the last 20 years has its roots in personal interest and gain. That’s a big part of how we got in this mess – no concept of the real meaning of “public servant”.

    The good news? There are good people out there. We just need for them to run and get elected. Do your research, and don’t re-elect dopes again.

  6. All I can say is that at least the City doesn’t discriminate when it comes to bringing the pain. I’ve heard the exact same story on a smaller scale from many small business people who want to come to town. No guidance from Planning Department staff, micro-managing insignificant details, unrealistic conditions, contradictory information, lousy communication.

    Of course, the difference is that Mr. Blake stands to make a bucket of money off this project; far more than any of the small businesses that I know of could ever anticipate. I don’t know who this guy is, but the way the article is written he does come off like somebody who isn’t accustomed to criticisim and who will take his Stanford degree and go back to Danville or Alamo in a huff if he feels disrespected. Bye.

    Anybody else find it interesting that the Council members are only interested in what THEY individually want, not in what residents want – the residents who elected them, who they’re supposed to represent? Typical self-interest at it’s worst.

  7. You all have been making points I have been saying over and over again throughout my campaign. It seems that they are primarily in it to play the politics game rather than care about constituent needs.

    “The good news? There are good people out there. We just need for them to run and get elected. Do your research, and don’t re-elect dopes again.”

    Hello. My name is Ishan Shah. Nice to meet you all 😀

  8. Way back before you were born, a singer named Carly Simon wrote a song with the lyrics:

    “Youre so vain, Ill bet you think this song is about you
    Dont you? dont you?”

    Get some experience, work with local groups, be on some boards, get your degree, keep paying attention, get a job, maybe start a local business, then we’ll talk.

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