Empty Centerville lot could be sold by state

Assuming redevelopment is ended, another twist for Fremont– and other cities — is that the state would likely sell off the properties owned by redevelopment agencies.

 That includes the 6.6-acre lot along Fremont Boulevard in front of Dale Hardware in Centerville.

If the city had ever signed a development agreement with Blake Hunt or any of the other prior suitors, the state wouldn’t be able touch the property, city officials said.

But the agreement was never reached — and the city is still working to get rid of recently found contamination —  so the state might end up liquidating the property.

Matt Artz


  1. West,
    A monument to our City Council and Mayor who are the Redevelopment Agency.

    Who is accountable?

  2. West, you’re on to something with this monument idea. I’d like a monument to government revenue mismanagement.

    I imagine an area with 40 copper statues of children in a classroom with one teacher at the helm.

    Another statue, this one with a baby boomer standing at the peak of a mountain holding his union pension check, with a bunch of gen Y and Z-ers desperately clawing their way up.

    How about some metered waterfalls, one representing revenue, another representing spending; the former a trickle and latter a total torrent. And of course, a Democrat controlling the flow.

    And an empty field littered with obsolete solar panels made in China with money subsidized by the US treasury.

    They can place each exhibit at the ends of a massive IAFF logo.

  3. As I read Martz’ blog entries over this past week that old phrase keeps coming to mind, he who hesitates is lost.

  4. How about a model rail yard, a giant, very complex Z scale… oh wait.

  5. Grilled Cheezus, man… Just build the damn Whole Foods already!

  6. The city should have found out years ago if there were contamination on the site that needed addressing! I can’t believe how constipated our city government is. (I’m sorry, but I’m so exasperated that the crudest analogy is the most apt.) What kind of contamination has been found?

    Sometimes, I daydream about doing some kind of renegade public art project on the site, Banksy style, or about clandestinely planting a community garden under cover of darkness. I’m so sick of the blight. I’ve been living near it for what… a decade now? It’s ridiculous.

  7. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_23261555/huge-parcel-fremont-slated-development

    Is this a result of a vision and actions encouraged in any small way by our leadership, or, are we simply attempting to contribute to a false pretense of having, somehow, contributed to this design by announcing the independant decisions of outside factions under the masthead of our municipal managers?

    More likely it is the latter.

    The inability by Fred, Sue, Bill and Anu to deliver any result within the Centerville district reveals a considerably less sophisticated municipal development aptitude than the above reference would like to suggest. Further, our Centerville achievement(s) (or lack thereof) are the result of many, many years of repeat time, effort, and resources expended.

    Even a blind squirrel . . .

  8. #7…Bacon is not the cure. Development and developers are what makes a civilization great. Anu, please resurrect the A’s to Fremont deal and rescue Fremont from the fools who currently wags the dog!

  9. #8 – It’s an interesting hypothesis, Charles. . . but far from the point.

    Fred’s, Bill’s, Anu’s and Susan’s legacy is far more represented in the Centerville result and far less in the kinds of transaction announced in yesterdays’ paper. Moreover, I speculate that, like the original A’s and NUMMI deals, we had little advance awareness and invovlement an, decisions to act were far removed from our influence.

    Perhaps you are right, and with the passing of time and many decisions rendered, we’ll be able to discern what, if any, contribution others have made.

  10. Dear Box,

    RDA hooked me up.

    Niles, CA

  11. #10 –

    It’s a great point you make, Marty.

    The Centerville fiasco has remained stalled despite the wonderfully lucrative advantages which RDA could have afforded. Arguably, the most obvious candidate for blight remediation – somehow – got away from us, not just once – but over and over and . .

  12. The Centerville Fiasco is a stain on Fremont Politicians. Just when you think it cannot get any worse they sold the development rights for ONE DOLLAR, $1.00. The Chamber of Commerce should be proud.
    I cannot wait for there next move…….
    I think this will be political fodder for 2014

  13. No more than it was in 2012 Jasper. Voter apathy remains solidly entrenched and lulled to sleep by media that is increasingly lethargic in its scrutiny. Serve up personal “interviews” of incumbents and thereby waste limited coverage to discuss childhood memories and something called “vision” while ignoring a simple review of the historical record. Its a record which, i might add, is brutally embarassing for anyone that has been around City Haul as long as Fred, Bill, Anu and Susie have been. But VERY good intentions …

  14. #13…Isn’t *voter apathy* the reason Bacon got elected? Vinnie has done much more damage than he can ever undo.

  15. #14 – With a significant majority of the electorate non-participatory, one has to speculate about how this sector would have voted to answer your question Charlie.

    Your second point is, as usual, unsubstantiated in any meaningful way.

  16. #15…Isn’t it true that many angry white voters voted for Vinnie just because his last name didn’t exceed four syllables? Do you really believe *Bacon means business* is the truth?

  17. #16 – You would be the best proxy for what angry white voters might do, Charlie – what do you think?

    I absolutely *do* believe that Bacon’s interests were aligned with some of Fremont’s largest business interest(s) in his opposition to the stadium. These other interests opposed the stadium as a result of the negative consequence it would have had on their business model(s).

    On the other hand – Susie, Bill, Fred and Anu were completely content to throw these same businesses under the stadium-bound bus in their headlong (and ill-conceived) attempt to make the Wolfe/Fremont-stadium straw man into a reality . . .

  18. Box, you missed an opportunity to use your favorite modifier.

    Anyway, I’ve had some good times taking the non-proverbial stadium-bound bus to the game. It’s a moving tailgate.

  19. What is happening to the Centerville site NOW?

  20. Fremont Citizens Network

    How Will FUSD Handle 4,000 New Homes? At the Bart Warm Springs Station Complex.
    Please Attend Meeting Wed. 5/22; 6 -7:30 PM At WS Community Center.
    All are welcome!

  21. Meeting to Discuss South Fremont Construction Projects to be Held Thursday

    The meeting will be held Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at South Bay Community Church (47385 Warm Springs Blvd.) in conjunction with VTA BART Silicon Valley, Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System, Caltrans and BART.
    Several meeting from and for Fremont residents.

  22. #22 – Waaaay too easy, Charles – Multiple anecdote(s) are not the plural of data. . .

  23. The Santa Clara stadium will tell us a lot about what we would expect from a Fremont ballpark. Of course it’s not apples to apples, and surely Mr Box will get carpal tunnel asserting that fact. But Santa Clara is much like Fremont, and all the impact – lack of transit, highway traffic, effect on a suburban centric community, etc will be on full display in the coming years.

  24. #24 – Just trying to maintain a little yin to Charlie’s yang Marty – but, you already knew that.

    Pretty funny that they get to continue to use the “San Francisco” name. Are there any royalties involved for doing so? I know if I wanted to slap “49’ers” on some T-shirts and hawk them, I’d likely find my merchandising challenged by some high-price attorney with nothing better to do. But “San Francisco” is fair game. . . even when you aren’t.

  25. #26…Vinnie can quote the words of 1,000 charlatans but it is crystal clear the opposing the A’s move to Fremont was not in the best interest of Fremont. Santa Clara is now on the map while Fremont is building soon to be demolished strip malls. Fremont could have had All Star Games and World Series and all we got is no there here. I once again ask Vinnie to explain “Bacon means business”.

  26. All you need to do stop blathering on with unsubstantiated anecdote. . . . and read a bit, Charles.

    Here’s some recent news about one of your oft-sited “success stories” in S.F. –

    “Wiener said the Muni Metro subway system in particular is already “often completely overwhelmed and effectively defunct” during a large event, a situation that would only deteriorate if a new waterfront arena is approved and built in the next few years.”


    We’ve addressed the “Bacon means business” thing repeatedly – – we disagree – – try to move forward if you can.

  27. *SHOULD* be a post unto itself, but, until that happens – – –

    While it’s swell that we were at least verbalizing a new plan, no one asks or answers the obvious question – “Why is THIS plan any different from the others that crashed and burned?”

    Would be swell to simply provide a link, but, BANG appears to have a policy of dropping historical stuff beyond a certain date, so, here’s a cut and paste.

    Fremont approves plan for housing, retail at long-empty Centerville site

    By Chris De Benedetti

    The Argus

    Posted: 12/14/2013 12:00:00 PM PST

    FREMONT — If it’s possible for an urban planning site to be cursed, a 6.6-acre Centerville district parcel haunted by several past failed proposals certainly fits the bill.

    Now, those demons might be exorcised at the long-empty property on Fremont Boulevard, where the City Council has approved plans to build 185 apartments and 28,000 square feet of retail.

    “We think it’s a great project that would revitalize Centerville,” said Cliff Nguyen, a city senior planner.

    BHV CenterStreet Properties, a Dublin-based development team controlling the land, is calling its proposal, “Artist Walk.”

    It calls for constructing a 2,000-square-foot community center where musicians can perform and artists can show their work. The proposal also would build homes with sizes ranging from one to two bedrooms. Buildings standing three and four stories high, with heights reaching 63 feet, would be surrounded by 334 on-site parking spaces. A common area, featuring a swimming pool, clubhouse and barbecue area, would be open to all residents, according to the developers.

    Brad Griggs, a BHV CenterStreet executive, said plans include building a private road called Artist Way, which would be closed on select weekends for street parties and other events.

    “The idea is to open it up for the community to use,” Griggs said. “There really isn’t a sense of place in Centerville and we thought this was an opportunity to create that.”

    For more than a decade, a similar optimism surrounded several previous star-crossed concepts, which included constructing upscale Asian restaurants, senior housing, a supermarket and town houses, among other ideas.

    Officials say those proposals’ failures stemmed merely from woeful luck and bad timing.

    “The rising cost of steel made the first project not pencil out, and then there was the bad economy,” Mayor Bill Harrison said.

    He said developers’ plans were delayed again in 2011, when the state dissolved redevelopment agencies, which sent many cities, including Fremont, scrambling to find new ways to kick-start housing and commercial projects.

    “The property is a poster child for the new state redevelopment policy; it was one of many left hanging,” Harrison said. “There’ve been several unfortunate circumstances at the site.”

    The lot is bounded by Fremont Boulevard, Post Street, Bonde Way and Thornton Avenue, near the Centerville train station.

    In 2000, the city spent about $13 million to purchase the property and remove contaminated soil. Fremont intends to sell the land to BHV CenterStreet Properties, but first must spend about $1.75 million on final soil remediation.

    Officials say the developers hope to start construction in about a year, and finish the job sometime in 2017. That would be cause for celebration in Fremont, especially after all of the obstacles and frustrations from the site’s abandoned plans through the years.

    “It’s definitely had its challenges but I’m confident and optimistic that this project will move forward,” Harrison said.

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