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February 1, 2005 > Centerville Market Place - A Progress Report

Centerville Market Place - A Progress Report

The Fremont Redevelopment Agency has been working with Charter Development through the winter months to finalize plans for the Centerville Market Place. This long-awaited showpiece for the Centerville District will front on Fremont Boulevard between Bonde Way, Post Street and Thornton Avenue.

The development has been designed as a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented complex that will combine market rate housing with retail activity. Following its selection as the "Preferred Developer" on October 28, 2003, Charter Development was awarded an Exclusive Right to Negotiate Agreement (ERNA). Since then, it has been working with the Fremont Redevelopment Agency to finalize a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) that will presage construction on the 6.5 acre site.

The project proposal includes approximately 58,000 square feet of retail space along Fremont Boulevard and a new street (Market Street) connecting Fremont Boulevard to Post. A total of 110 for-sale townhome-style condominium units are proposed for the second and third floors above the retail structures on top of a podium deck along the new street and above the parking area.

Four restaurants are proposed to anchor the retail spaces including Tamarine (Vietnamese Asian Fusion), Ray's Sushi (Japanese), Milano Restaurante (Northern Italian) and Hong Kong Flowers Lounge (Chinese/dim sum). Scenario Game and Hobby Shoppe will relocate during construction and then return to the development upon completion.

The contract is expected to be reviewed by the Redevelopment Agency Board in March and, if approved, will open for business in fall 2007.

TCV spoke with project manager Jennifer Andersen on the current status of the plan.

TCV: You are the project manager for the Fremont Redevelopment Agency on this project. Is that correct?

Andersen: Yes. I am handling the Disposition and Development Agreement which is the contract between the developer and the redevelopment agency. Although I am involved with the planned development, the evaluation of it and making sure it is in conformance with city standards and engineering is being handled by Barbara Meerjans.

TCV: What is the status of the Centerville Unified Site development?

Andersen: Excavation and removal of lead contaminated soil is scheduled to begin within the next 60 days. Although the contractor, Pacific States Environmental, has 120 days to complete the project, I am sure they will beat the timeline as long as the weather cooperates. This is a process that requires digging the soil, storing it until testing tells us the level of contamination and then removing it to the proper disposal site.

TCV: What will an observer see during this process?

Andersen: There will be small mounds of excavated soil and others of crushed concrete from the old city hall building that will be used to backfill.

TCV: How deep will the excavation be to remove the contamination?

Andersen: About four feet. Lead does not migrate too much. This contamination appears to be the result of the automotive uses on site, but that is unclear. We have tested the soil and it generally goes down about two or three feet with a few places at four feet. We will remove about a foot at a time, testing as we go.

TCV: Is the entire site contaminated?

Andersen: It is at one portion of the site next to Scenario Game and Hobby Shoppe. If you look at the site, there is one foundation left in the ground and the reason it is still there is because it and the asphalt around the foundation are above the contamination. There are still a couple of hydraulic lifts that are still in the foundation and will be removed during this process.

TCV: What will happen after removal of contaminated soil?

Andersen: The site will remain fenced as we pursue the DDA. We expect to go to city council within the next 60 days. The planned development for the project is going through its processes simultaneously with the planning department and engineering department. That will also be going to the planning commission and city council within the next 60 days. That helps set up entitlements and a tentative map will be processed concurrently as well. It will go to the planning commission within 60 days after the planned development is approved. With all those things in place, the developer can then deal with building permits. We anticipate that all these things will be completed and groundbreaking will occur in early 2006.

TCV: Does groundbreaking include the demolition of the existing Scenario Game and Hobby Shoppe?

Andersen: Demolition of Scenario Game and Hobby Shoppe will depend upon a decision by Chuck Wofford of when he wants to move his business. We have an agreement that provides some flexibility. We have a separate agreement, an Owner Participation Agreement, anticipating occupancy of Scenario at the present site for a period of time until close to demolition. He will also have an opportunity to move out earlier in which case we will demolish the building so it doesn't sit empty too long. The process of hiring a contractor by the city to do this can take up to three months. If Scenario stays until demolition, the building will be demolished by the developer which takes advantage of economies of scale.

TCV: At the January 27th meeting of the Fremont Planning Commission, a part of the project was presented and approved. What was that all about?

Andersen: This was a conformity finding. State law requires the planning commission to make a conformity finding for the project. This says the project meets the general plan. Last night the finding was of the Charter Development project itself and the purchase of property. Whenever redevelopment buys property, a conformity finding is required. We are going to be buying the "panhandle" property [a strip of land connecting the cemetery property and Fremont Boulevard] from Centerville Presbyterian Church to maximizing parking on the unified site. This is not an approval of the action of buying property or developing, simply that the concept is in conformance with the general plan. The plan development is scheduled to be considered in detail on March 10 by the planning commission.

TCV: Has the design of the project changed since approval on September 28, 2004?

Andersen: Only slight changes have been made. Although sometimes things can change during construction, we are trying to make sure that what gets built is what is shown on the plans. The plan has 58,000 gross square feet of retail with 110 townhome style for-sale housing units. Housing sits on a concrete platform over retail units. Parking is all at ground level behind the retail buildings. The Centerville Market Place plans are available for public inspection at the redevelopment department and everyone is welcome to come by and look them over.

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