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July 15, 2009 > State-of-the-art hotel and conference facility planned

State-of-the-art hotel and conference facility planned

By Simon Wong

Hayward's City Center Campus, which comprises Centennial Hall, the former City Hall office tower and the Centennial Hall parking lot, is to be redeveloped.

The development site consists of three parcels, designated 1, 2 and 3.

There will be a six-story, 153-room hotel with an outdoor swimming pool operated by Hyatt Hotels under the "Hyatt Place" brand on Parcel 1. There will also be an 18,000 sq. ft., two-storey conference center, which replaces Centennial Hall and will be an overflow for the hotel's conference facilities, and a 2,000 sq. ft. single-story structure housing conference and guest facilities, such as a gym and drop-in day-care for use by hotel patrons and visitors.

The eleven-story office tower on Parcel 2 will be renovated to create a Class A office building. All the proposed improvements have been pre-qualified for the US Green Building Council's LEED Gold standard. Plans include structural upgrades, interior and exterior renovations, space for a ground floor restaurant with outdoor seating and the addition of a twelfth story and parapet to take advantage of the views of the Bay. The plaza in front of the building will be re-landscaped; the design will include wind turbines to provide an alternative energy source and sustainability.

An existing parking structure that serves Centennial Hall will be reinforced to support three podium-style residential structures with green roofs and 162 residential units. Structures will vary in height from two to four stories. There will be open space between the structures and an outdoor swimming pool for residents' use.

"The office tower is privately-owned and hasn't been used since the City vacated it in 1991. Several projects have been proposed and approved for this building but none have moved forward," stated Project Redevelopment Manager Paul Dalmon.

Developer MIKA Realty Group entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with the City's Redevelopment Agency (RDA) in June 2008. The ENA expires in mid-October 2009.

"The first phase is to renovate the office tower. This is the most straightforward part of the project. Preliminary plans have been submitted to the Building Department and our approval is expected shortly," said Senior Planner Sara Buizer. "The next phase will address Parcel 1 and the third phase will consist of residential development on Parcel 3."

"Although the market is not supporting residential development at the moment, MIKA Realty Group wishes to obtain all the necessary entitlements in anticipation of a recovery by the end of Phase 1," explained Buizer.

Site plan approval and application for building permits for the office tower are expected this month. The environmental review will be available in August with a 21-day comment period. Hayward Planning Commission will hear the remainder of the project in September and the City Council will hold a public hearing on the remainder of the project in October. The project should have all its entitlements by the end of 2009.

"The RDA will receive tax increment from the enhanced value of the new development. The City will gain transient occupancy tax revenue (hotel tax). The hotel, conference center and new residents will generate sales tax.

"Revitalizing a blighted area, the office tower, will give the community a new state-of-the-art venue for business, the arts and entertainment. More pedestrian traffic will benefit local businesses," concluded Dalmon.

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