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June 12, 2018 > Shape Our Fremont

Shape Our Fremont

Will Condos Replace the Cloverleaf Bowl?
A developer is proposing to tear down all the buildings in the old Fremont Center at the corner of Fremont Boulevard and Grimmer Boulevard in Irvington and replace them with 272 housing units. The Cloverleaf Family Bowl, which has greeted generations of bowlers with its colorful angled roof entrance, is one of the buildings that would be demolished.

Apartments and Condos
The proposed project site extends from Fremont Boulevard west to Bay Street, and from Grimmer Boulevard south to the edge of the commercial property. It includes the Bank of America and the row of businesses immediately south of that along Fremont. All existing commercial buildings on the site are proposed to be demolished except the Taco Bell drive-in restaurant.

Preliminary plans include 140 rental apartment units in four buildings along Fremont and Grimmer. The two buildings that face Fremont would also have commercial spaces on the ground floors. The rest of the property would include 132 for-sale condominium units clustered in twelve buildings. The developer proposes to pay in-lieu fees rather than providing any affordable housing on site, so all units will be sold or rented at prevailing market rate.

Because of the size of the project, and the fact that the current tenant leases expire at different times, construction would be in three phases. If the project is approved, the first phase may start as early as 2020.

Historic Architecture
One issue that would need to be addressed is that two existing commercial buildings in the shopping center potentially have historically significant architecture from the Post-World War II era and may require historic evaluations and reviews by the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB). Guidelines for evaluating architecture from this era will be reviewed by the City Council on June 19 and are expected to apply to all future developments.

The Irvington Savings building has been in this location since 1963 and is an example of the International style of architecture popular at the time. The Cloverleaf Family Bowl was originally built in this location in 1959, and expanded in 1963, and again in 1974. The building is one of Fremont's last examples of the 1950s and 60s Googie style of architecture, which featured bright colors and exaggerated Ôspace-ageÕ angular roof lines. Both buildings were part of Fremont's rapid growth period following the opening of the General Motors assembly plant in the early 1960s.

As part of their review, HARB may recommend changes to the proposed project to preserve the historically significant architecture of either of these structures. This may include keeping one or both structures intact and make them part of the new development. HARB recommendations would be reviewed by the Planning Commission for consideration in making their decision or recommendation.

Early Public Input
This proposal was recently submitted to the Fremont Planning Department for a Preliminary Review Process (PRP). During this process, city planners will review preliminary plans from several different aspects. Within 30 days, the Planning Department will prepare a report of any issues it finds. The developer can then use this information to decide whether to go forward with the project and help them shape their Formal Development Application.

As part of the PRP, the public is encouraged to submit comments, concerns, and questions directly to the assigned city planner. This is the best time to raise issues because it allows city staff to identify problems and find possible solutions with the developer before work begins on a more detailed formal application.

Reference ÒPRP2018-00033 Grimmer Irvington CenterÓ and direct emails to City Staff Planner Joel Pullen at

To learn more about all proposed housing developments and related issues in Fremont, go to

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