The city of Fremont held on Friday a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the commencement of a new development that is promising to transform the East Bay city. The State Street project is downtown Fremont’s first mixed-use development. It will have 157 residential units in stacked flats and row homes from one to four bedrooms, as well as 21,000 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurant space along the city’s Capitol Avenue.
“There is no doubt that the city of Fremont continues to evolve into a strategically urban community. More and more big name, big-time tech companies are calling us home, and Fremont will soon add a second stop on the Bay Area’s most used transit system with the opening of the Warm Springs/South Fremont [BART] station,” said Fred Diaz, city of Fremont city manager. “But there has always been one thing missing since Fremont’s incorporation in 1956, and that is a downtown.”[contextly_sidebar id=”M9Ohp9RUougsiO8CnbseY6SAVZYIF5vr”]Locale @ State Street, how the city is positioning the development, has been eight years in the making. In 2008, the city had selected San Francisco-based TMG Partners to initially develop the site. With the oncoming recession, the city and TMG took time to rethink the development and saw an opportunity in creating a viable downtown in the heart of Fremont. The Downtown Community Plan was created as a blueprint for future development, and the city council approved it in 2012. Today, the project is a public/private partnership that has expanded to include San Mateo-based Sares Regis and Palo Alto-based Summerhill Homes.
Locale will be located at the corner of State Street and Capitol Avenue, spanning across six acres of land.
“Our community is incredibly excited about how Fremont is coming and developing and how Fremont will have it’s very own downtown,” said Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison. “A downtown typically refers to a city’s core of geographic, commerce or communal sense. We envision a downtown here that will serve as the city’s social heartbeat, where people can gather to live, work, shop and play.”
The development is planned to sit adjacent to Fremont’s future civic center and public plaza, creating what the mayor termed “an entirely new urban experience and a full multi-modal street.”
“Fremont is a fantastic city for housing and homes. It’s really because you have great companies here, employment close by. [It’s] well served by transit and BART, and you have excellent schools. And those are all the things that we look for as SummerHill Homes to build new housing here in the Bay Area,” said Katia Kamanger, executive vice president/managing director of SummerHill.
SummerHill is no stranger to Fremont, and in its 40-year history has built over 1,000 homes in the city, which today represents over one fifth of the company’s development efforts everywhere.
“For many of us in the homebuilding business, the greatest joy comes from the fact once we see the breaking of the ground, see the homes being built and to deliver the keys to new home buyers,” added Kamanger.
Fremont has indeed become attractive to a slew of companies in recent months, and as a result a number of recent transactions have been announced in the city. An innovative French school, 42, paid $26.2 million for two buildings where it will develop a campus. Asus Computer also purchased an asset for $26 million in May, and LBA Realty bought a 177,000 foot asset for $28.5 million, just to name a few recent commercial sales.
On the residential side, KB Home, The New Home Company and Eden Housing all have projects under way or will soon break ground to help ease the city’s growing housing needs.