By Jacob Bourne
On February 28 the East Bay Town of Danville’s Planning Commission approved the Riverwalk residential project by applicant and owner, Danville Office Partners, LLC. The property is located at 373 Diablo Road just west of Interstate 680 in the Downtown area. The approval follows a ten-year long entitlement process on the part of the Town of Danville along with the applicant and project sponsor, The Stanley Group Inc. LCA Architects designed the project.[contextly_sidebar id=”cE34nxdGQAceWrVoIBcgHtjHhea94rii”]“It’s a significant project for Danville — it’s the largest multifamily project that’s been approved so far,” asserted Russ Stanley, owner, The Stanley Group. “It will bring a lot more residential Downtown, which will help support businesses.”
The site is a 4.26-acre parcel with an existing 50,000 square foot office building constructed in the 1970s and owned by Danville Office Partners since 2000. The project will bring 150 units of multifamily rental housing within a three-story structure. Thirteen of the units will be designated affordable housing. Amenities include a rooftop deck, unit balconies, a landscaped courtyard, club house, fitness center, yoga room, bike lockers and electric vehicle charging stations. A total of 271 parking spaces, including guest spaces, will consist of 123 at-grade spots and 148 garage stalls.
“From a design point of view, major concessions were made at the direction of the owner, so that it meets the requirements of the 2030 General Plan,” explained Kevin Gailey, chief of planning, Danville. “The design was extensively modified to become an approvable project. At one point it was proposed as a wrap project with four stories and above-grade parking. We’ve come a long way and now it has no above-grade parking structure and it’s three buildings instead of one. Architecturally it’s more consistent with the area.”
The structure is divided into three segments and joined at the rear of the property. From the North elevation closer to Diablo Road, the project appears as three separate buildings with open space landscaped areas in between. From the South elevation along San Ramon Creek the rear facade is continuous, punctuated by protruding balconies and brick framed entrances.
According to Stanley, the most significant community benefit provided by the project is the amount of housing in walking distance to Downtown destinations. Additionally, a new pedestrian bridge over San Ramon Creek will link Riverwalk with the Danville Library, Town Green, as well as Downtown dining and retail.
Prior to the Planning Commission hearing, the project had received recommendation from Planning staff as it was found to be consistent with General Plan policies to address the design and housing goals of Danville. Planning Department literature cites 373 Diablo Road as one of two properties carrying a newly created multifamily land use designation by Danville’s 2030 General Plan, given that the town falls short of the state’s mandated number of housing units as described in the Danville 2007-2014 Housing Element.
“Danville prides itself on projects that are well designed and reflect the city’s spirit, so there are hurdles associated with that,” Stanley commented. “We’re excited that we brought a project that was well received by City staff. We don’t foresee another project of this magnitude being approved again in Danville in the foreseeable future.”
Groundbreaking will likely be this fall followed by a 16 to 18 month construction period. A ten-day appeal period for the project’s approval ends March 10. If an appeal is filed, the project will then go to the Town Council for a final decision.