"Dublin is doing exceptionally well. Property and sales tax revenue is up. The business climate feels very robust, and we're predicting a (budget) surplus for the next two years."
That, in a paragraph, is the rather rosy short-term economic outlook of the city as seen by Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, who will give the official State of the City address later this month.
While Sbranti is quick to point out that the council and city staff must always maintain a more long-term view than just two years, there's no question that there is a ton of economic activity taking place citywide in the here and now. I asked the mayor about a number of the most high profile projects and areas of town and what residents can expect to see in the next 12 to 18 months.
Camp Parks: Construction, at least grading, should begin by the end of this year, with the developer, SunCal, essentially ready to get started on building the Dublin Crossings mixed-use project.
"The access control to the base is going to move in late March or early April from Dublin Boulevard over to Dougherty Road."
Once that occurs, more work in earnest can begin on what would be more than 1,000 homes, along with some retail and commercial space. There will also be a large (30 acres) community park that also includes an extension of Scarlett Drive, which will take some pressure off Dublin Boulevard as the only current east/west route through the Camp Parks area.
The total development is about 180 acres, which is being given to SunCal by the military in exchange for the building of a new gate, plus several buildings on the base.
Whole Foods: A short distance east on Dublin Boulevard will take you to what is currently a lot of vacant land, but will soon be turned into a new shopping and restaurant complex where grocery retailer Whole Foods, home furnishings retailer Home Goods and clothing and accessories retailer Nordstrom Rack will be anchor tenants.
"They expect to break ground this spring," says Sbranti. "We're also going to get some smaller retailers and some great restaurants (there). It's going to be a quality project."
Ross Stores HQ: Head north from the soon-to-be-built area, and you'll come across what is also a sign of a rebounding economy: the new corporate headquarters of Ross Stores. The very successful discount clothing retailer ran out of space in Pleasanton and found the perfect opportunity to essentially build a brand new headquarters in Dublin.
The buildings were actually first erected during the dot-com boom, but were never occupied, so add some modifications and custom build outs and you get a beautiful soon-to-be-occupied headquarters campus and the 400 jobs that come along with it.
Dublin Boulevard Vacant Space: Heading to the west, just past the Safeway store on the south side, you'll find what is arguably the biggest current eyesore in the city: a large, empty used car lot. The good news, says the mayor, is that there's already an entitled project able to start building a mixed-use development similar to Tralee and Waterford.
The bad news is that it's taking the city and the property owner longer than anticipated to find the right builder. Sbranti says he's hopeful that we'll see some demo and then some construction starting up this year.
Commercial Development Task Force: While all of the aforementioned building will most definitely be a plus to the city of Dublin's coffers, some critics contend that there is already too much new housing still coming online in a city whose infrastructure is going to be tested when thousands of new homes are purchased and occupied.
The council, as I wrote about in a recent column, has certainly been getting an earful from activist residents who say the city must do a better job of balancing new housing and retail/commercial space especially in the expanding east side of town.
Hearing the drumbeats, the council recently voted to form a Commercial Development Task Force, a 12-member panel that will be appointed from applications provided to the council. The group will meet several times over a four-month period and provide their collective recommendations as to what the future development of Dublin should look like.
More information and applications can be found on the city's website, www.dublin.ca.gov. Completed applications are due by close of business on Feb. 19.
Contact Alan Elias at firstname.lastname@example.org.