CASTRO VALLEY -- The county is close to selling the long-vacant Daughtrey building on the town's main thoroughfare to a developer who wants to renovate the two-story eyesore.

"Our negotiations are 92 percent complete to sell the building with some strings attached," said Eileen Dalton of the Alameda County Community Development Agency.

The conditions include having at least one tenant signed before completing the sale to developer David Greensfelder and no office space on the ground floor of the 40,000-square-foot building. Castro Valley's advisory council and the county would have to approve any proposal, Dalton said.

People line up in front of Daughtrey’s department store on Castro Valley Boulevard in Castro Valley to watch a parade in an undated photograph.
People line up in front of Daughtrey's department store on Castro Valley Boulevard in Castro Valley to watch a parade in an undated photograph. Alameda County is close to selling the building, which has sat vacant for more than 20 years, to a developer who plans to renovate it. (Courtesy of Lucille Lorge) (Lucille Lorge)

While negotiations could wrap up in two months, the state has to approve the agency's property management plan before the site can be transferred, and Dalton was unwilling to speculate how long that would take. The Development Agency sent its plan to the state in July.

Several people at the meeting Tuesday urged razing the Castro Valley Boulevard building rather than renovating it. "Everybody I've talked to says that building needs to come down," said resident Peter Rosen, who handed out a proposal to turn the property into a town square.

Several speakers supported Rosen's town-square idea, but paying for it could make it impossible.

"We looked at demolition. It is very expensive because of the basement," Dalton said. Razing the building and filling the 15,000-square-foot basement would cost a half million dollars, she said.

To turn the site into a public plaza, Alameda County would have to buy the building, which the redevelopment agency paid $2.8 million for in 2011. It was appraised at $900,000 last year.

To develop the site as a town square would take at least another $2 million, estimated Marc Crawford, Municipal Advisory Council chairman. Castro Valley's general plan also would likely need to be revised and approved by county supervisors, Dalton said. It took eight years to update the town's 2012 general plan. Maintaining a park would add to the cost.

"The idea that the county is going to spend $1 million to buy the building isn't going to happen," Crawford said.

"Ten years from now, we would be here at another meeting wondering what we're going to do about this building," he said.

Councilmember Cheryl Miraglia, who said she hated the Daughtrey building, agreed with Crawford.

"I am unwilling to throw out a deal that is almost complete for another proposal unless all the ducks are in a row, and they're not all in a row," she said. "I am not opposed to public space, but we have to be able to do it without screwing up the deal we have."

The council asked those wanting to turn the site into a town square to refine their proposal, including costs and how to pay for them, and bring it back for consideration. However, the council did not ask for a delay in negotiations with the developer.

Keller Daughtrey opened his store in Castro Valley in 1949, moving the business to the building at 3295 Castro Valley Blvd. in 1965. The white concrete block building has a full basement, main floor and mezzanine. Daughtrey sold the store in 1991, and the business closed not long after that. The building has remained vacant except for a few businesses briefly using it, and the county redevelopment agency bought it.

Greensfelder was asked if it would be better to tear down the 50-year-old structure and rebuild rather than renovate it. Though the building is dated, it's structurally sound, and the cost of demolition and new construction is too high, he said.

"It made sense to try and save the building," he said.

Several businesses are interested in moving into the building, including batting cage and archery range firms, Greensfelder said. Although those would not be right for the ground floor, they might be feasible in the basement, he said.

"My job is to determine what is the best thing I can develop that meets the needs of the community and is economically viable," Greensfelder said. "We're hoping this process is coming to an end and we can come back to you with proposals for how the building should look."

Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.