Stockyard (Old Lucky's Parking Lot) Redevelopment

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The Livermore Village site (also known as the former “Lucky’s” site), was once a stockyard accompanied by the surviving railroad depot building and blacksmith buildings. Across Livermore avenue is the "eastern" site. These sites are owned by the City and various ways are being considered to utilize them to strengthen the success of the downtown core area. Currently they are free parking lots.

There are several adjoining parcels forming two land masses, the larger (west of Livermore Avenue) consists of a 6.75 acre contiguous land area bordered roughly by First Street, L Street, Railroad Avenue, and Livermore Avenue. Currently it is a 524 space parking lot plus a few buildings including the historic Livermore Southern Pacific Railroad Depot. The smaller parking lot (1.43 acres east of Livermore Avenue) has 63 spaces adjacent to the Bankhead Theater at the corner of Livermore and Railroad Avenue. In total there are 587 parking spaces.

Official documents have often referred to the larger lot as "Livermore Village Site"[1], which is a carryover term from the failed attempt to create a housing development there. As residents currently show little enthusiasm for significant housing being built, the continued use of "village" may be seen by some as loaded terminology. Similarly, documents refer to the Bankhead parking lot as the "Hotel Site"[2] where there is considerable opposition to locating a hotel. Adding to the confusion, the 2016 RFP labeled the development project "Cornerstone", which was the result of an unfortunate lapse in judgement. This is the name of a prominent Livermore megachurch [3]

SIte-Map.jpg

2017 Current Process

The fallout of the 2016 RFP led to the replacement of two City Council members in November of that year. Early in 2017, a revised process began. A Steering committee was appointed to advise Council on how to manage the changes to the properties going forward. A series of meetings began on April 13th with the goal of producing a report of recommendations the same year.

History

There have been four failed redevelopment projects proposed over the years since it became an abandoned strip mall.

1979 - 2005 Lucky's Era

After its value as a Stockyard and the lumber yard were exhausted it became a successful strip mall anchored by a Lucky's Supermarket. Subsequent development of other shopping centers further away from the town center resulted in fewer customers and Lucky Stores eventually abandoned the site. Most of the buildings were demolished but the parking lot remained. There have been five unsuccessful attempts to redevelop the lot since then.

(1) 2006 Livermore Village

This was a proposal by developer Anderson Pacific [4]to build housing on the sites. An economic downturn ensued, and Livermore acquired the property.

(2) 2009 Performing Arts Effort

Another redevelopment plan was for a 2,000 seat performing arts center proposed by LVPAC[5]. It was scrapped when a change in State law regarding the availability of redevelopment funding made it economically infeasible and the project was not completed.

(3) 2011 RFP

Overlapping the LVPAC planning, an RFP was created to gauge interest from the development community in the midst of a recession. No acceptable responses were received.

(4) 2016 RFP

"Cornerstone"

DTZ was hired to develop the original RFP documents, and the team of DTZ/Colliers International is the exclusive real estate broker for all the acreage.
Community Group layout

Community Group Alternative

Funded by donations and managed by volunteers http://vibrantlivermore.com
Lennar Multifamily Communities layout

Lennar Multifamily Communities Alternative

The Lennar Plan, with 260 housing units and an east side hotel was proposed by Lennar Multifamily Communities and approved by the Livermore City Council (Marchand, Gary, Turner)[6], the chosen designated developer http://cityoflivermore.net/downtown This arrangement expired with the election of a new City Council in 2016 that replaced Councilmembers Gary and Turner.

Other Alternatives

Some have proposed the Groth Brothers site at L and First be considered for housing, or the hotel and included in the planning process on an equal level. The option of continuing the parking lots with their current use has support as well[7].

(5) Placeworks Plan

http://www.yourlivermore.org

The planning process administered by Placeworks resulted in a plan that located a hotel on the east side of Livermore Avenue at Railroad. The zoning decision that made this location buildable was made by Council on September 10, 2018. It was challenged by referendum filing on September 11, 2018.

Economic Impacts

Livermore Village

Livermore's "Low Income Housing - Special Revenue Fund" was used to purchase the properties. The costs for acquisition and demolition of Lucky's was $22 million in general fund expenditures. $9 million of this money came from Livermore's affordable housing fund in the form of a loan, and 5 million from redevelopment funds. When the State took away the redevelopment funds, Livermore borrowed ~$5 million more from Affordable housing, resulting in the total debt to the fund of ~$14.5 million.[8].

Low Income Housing - Special Revenue Fund

At some point, the Fund will be repaid the $14.5 million. For now, the fund has a healthy cash balance which has been generally growing in value:

  • In June 2015 it had $5.8 million in working capital[9]
  • In June 2016, that number had risen to $11.8 million[10]
  • In June 2017, it was $15,011,027 million[11]
  • In June 2018, it was $15,909,442 milion[12] with another $4,875,052 expected in revenue to be received during the proceeding year


Assets have been accumulating primarily from fees that developers pay to avoid building low cost housing as part of otherwise approved projects.

LVPAC

For the 2,000 seat theater, Livermore spent over 9 million dollars during the process [13].

"Cornerstone"

The contract for DTZ/Colliers is for $430,000. They have been paid by the City $80,000 from the general fund and so far and will be paid another $350,000 if the properties are sold to Lennar Multifamily Communities or any other suitor prior to June 30 2017. [14] Additionally, Kier & Wright has been paid $60,000 to assist DTZ/Colliers. Several studies were recommended by Council on Aug 8 2016 for Lennar's new "Cornerstone" development proposal[15]. They will commence Q3 2016 at a cost of $100,000. The City also plans to spend 17 million of general fund money on a parking garage [16][17]. No information is available regarding estimated annual costs of maintenance (an issue which affected First Street Streetscape). Estimated annual revenue is also unknown.

Community Group

An alternative to the RFQ defined project, no public funds were spent; all funding has been from private donations. No information is available regarding estimated annual costs of maintenance. Two professional studies have been conducted. One by PKF on an initial concept of a 180 room hotel (current plan is ~135 rooms) and conference center, and a study by NBS regarding possible revenue from the project. Both studies are available to the public at http://vibrantlivermore.com

Existing Use as Parking Lots

From a financial perspective, the land and buildings are revenue neutral. Any maintenance associated with the gravel area, the paved areas, electricity and the building repairs is offset by small fees. Revenue includes rent from SpeeDee Oil and a few other sources. As parking lots, they would require a relatively small investment. It is no known how long the land could remain parking lots die to the Low Income Housing financing.

Traffic Impacts

"Cornerstone"

Studies were recommended by Council on Aug 8 2016 that include traffic. The traffic impacts are expected to be substantial due to the numerous changes in flow that are evident.

Community Group

The traffic impacts are also expected to be substantial due to the numerous changes in flow that are evident. Council has not approved traffic studies for this alternative plan.

Existing Use as Parking Lots

Current LOS has not been a subject of significant discord, though there have been complaints raised at the workshop about Railroad Avenue during commute hours. The western site has numerous entries and exits on all four bordering streets.

Effect on Housing Prices

Many residents want expanded affordable housing options, and hope for some relief by building more units on the western large site. It is unclear what would result from adding more units there. Livermore had 30,342 units in 2010. 260 apartments/condos would add 0.86% to the total inventory.

Notable Public Meetings

Joint City Council/Planning Commission August 1 2016, continued to Aug 8. Authorized $100,000 for various studies[18].